In early 2020, business leaders around the world had an alarming realization: An impending pandemic was about to turn everything upside down. In the first quarter of the year, employees had begun working from home. This was disorienting, but it didn’t take long for certain silver linings of the upset to emerge. Employees had more control over how they spent their time, even during work hours, and they were able to take a break from expensive, time-consuming commutes. Employers, meanwhile, had the opportunity to shed some extra expenses.
In the post-COVID world, this is uncharted territory. Employers have had to rethink everything from business goals, to working hours, meeting schedules, company bylaws, and work culture. Planning the workplace around working remotely has been a big part of that rearranging: A survey by The Economist found that 36% percent of employees felt more focused working from home during the pandemic.
Research has continued, and the benefits of remote-first and hybrid work environments are clear. Employers looking to hang onto these benefits are increasingly shifting to new work models that blend remote working with in-office hours.
So, what is a hybrid work model?
The hybrid work model is a flexible model that allows employees to work partly from the office and partly from home, permitting them to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
If designed based on data (not guesses), customized to an organization’s subjective culture, talent preferences and business model, and managed well, hybrid work models can have innumerable benefits for employers and the workforce.
Here are some of those hybrid work benefits:
1. Reduce operational costs
The number of people working in an office is directly proportional to the number of operating expenses incurred on behalf of the organization. The days your team is working from home are the days you can choose not to pay for the office premises, thereby saving you rent and utility money.
Offload your larger office space and facilities that are seldom used, like training rooms and auditoriums. You should only pay for what you need when you need it.
The hybrid approach, thus, allows an organization to opt for coworking spaces or shared desks, cutting down on operational expenses.
2. Increase productivity
Have you ever felt that you are most focused at a particular time of the day? Or that you are most productive in a particular type of workspace — a study area, an open terrace, a café counter…?
This can be the case for employees, too. Work flexibility allows your employees to choose their hours and place of work. This strategy, indeed, leads to better work results, increasing company profits while saving you money. According to Zippia research, 74% of companies in the United States are currently using or plan to implement a permanent hybrid work model. As per a survey by Owl Labs, 75% of the total employees are open to taking a pay cut in exchange for a 4-day work week.
Giving employees the freedom to choose their workspace demonstrates a great deal of trust, empowers them, and strengthens your relationship with them. Studies show this exchange of trust is linked to to higher productivity, not to mention higher employee retention rates.
3. Save on hiring expenses
A hybrid work model can act as a differentiator in the market, allowing you to get rid of your staffing issues. A recent Gallup poll found that approximately 61% of the accounted workforce preferred a better work-life balance. And according to a recent Gartner report, approximately 75% of employees expect flexible workspaces. If the world returned to its pre-COVID state, that is, a fully on-site work arrangement, organizations could lose up to 39% of their workforce.
4. Be more adaptable to change
The ability to work in various business environments has increased as employees have learned to oscillate between them thanks to the hybrid way of working. The mindset shift has allowed the employee to focus on the work and the support needed to complete a project, irrespective of the available workspace. The focus has actively shifted to task completion instead of “clocking in” the hours of work in a static office.
Change is inevitable, but hybrid work models are designed to be scalable and responsive as needs evolve. In such times of uncertainty, a hybrid work model can assist in setting up a culture that is more adaptable to change, reducing the risk of loss of productivity and disruption in the future.
A hybrid work model has made it possible to have better facilities and happier employees at a much lower cost. A proper, customized set-up can deliver these benefits. Talk with an Upflex workplace solutions advisor about how to design and implement a hybrid work model at your company.