Isn’t it wonderful to work from home with a flexible schedule? Due to the coronavirus pandemic, companies have implemented hybrid remote work models. Many employees prefer a hybrid work environment to being in the office all the time because it helps improve their work-life balance.
The telecommuting option allows employees to spend more personal time, helping them create healthier boundaries between personal life and work. They can wake up later (or earlier), be more productive and focused, and save on commuting costs.
The advantages of hybrid work are undeniable. Your employees will be happier, and healthier, and some are said to be more productive without distractions in the office.
After two years of a great experiment in working from home, even Asian employers agree that hybrid and remote work is our future. This strengthens their employer brand and improves their ability to attract new talent looking for organizations that offer greater work flexibility.
While the good news is that many companies are offering telecommuting or hybrid work arrangements to improve work-life balance, the reality is that employee benefits haven’t quite caught up with the changes.
Advantages of Hybrid Work
While effective implementation does not have a one-size-fits-all approach to hybrid working, it can have many benefits:
Increases productivity and efficiency
In a hybrid setting, flexible working hours and a refreshing change of environment can increase an employee’s focus, especially on their tasks. When your employees have more flexibility in their workplace, they are more likely to balance their workload, take responsibility and focus more on their work.
For example, they can divide their workload into team projects and individual projects. They can work on team projects in the office and individual projects at home.
Reduces operating costs
With fewer employees in the office, businesses need less physical space. Thus, the hybrid model reduces both the real estate and office supplies. It also saves employees money by reducing commuting costs.
Hybrid work requires businesses to transform to connect, engage and support dispersed teams digitally. Employees no longer need to be in the same room to brainstorm and collaborate. With modern technological AI chatbots, they can communicate and collaborate from any location. Features such as intelligent content recommendations can facilitate better teamwork and knowledge sharing across diverse teams.
Maintains employee safety and health
Fewer people in the office mean less chance of disease transmission. Infections are less likely if there are fewer workers on the premises.
Benefits for the office
Another consideration is the benefits that companies offer in the office. Many organizations understand that people do not want to return to a sea of gray panels with a labyrinthine work environment. Smart companies make commuting worthwhile by creating places you want to come back to first.
Examples are social hubs, and great work cafes where people can get (free, healthy) food and work with the community. You can also suggest that your company offers them.
In addition, companies realize that people need better places to collaborate and communicate, as well as places for privacy—especially for employees who don’t have the ideal home environment to do distracting work. Being able to close the door, even if you’re not a top executive, can come in handy – and you can ask for it when organizations want to update their offices. Employers also provide places to rejuvenate, offer naps, and add natural elements to the space.
Benefits of working hours
When evaluating the right hybrid experience, consider the benefits of the job itself. Companies are increasingly focusing on wellness and trying to relieve the pressure that can come from days filled with meetings, video calls, and endless tasks.
Suggest that your company experiment with shorter 50-minute meetings to give people some breathing room between sessions. Or look for organizations that offer the option of taking Fridays off once a month, working half a day on Fridays, or organizing company-wide Fridays without meetings.
All of these have the advantage of giving people more space to take a break and do thorough work without constant meetings. And they have the added benefit that you won’t be the only one off Friday. if the pattern is shared throughout the company
Benefits to your life
Work is part of a fulfilling life, and research shows that when people are happier with their lives outside of work, they tend to be happier in their workplace. Smart companies recognize employees as whole people and increase the company’s role in ensuring self-fulfillment in all parts of employees’ lives.
So this is a key criterion that you can consider when evaluating your organization or a potential new organization.
Look for companies that offer resources for teaching and coaching as parents homeschool or catch up on school based on where they may have fallen behind. Also, look for companies that offer grants for childcare and applications for senior care or emergency childcare services. Many businesses also offer pet grooming options, pet insurance, or pet employment options—recognizing the extent to which furry friends are part of the family.
Benefits to the community
Another set of benefits you can increasingly claim is related to community building. Employers understand that remote work can challenge employees to connect and feel part of things. Some offer benefits, such as employee resource groups or stakeholder groups, for everyone from carers and runners to knitters or motorbike enthusiasts.
You can also look for companies that use apps that help people make friends and build new relationships with colleagues. Or submit a request to your organization to host in-office events such as pet shelter adoption events, barbecues, or company activity fairs, or outside-of-work events such as volunteer days or meetings.
While the media may introduce a false contradiction—creating a debate about whether working from home or working in the office is better—hybrid is a both-and proposition. When it works, the hybrid is the best of both worlds.
Ideally, a hybrid allows for work anywhere, with plenty of choice and flexibility for employees. But it should also provide a strong center of attraction for the organization – a culture you want to be a part of, with interesting work and supportive colleagues.