The effectiveness of a hybrid work model at work
Employers and employees both want in-office collaboration, but they want it at different intervals. The old weekday, nine-to-five, in the office paradigm is increasingly becoming irrelevant. Many workers now enjoy the benefits of a combination of remote and in-person working, whether it be for the whole week or just some of it. Evidence also exists that hybrid work arrangements can contribute to better organizational performance by lowering turnover and increasing job satisfaction.
The focus at this point seems to be on those who are in favor or against the idea of such a work environment. What is often overlooked when it comes to harnessing the power of a workforce is the necessity of allowing employees to work remotely. Doing this is paramount if you want your workplace to be diverse, equitable and inclusive. In light of recent global events, it is important that we attract diverse talent. Doing so will ensure equity, justice and inclusion. This is where the hybrid work model comes in handy. This approach is not only good for people who prefer remote work or certain working styles, but also provides access to a wider talent pool. There are three prime examples below of when this works well.
1. Women with primary caregiving responsibilities
Millions of families suffered when the Covid-19 shut down schools, daycare centers, which lead to many job losses. In the US, improvements made it easier for women with family commitments to work. Prior to these improvements, many women were forced to leave their jobs to take care of children but could struggle upon returning because they faced an unsupportive environment and often had no choice but to sacrifice career progression
Many women express a particular desire for flexible work arrangements to help deal with the unique challenges of balancing childcare schedules with commuting. This is especially highlighted for those who are taking care of elderly parents or family members with disabilities.
The hybrid model is becoming very popular with working women because it provides some aspects of full-time work, like allocated vacation days and fixed start/end times. This means you can also enjoy a flexible lifestyle that does not hinder your work or personal life.
2. People with physical or mental health issues
Going to work can be challenging for the disabled, if they cannot get there. Remote working means that those who are restricted in their movement can still take part in an organisation and contribute to the business. This doesn't mean we should stop addressing the ongoing challenges that affect public transport and workplace design, but it does help those who are still struggling with those issues every day.
Anxiety can be just as limiting as a physical disability, which is why it's so important to call attention to people who suffer from it. 18% of Americans are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, which is about the same as in most other countries. Some people find it hard to come into the office on a regular basis because of complicated commutes or long commutes that take a toll on their mental well-being. A lot of the new ways in which companies have designed their offices take into account people who have sensitivity issues. People with heightened sensitivities may struggle to thrive at the workplace and these spaces provide harder surfaces and uninterrupted blank space.
A hybrid work model, especially when physical offices can be used for different purposes at different points in time, offers everyone a chance to get engaged and feel included in their work community.
3. People facing location based limitations
Even before the pandemic, we saw a steady increase in commute times. Due to rising housing costs in the neighbourhoods around their offices are now travelling 90 minutes each way. A lot of people are losing out on careers in different areas just because they're ineligible to live closer to the workplace. Living near work can be a qualification in and of itself, which doesn't favor many demographics. Those who are discriminated by their living location are often marginalized workers or minorities.
A hybrid work model provides the best of both worlds: the tools and technology to work from home for a given number of days a week, combined with less frequent commutes to the office or group meetings.
Nowadays, many people have turned to flexible work patterns to avoid the crowds and maintain their productivity. Many of these people were already involved in these types of arrangements before the disease hit so they're realizing how easy it is for them to work from home instead. People are skeptical about it and make judgements about those who are doing it. Managers now have a better understanding of how to lead remote teams effectively. Technologies like hardware and software for remote workers have become much more well-known and allowed an easier process of flexibility in the workplace.
Companies now need to focus on how to embrace these changes and take advantage of the opportunities offered with hybrid working. Investing in the right workplace strategies will go a long way towards improving the work-life balance of your employees and maximizing levels of engagement, productivity from all staff, and a diverse and equitable workforce. Implementing this will help your innovation and growth. It’s all a good investment that can bring benefits to all parties.