Terug

Hybrid working: what it is, the benefits and pitfalls

by Danique Geskus | Nov 8, 2023

Hybrid working, which combines working from home and working in the office, has become increasingly popular after the pandemic. The benefits of hybrid working, such as flexibility, cost savings and better work-life balance, have contributed to the growing interest. Yet there are also challenges, such as communication, technology, and maintaining a strong corporate culture. For organizations looking to implement hybrid working, a well-thought-out roadmap will help ensure a smooth transition to this way of working. By carefully weighing both the advantages and disadvantages, hybrid working can be a valuable addition to business operations and an investment with potential for the future.

 

What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working encompasses the concept where employees have the freedom to work independently of time and location. This usually involves a mix of working from home and working in the office.

Before the pandemic, working from home was usually an exception to the rule. However, in 2020, remote working suddenly became the norm due to mandatory measures during the pandemic. The benefits of mandatory working from home soon became apparent, such as the elimination of travel times and more flexible working hours, allowing work to be better combined with personal life. These benefits have led to a significant increase in the popularity of hybrid work after the corona pandemic.

 

What is the current state of hybrid working

The survey found that less than half of organizations (48 percent) still have not prepared for hybrid working. About 37 percent say they have embraced hybrid working only for the short term. In addition, 52 percent of organizations believe that hybrid working is only temporary.

By the group of companies that do actively engage in hybrid working, important perspectives emerge, including:

  1. 80% of employees have the right to work flexibly from day one.
  2. 84% of employees get rules about the number of mandatory office days.
  3. 22% of employees work sporadically in the office, saving space.

 

The benefits of hybrid working

Hybrid work offers numerous benefits for both employers and employees. Some key benefits include:

  1. Flexibility: Hybrid working gives employees the freedom to adjust their workplace and hours to suit their personal needs. This promotes a better work-life balance, making employees more productive and satisfied.
  2. Cost savings: Both employees and employers can benefit from cost savings. Employees save on travel costs and work-related expenses, while employers may need less office space, which can lead to lower operating costs.
  3. Access to talent: Hybrid working allows organizations to attract and retain talent regardless of their location. This allows companies to draw from a larger and more diverse talent pool.
  4. Higher engagement: Flexible working conditions can increase employee engagement. Employees often feel more valued and trusted by the autonomy provided, which can result in higher motivation and commitment.
  5. Improved productivity: For some employees, working in a familiar environment, such as at home, can lead to increased productivity. In addition, fewer distractions and less commute time can improve efficiency.
  6. Work-life balance: Hybrid work helps employees better balance work and personal life, which can reduce stress levels and promote employee well-being.
  7. Sustainability: Less commuting can help reduce CO2 emissions and have a positive impact on the environment.
  8. Increased employee satisfaction: Providing flexible work options shows that employers take their employees’ well-being and needs seriously, which can lead to higher employee satisfaction and loyalty.

 

What are the disadvantages of hybrid working?

However, it is important to note that hybrid working can also present challenges, such as the need for effective remote communication and collaboration, ensuring data and information security, and maintaining a consistent corporate culture. Below we discuss the main challenges of hybrid working.

  1. Communication and collaboration: Hybrid working can complicate communication and collaboration among team members, especially if some colleagues work in the office while others are remote. It is important to implement effective communication channels and collaboration methods to ensure that all team members remain engaged and information is shared evenly.

49 percent of employees experience that employers do not take steps to avoid having to be on-call and available at all times. (
HP 2022
).

  1. Technology and infrastructure: A successful hybrid work environment requires robust technology and infrastructure to enable seamless communication and collaboration. Providing the right equipment, Internet connections and security measures for both office and home workstations can be challenging.
  2. Work-life balance: While hybrid working can help improve work-life balance, it can also lead to the blurring of boundaries between work and home. Employees may have difficulty letting go of work-related tasks when working from home, potentially overloading them.

49 percent of employees worry about an unhealthy overtime culture. (
HP 2022
).

  1. Corporate culture and engagement: Maintaining a strong corporate culture and fostering team engagement can be more difficult when employees work remotely. It is important to implement initiatives that foster team spirit, even if not all team members are physically present in the office.

74 percent of employers are concerned about creating and supporting a work culture when working remotely (
HP 2022
).

  1. Performance evaluation: Evaluating employee performance in a hybrid work environment can be challenging. It is important to establish objective evaluation criteria and ensure that performance is evaluated fairly and evenly, regardless of work location.

Learned helps you conduct fair and objective evaluation interviews on topics such as: fit with company culture, KPIs, job profile and relevant skills & competencies.

  1. Security and privacy: With employees working remotely, concerns about data security and privacy can arise. Organizations must ensure that sensitive information is properly protected and that employees are aware of cybersecurity risks and best practices.
  2. Inclusiveness: Ensuring inclusiveness can be a challenge in hybrid working. Remote workers should have the same opportunities and access to development opportunities and decision-making processes as those working in the office.

To meet these challenges, organizations need to invest in effective technologies, communication channels and leadership skills. Clear policies and guidelines for hybrid working can also help ensure a smooth transition and that all employees feel engaged and supported, regardless of their work location.

 

Examples of companies that have implemented hybrid working

Two examples of companies that have embraced hybrid working.

  1. Microsoft: As one of the leading technology companies, Microsoft has embraced a hybrid work environment. They have given their employees the ability to work flexibly from home while having access to modern tools and technologies for seamless remote collaboration. The company has also invested in digital communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams to keep employees in touch with each other regardless of their location.
  2. Salesforce: Salesforce, a leading cloud-based software company, has adopted a hybrid work approach they call “Work From Anywhere.” They have given their employees the flexibility to choose where they can be most productive, whether at home, in the office or elsewhere. Salesforce is committed to providing the necessary technology and infrastructure to support a seamless work environment regardless of the location of their employees.

 

Learned: we too work hybrid

At Learned, employees work 3 days a week from the office and 2 days a week from home. We think it is important for team spirit that we spend enough time together in the office. We also believe it is important to enable employees to work independently on projects and minimize their travel time.

 

Roadmap to implement hybrid working

Implementing hybrid working can be a complex process, but with a well-thought-out roadmap, you can make it go smoothly. Here is a general roadmap for implementing hybrid working within an organization:

 

Step 1: Analysis and preparation

  • Conduct a thorough analysis of the current work culture, employee needs and the nature of the work being performed.
  • Determine which positions are suitable for hybrid working and identify any bottlenecks or challenges that may arise.
  • Create a working group with representatives from various departments to guide the implementation process.

 

Step 2: Policy formation and communication

  • Develop clear policies and guidelines for hybrid working. This should include issues such as working hours, office days, compensation, technological support and expectations around productivity and communication.
  • Communicate policies and guidelines transparently and clearly to all employees. Make sure they are well informed about the changes and have opportunity to ask questions.

 

Step 3: Technology and infrastructure

  • Invest in the necessary technology and infrastructure to enable hybrid working. This could include laptops, mobile devices, remote access to corporate systems and videoconferencing tools.
  • Ensure security and privacy of company data when working remotely.

 

Step 4: Training and support

  • Provide employees with training and support in using the new technologies and working remotely.
  • Ensure that executives and managers are trained in managing hybrid teams and promoting effective communication.

 

Step 5: Testing phase and feedback

  • Conduct a pilot phase with a small team to test hybrid working and identify any problems.
  • Gather feedback from employees and managers to further optimize the process.

 

Step 6: Implementation and monitoring

  • Implement hybrid working gradually in the organization, incorporating lessons learned from the pilot phase.
  • Monitor the progress and results of hybrid working. For example, track how productivity, employee satisfaction and other relevant KPIs are affected.

 

Step 7: Evaluate and adjust

  • Evaluate hybrid working regularly and continue to listen to feedback from employees and managers.
  • Adjust policies and guidelines based on the experiences and areas for improvement that emerge.

It is important to realize that implementing hybrid working is an ongoing process. Flexibility and adaptability are essential to ensure long-term success for both the organization and its employees.

 

In summary, as an employer, should I get started with hybrid working?

As an employer, it is crucial to consider the needs and desires of your employees and determine whether hybrid working fits your company’s culture and goals. While hybrid working can increase employee satisfaction and productivity, this model also brings challenges in terms of communication and team building. It is critical to carefully weigh both the advantages and disadvantages. Based on this evaluation, you can then decide whether hybrid working can be a valuable addition to your operations and an investment with potential for the future.

Gratis downloads

Real-time insight into employee engagement

Additional Resource

All resources >

Maandelijkse nieuwsbrief

Aanmelding voor nieuwsbrief voordelen