Thinking Outside of the Cubicle

Are hybrid working models paving the way for a cohesive, happier and productive workforce? Or do they present more challenges than opportunities?

Hybrid working models are topics of fierce debate, with people having strong opinions on both sides. Some companies are seriously considering putting their own version into practice. In contrast, others remain critical about their effectiveness or plan to hold out making plans to see if hybrid working models are worth their weight as viable, long-term working alternatives.

Whether you're for or against the idea of hybrid working, it pays to learn the facts to make informed choices about when, how and from where your employees spend their productive hours.

In this article, we're busting myths about hybrid working and presenting you with important truths and need-to-knows!

True Or False: Work Hybridisation Breeds Disorganisation And Chaos

False; carrying out a successful hybrid work model might seem like a huge, daunting and problematic challenge but can work if enforced correctly.

Common misconceptions on hybrid work models are that a one-size-fits-all approach applies, which isn't at all the case.

Multiple variations exist which businesses can adapt to ensure harmony and structure in the workforce.

Multiple variations exist which businesses can adapt to ensure harmony and structure in the workforce.

Right Or Wrong: Full-time Remote Workers Aren't That Committed To Their Jobs/Are Anti Social

Wrong. The successes of remote working can't be underplayed. Employers' preconceived ideas that working from home would kill productivity have been proven wrong as the pandemic wears on.

For the most part, employees worked harder than ever, showing that some autonomy, increased work flexibility, and not being under constant surveillance promotes well-being, which affects the quality of work output and job performances.

A return to the office might not be viewed favourably by everyone, but that's not because of a lack of commitment, a sign of laziness or a lack of team spirit.

Not only did remote work provide greater freedoms, but it also levelled the playing field between colleagues and made certain aspects of life easier to manage.

But with a return to the office, the same issues and unfair advantages will likely reemerge and affect people differently.

One prime example is that of location bias. For workers positioned close to the office, traversing to work might not be considered a big deal, but commuting is expensive and time-consuming for those living far away.

Childcare or related responsibilities could be another concern. Working parents might want to return to the office, socialise, collaborate and spend time away from their families. Still, childcare might be expensive, or there may be other priorities that keep them WFH permanently.

A return to the office might not be viewed favourably by everyone, but that's not because of a lack of commitment, a sign of laziness or a lack of team spirit.

Yes Or No: 2020 Was A Speed Bump In The Road

A complete return to pre-COVID times isn't likely to be in the works, not just because offices working overcapacity are dangerous, but because you can't erase the relative success of flexible working from people's minds.

Despite the flaws of remote working, what can't be denied is that the world of work has become more progressive than it was before the pandemic.

A return to in-person offices without some location flexibility could prove disastrous.

It's fair to expect workers' demands to revolve around a sense of flexibility as we advance into the future. Remote-friendly companies might fare better than less remote-friendly businesses in retaining staff and attracting workers who require some work flexibility.

Fact Or Fiction: Hybrid Working May Cause Friction Among Team Members And Unfair Favouritism

Unfortunately, teams split between remote working and in-office may cause issues without a well-executed hybrid working model in place and good leadership.

We've spoken about proximity bias in an earlier blog piece, whereby in-office workers might be valued and prioritised more than their remote workers because the people in charge see them and not their otherwise-located contemporaries. Therefore, in-office employees might benefit more not because they are more hardworking or skilled but have one-on-one facetime with their bosses.

However, just because this issue can exist doesn't mean workplace disagreement and fractures are inevitable.

It's down to the leaders to create a working environment that's fair and harmonious where people have access to the same rewards, promotions, resources and are kept in the loop.

Practical examples of increasing workplace cohesion include coordinating in-office days that allow for collaboration and catch-ups.

Done well, hybrid working mixed with good leadership can lead to much-needed flexibility and a diverse workforce that is more actively engaged.

Done well, hybrid working mixed with good leadership can lead to much-needed flexibility and a diverse workforce that is more actively engaged.

Right Or Wrong: Moving To A Hybrid Working Model Is An Easy Switch

Before the pandemic, your company was office-based, and amid the health crisis, you had a taste of remote work. Hybrid working models are a combination of the two and must be easy to implement? Right. Wrong.

Trying anything new, unfamiliar and untested doesn't come without its hitches, and straddling the line between in-office and remote work can be a tricky balancing act.

You'll likely ruffle some feathers along the way. But with careful negotiations, planning and discussions, it is possible to iron out the kinks and embrace a sustainable form of hybrid working.

You'll likely ruffle some feathers along the way. But with careful negotiations, planning and discussions, it is possible to iron out the kinks and embrace a sustainable form of hybrid working.

Final Comments

Hybrid working is the latest buzzword in business, but is it a sustainable way to run a business?

Although a work-in-progress, a hybrid working style can be sustainable if implemented correctly and adhering to the above advice.

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