Andrea Gray – Managing Director of music licensing company PPL PRS
A recent global study revealed that over 97% of workers wish to work remotely for the rest of their career, even if only some of the time. While necessitated for many by Covid-19, remote working is evidently effective. While the global business landscape continues along the road to recovery, employers are weighing up employee performance and preference pre- versus post-pandemic to find the optimal way of working.
Here is a consolidated guide of advantages and disadvantages relating to ‘hybrid working’ by Andrea Gray, Managing Director of PPL PRS.
‘Hybrid working’ is the flexible working model which allows employees to do both home and office-based shifts within their weekly work schedule. Stuart Duff, Partner & Head of Development at business psychology firm Pearn Kandola ascertains that “we no longer see work life and home life as two entirely separate entities; rather, both can coexist in individual blends that maximise productivity and promote positive relationships between employers and employee”.
- Sustainable work / life balance
For employees who struggle to compartmentalise work, returning to the office – then unwinding on the commute – gives them the physical distance needed to mentally log off. The professional and personal boundary is re-established. But for moments when home is more convenient, due to childcare or life admin needs – the option to work remotely can be reassuring. The flexibility to move between workspaces offers convenience and variety, while nurturing creativity. In turn, employees can diarise their tasks depending on their location – for example; meetings in the office then longer, focussed tasks (like writing) at home – to maximise productivity.
Employers can aid this adjustment by reassuring their team that they should be work their allocated hours and / or offering wellbeing sessions on finding balance.
Such actions can help to overcome stress and loneliness from over-working.
- Health precautions
The gravity of Covid-19 may have encouraged employers to investigate ways to counteract the negative impact of potential future lockdowns. Hybrid working is a wise solution to prepare employees should essential remote working occur again, while future-proofing the corporate strategy in the event of similar crises.
Having fewer people in the office at a given time will also reduce the risk of illness spreading – be it Covid-19 or the common cold, particularly over winter.
The transition to hybrid working may incur increased short-term costs for employers if the team requires certain technology or tools to tackle their to-do list remotely. That said, FreeOfficeFinder reported that 85% of their enquiries across 60 days were from businesses looking to move to the hybrid-working model, up from 0% 24 months before. It’s worth employers evaluating their office space and weighing the expense per day to accommodate a smaller team.
- Scheduling conflicts
Hybrid working runs the risk of conflicting calendars as team members attend the office on different days. This can also bleed into external client calls and meetings as well if they too are adopting the hybrid-working approach too within their business. However, managers can employ organisational techniques like allocating ‘team days’ and supporting on time management to overcome this issue.
Ultimately, employers should consider which style of working suits their business and people. Arguably there is no ‘one size fits all’ anymore. The beauty of a ‘hybrid’ model is that blends the benefits of both home and office-based work. In turn, it creates a flexible and trusting environment for employees which may drive better job retention and team loyalty.