The pandemic has changed the way we work forever. As change is the only constant, the expectations of employees and organizations have evolved…no more going back to the old ways of work whereas embracing more flexible work arrangements. The power of technology and digitization has now made it possible for more forward-thinking organizations.
Even as the world returns to a sense of normalcy post-COVID-19, many teams have expressed plans to keep working remotely or in a hybrid scenario. People may confuse between remote and hybrid work thinking they are of the same nature, but there is a huge difference. In this article, we explain how both models work and what advantages and disadvantages they have. Understanding their pros and cons can help managers and business leaders choose the right fit and design more effective workplace strategies.
Differentiating Hybrid or Remote Work
In a remote work setup, employees are asked to work remotely away from the physical office space whereas hybrid working is a combination of both a remote workplace and a conventional office. Let’s look at the differences in work environments in the two models:
A hybrid team is more flexible, and employees can decide whether they want to office or work remotely based on the needs of their daily work.
In remote work, employees don’t have any physical office to come in and access various office amenities. In many cases, there is no physical office.
In a hybrid approach, having the choice to select the work environment may significantly improve employee productivity.
While working remotely, not everyone can perform well at their home office and that may hamper their productivity.
A hybrid company needs to create policies and strategies to ensure that all information is distributed consistently to both in-house and remote staff.
In a remote setup, the organization already has a standard system to communicate all information.
In a hybrid team, the meetings happen over video-conferencing and in the office.
In a remote company, the meetings are always virtual.
In a hybrid work model, remote employees may feel left out during team activities.
In remote work, each employee is working remotely, so none feels left out.
Pros of Remote Work
- A remote work model benefits the employer by allowing them to hire global talent without any location restraints.
- Studies show that Remote working significantly increases employee morale and the company’s employee retention rate.
- Full virtual teams have no use for a physical office, that’s a major reduction in operational costs and the carbon footprint.
- With remote working, the daily commute is eliminated completely and allows for a much more relaxed approach to work
Cons of Remote Work
- Remote work is not universal and is not suitable for many kinds of jobs and industries.
- Physical separation of team members can have a serious impact on team spirit and can also affect work dynamics and culture.
- Disrupted communication because of no face-to-face interaction with the employees and issues related to technology.
- Managing a remote team is a learning curve and supervising employees’ work and activities isn’t as easy as in the office.
- The separation of work and leisure time also becomes much more difficult because of distractions due to external factors.
Pros of Hybrid Work
- Employees have a great command over their working hours and work set up which results in increase/maintaining of productivity in all employees.
- Employees greatly appreciate the flexibility and self-determination options that are more convenient for them.
- If the office is only occupied intermittently and on a rotating basis, this allows workplaces to operate on lower square footage and also save costs.
- Having fewer office workers at one time allows you to impose tight social distance and reduce the chances of spreading infections like flu, cold, or even COVID-19
- Meeting on-site allows for more free-flow collaborations for longer periods of time and more team-building opportunities
Cons of Hybrid Work
- Coordinating with team members and managers who are working remotely might be tougher
- A feeling of isolation can quickly arise in remote-only workers if sufficient connection to the in-house team is not ensured.
- Different Time zones will create issues if you have one team within the same time zone and another distributed team in multiple time zones.
- Remote workers often feel undervalued in comparison to office-based employees.
Takeaway: Remote or Hybrid Workplaces
Between hybrid and remote work, hybrid work benefits make it a more viable option for major organizations as the future of the work. Hybrid working is much less complicated, more flexible, easier to implement, and here everyone gets options to choose from. The truth is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and one has to think carefully about adopting the right processes, rules, and office furniture systems to support each.
Choosing the best hybrid work model for the organization can improve the employee experience, the employer brand, and even attract more talent.
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