The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled many companies across the globe to re-evaluate the way they do business. For some, that has meant shifting to a fully remote workforce. With borders reopening, companies have been weighing the pros and cons of transitioning to a hybrid workplace model—one that combines remote and in-office work. Here’s a look at some potential benefits and challenges of such a model.
The Pros of a Hybrid Workplace Model
There are several potential benefits of transitioning to a hybrid work arrangement post-pandemic.
Attracting Remote Talent
Offering a combination of hybrid and remote work models could help attract top talent from around the world. With more people working remotely than ever before, companies will no longer be limited to hiring employees who live near their physical offices or in the same region. Instead, they’ll be able to tap into a broader pool of candidates, which could lead to a more diverse and innovative workforce.
In addition, a growing body of evidence suggests that working from home increases productivity. For example, a recent study from Owl Labs found that 90 percent of respondents preferred work from home arrangements and 63 percent of respondents reviewed that they were more productive at home than in the office. In addition, work from home arrangements eliminates the trouble of commuting, giving employees more time at their disposal and increasing the overall satisfaction with their jobs.
By offering employees the option to work remotely—even just one or two days per week—companies may see a boost in productivity.
The Cons of a Hybrid Work Arrangement
Of course, there are also some potential challenges that come with transitioning to a hybrid workplace model post-pandemic.
Risk of Eroding Company Culture and Cohesion
One such challenge is the risk of erosion of company culture and cohesion. When employees are split between working in an office and working from home, it can be harder for them to build relationships with their co-workers and feel like they’re part of a team. As a result, companies may have to put in extra work to ensure that time for team bonding activities is scheduled into monthly agendas.
Inability to Provide Adequate Support
Another potential challenge is in providing support for employees to access resources. For a hybrid workplace model to be successful, employees will need to be equipped with the tools and resources regardless of where they’re working. If companies don’t provide adequate support for remote workers, they may find that employees are less productive when working from home. With a good remote work infrastructure in place and ample support, employees can collaborate efficiently with their teammates and receive timely feedback from their managers, which could further improve productivity levels.
Case Study: KPMG’s 3-Pillared Approach
Therefore, this points to a need for business owners to continually re-evaluate existing workflow systems and ensure they are still relevant and useful. For example, professional services firm, KPMG proposes that business owners embrace agility in the face of unpredictability via the consideration of three pillars in future work strategies:
1. Creating a Learning Tribe
KPMG recommends engaging employees by forging a nurturing environment where curiosity, innovation and deep learning are encouraged. This involves focused and generous sharing of knowledge amongst experts within and between various departments and teaching new skills that can help future-proof employees. This increases touchpoints with teammates and knowledgeable others, motivating employees while showing that the company is actively accounting for their growth.
2. Fostering a Hybrid Work Culture
As businesses develop alongside their employees’ changing expectations and priorities, the urgency of creating a more open company culture increases. KPMG advice companies to conduct an active reflection on protocols and remain open to more feedback and discussions to integrate an efficient hybrid work culture. As such, business owners must be ready to allow employees autonomy to decide schedules without hindering team cohesion and productivity.
3. Building a Healthy and Sustainable Workplace
KPMG’s third pillar revolves around reorienting work environments to promote holistic health and wellness of employees as well as overall business sustainability. Companies are advised to continue developing a plugged-in, people-first and purpose-driven organisation culture that possesses the potential to create positive impacts on the future. With ESG priorities at the core of this transformation, businesses will have to redesign policies that safeguard the well-being of employees while encouraging positive engagement with the environment.
Making the Decision
Ultimately, the decision of whether to transit to a hybrid workplace model in this post-pandemic period is one that every company will have to make for themselves. There are potential benefits and challenges associated with such a move, and it’s important for companies to weigh all factors before making a decision. When considering an approach to embracing the future of work, business owners should decide what’s best for the company as a whole and come to a resolution on what can aid employees to be most productive—whether that involves working remotely or in an office setting.
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