Is the Hybrid Work Model Taking a Toll on Your Workforce?
The hybrid workforce may be the most popular work model in the new normal, but that does not mean it is without problems and drawbacks.
- A hybrid work model allows employees to work either from the office or remotely
- Hybrid work is becoming increasingly popular among businesses because it enables companies to get the benefits of both worlds
- The hybrid model, while beneficial, has its own set of challenges, particularly around communication and coordination
- The drawbacks and challenges of the hybrid model can cause stress among employees if not managed effectively
Two years into the pandemic and the way we work has changed completely – and forever, according to some experts.
Among the biggest changes is the rise of the hybrid workforce. While some businesses are remote-first, and others are simply counting the days until they can have all their employees back in the office, others are going with a mix that allows employees to work both at home and work.
What is a hybrid work model?
A hybrid work model is one where employees are allowed to work from the office or independently from wherever. One of the reasons this arrangement became so popular during the pandemic is because it allows companies and their teams to leverage the benefits of both worlds.
With a hybrid work model, workers can modify and optimize their workspaces to suit their preferences and unique situations. The advantages of this are not hard to see, for example, people are more likely to stay safe and be happier as they tip the scales towards better work-life balance. However, that does not mean that the hybrid model is free from challenges.
3 problems that come with a hybrid workforce
There are three problems nobody is talking about that come with a hybrid workforce:
- 1. The frustration of juggling two workspaces
One station is hard enough to keep in order, let alone two. Even the most meticulous people can find it a bit challenging to have everything you need for the workplace in two places unfailingly.
When you’re tasked with making sure two workspaces are fully equipped to carry out all the different tasks that make up your workday, things are going to get complicated really quickly. Before long, you’re going to realize that nothing is where it should be.
You’ll soon find that reference books, files, and other critical pieces are either missing or in the other office. Critical hardware like photocopiers and fax machines, as well as reliable internet, may be hard to come by at the home office, and you’ll only realize this when you absolutely need to use them.
Our homes are not designed with work in mind, so employees often find that their houses are under-equipped to handle the demands of the workday. Likewise, offices no longer hold the same security and comfort they once had in the pre-covid world, making them less-than-ideal to work in despite the fact that they were designed for work.
While some employees will take these inadequacies in stride as mere inconveniences, a significant number with less-equipped home setups and offices will start questioning whether the hybrid model is worth it in the first place.
- 2. Difficulties with collaboration
Managing collaboration in a hybrid model is easier said than done. Even though technology has come a long way — such that coordinating with remote employees is feasible — a lot remains to be desired.
For example, while video chat has shown its value as a communication tool during these lockdowns, it is no true substitute for the intricate ritual that is face-to-face communication.
It’s no surprise, then, that an increasing number of people are yearning for the authentic collaborations and connections that defined life at the office. In the office, people are able to connect with each other, offer support, carry out spur-of-the-moment conversations, and collaborate more effectively. All these benefits help employees get more done, come up with better ideas, secure more buy-in, communicate more freely with their colleagues, and gain more appreciation for their work than may have been possible if they worked from home.
These perks are the reason why the desire for office time persists even as more and more companies decide to become remote-first and hybrid.
- 3. Remote workers tend to be left out
While some people may be more productive while working at home, there is always the risk that their good work could go unrecognized and unrewarded.
Unless a company has a robust employee rewards and recognition program that takes remote workers into account, the good work people do from home is likely to go unacknowledged. This ends up impacting the level of satisfaction hybrid workers derive from their work.
There is also the danger that remote workers will not get important updates because they are not at the office. Conversations and updates at the office are usually unplanned and spur-of-the-moment, making it more likely for those who actually take part in those conversations to be informed, unlike those away from the office.
Furthermore, those working remotely may suffer from diminished influence at the office. The need for physical presence and the ability to throw your weight about in order to influence decisions in some offices cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, this is hard for remote workers to do, and it greatly limits the level of influence they have over decisions that affect them.
Companies need to keep motivating both in-office and remote workers
Given the challenges that remote workers face in a hybrid work model, it’s clear that companies cannot afford to fail to motivate them. They must acknowledge remote workers’ voices and recognize the effort they put in every day alongside their colleagues in the office.
If you have chosen a hybrid model for your company and are wondering how to properly include and motivate remote workers, read this guide.