Hybrid working has become a familiar term over the last few years, with the recent pandemic simply accelerating businesses’ need to find new ways to stay in operation. Technology, in particular, has played a big part in helping companies and employees transition to this new model of working, with tools and software enabling effective communication and collaboration at a distance.
Employees appear to have embraced the concept of splitting their time between the office and working remotely, with 77% saying they prefer working on this basis. Employers, too, seem to be on board with the trend of flexible working, with many predicting the downsizing of office spaces and a move towards smaller, more flexible workspaces.
By changing to a hybrid mode of working, both employers and workers can benefit. From lower overheads to fewer lengthy commutes, a better work-life balance is on the horizon.
What is Hybrid Working?
Hybrid working is a way of working in two locations, in an office and a non-office location. While there are several hybrid working models, the common theme is offering more freedom around when and where to work. This means that employees can fit their work around their lives rather than structure their weekdays around hours in an office.
What is a Hybrid workplace?
A hybrid workplace is any workplace that merges the elements of remote and office working hence offering the best of both worlds in terms of structure and sociability, along with independence and flexibility.
Ideally, a hybrid workplace should offer the best of both worlds: structure and sociability, along with independence and flexibility.
The hybrid workplace could involve designating certain days for in-office meetings and remote days for work that involves individual focus. Employees could be physically present for team-building exercises or training sessions, while certain work aspects are better completed at home.
How Does a Hybrid Workforce Operate?
There are a number of ways in which employers could manage a hybrid workforce. The hybrid model means there’s a combination of remote work and office work happening simultaneously. Both parties will be collaborating at any given time, and employees are often given the choice to work in the office for a number of days, and remotely for the rest of the time.
In essence, how to manage this depends on the space available at the in-office location, and what makes sense in terms of productivity and employee engagement. Some may want to operate a rota system, with those that work in the office having a set timetable in place so office managers can oversee desk space.
The Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Workplace Model
When it comes to hybrid working, it’s important to consider both the employer’s and the employee’s point of view. Here are some of the chief benefits both can enjoy:
In a well-structured and streamlined hybrid work environment, there’s every potential for improving employee productivity. By offering staff the opportunity to create a better work-life balance, they will enjoy more job satisfaction and be happier. Happy staff make for motivated staff. The benefits of increased wellbeing and health are other aspects that will have a positive effect on productivity.
In a hybrid working model, companies can expect to see significant cost savings, for example, in office real estate rental (especially in expensive areas like London) and utility bills. Employees, too, will see decreased costs with the hefty expense of daily commuting reduced.
Extensive talent pools
Companies can cast their net wider and recruit the most talented people, regardless of their geographic location, in adopting hybrid working. This also helps people living farther afield who would not previously have been considered for roles.
Remote working can be highly efficient, especially given the wide range of business communication software and tools to help enable this. However, it can’t replace social interactions’ spontaneity—e.g. after a meeting or at lunch or networking events. Under a hybrid model, employees can still take advantage of some face-to-face meetings, helping them address personal issues.
Work-life balance can be greatly enhanced with a hybrid approach. By allowing staff to work more flexibly to acknowledge childcare commitments, companies can build stronger relationships with them.
Hybrid working is an opportunity to help the planet reduce the carbon footprint and boost green credentials.
The disadvantages of hybrid working will vary depending on the type of organisation involved. Here are some potential pitfalls.
The client experience can fall short under a hybrid model because some clients see face-to-face meetings as 100% the way forward, for example, in the banking or legal sector, where personal contact is the preferred method of communication. This is because when dealing with sensitive issues, people need to feel confident they can trust a company, and that’s something that’s often reinforced by body language. Even a video call can’t always replicate this psychological advantage as yet.
In a physical office environment, a co-working camaraderie is built up over time, with social interactions and the sharing of ideas boosted by team members’ physical presence sitting just a few feet away. Isolation can lead to poor decision-making, so this could be an issue to watch out for.
Keep hybrid team members connected!
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How to Implement a Hybrid Workplace Model
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Hybrid working Case Studies
Pre-pandemic, RingCentral’s cloud telephony solutions helped companies in all sectors achieve increased efficiency and productivity. Post-pandemic, it’s anticipated that by adopting RingCentral’s VoIP and other business communications software, businesses will be better positioned to enable effective collaboration between remote employees whilst offering clients and customers a higher level of customer service.
As SaaS company TechnologyOne grew to cover 14 locations across six countries, its phone system couldn't keep up. The phone service wasn't even connected with its call centre. Installing RingCentral MVP made communication among employees simpler and made it easier to stay connected over distance.Read the Case Study
Accountants MHA MacIntyre Hudson needed to carry out in-person meetings whilst being available to clients when on the road. However, staff were tied to their desks by an old phone system. Switching to RingCentral cloud communications meant accountants could communicate with anyone from anywhere.Read the Case Study
In RingCentral, financial services provider OptimumCredit found a communications system that could scale with the company's fast growth, provide absolute reliability, and support secure data capture and call recording.Read the Case Study
Why Choose RingCentral as Your Hybrid Workplace Business Partner?
RingCentral is a 2020 Gartner UCaaS Magic Quadrant Leader, recognised for innovation and vision in cloud-based communications. Download the report by clicking the button below.
Hybrid Workplace Best Practices
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