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What are the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid work?

Before adopting this model, it is good to know the main advantages and disadvantages of hybrid work.

For over two years, many workers have been working from home due to the pandemic. According to Statistics Canada, as of April 2020, approximately 40% of Canadians are working in jobs that can be performed from home, compared to 4% in 2016.  

Although telecommuting is no longer mandatory, many companies have decided to continue telecommuting or now adopt hybrid work. But what is hybrid work?  Here is a definition of this form of work organization:   

What is hybrid work?

The hybrid work model is an approach where employees split their time between working on site and remotely, either at home or in another location such as a cottage, a coffee shop, a co-working space, etc.  Flexibility and frequency vary according to the company policy and the nature of the employee's position and responsibilities.  

The application of this model can have implications for the company, as well as for the employees. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of this work model:  

What are the benefits of hybrid work?  

Better work-life balance  

When employees have more control over their schedule, it can be easier to manage everyday obligations such as picking up children from school, going to medical appointments, etc.  The flexibility of telecommuting allows employees to work when they are most productive in the location they desire. For example, some people are more productive in the morning and others are more productive in the evening. 90% of telecommuters report that they get as much work done at home as they do in the office.

 

Saves time and money  

Hybrid work reduces the time spent commuting to the office and reduces traffic and weather-related stress.  Staff can also save a considerable amount of money on gas, car maintenance and public transportation.  

In a hybrid configuration, some companies may decide to reduce their workspace by converting their office to co-working spaces. This change can greatly reduce the cost of monthly rent.  

 

Larger pool of candidates and better retention  

With hybrid work, the company is able to offer a competitive advantage in the labor market. It provides access to a larger pool of candidates with specific skills.  In addition, offering current employees the flexibility of hybrid work increases the chances of employee retention.  

Reduced absenteeism for medical reasons

Hybrid work involves fewer people in the workplace at the same time.  Therefore, the absenteeism rate can also be significantly reduced, as employees are less likely to catch and spread viruses since their daily contact is reduced.  

What are the disadvantages of hybrid work?

Difficult schedule management

Some employees may have difficulty achieving a healthy work-life balance. To compensate for their absence from the office, some remote people may have difficulty disconnecting from work. As a result, some people will extend their work hours to complete their tasks.  Or on the other hand, some employees may have difficulty to manage their time well which can greatly affect their motivation and productivity.  A US study by TinyPulse shows that 80% of HR departments declare that hybrid work leads to employee fatigue.

Less adapted workstations

In addition, the employee may be less well equipped when working from home. For example, an employee may have difficulty with their internet connection or distractions may occur in the employee environment that may make virtual work and meetings less effective.  

Also, the employee may have less ergonomic equipment such as a chair or desk that is not well suited to the employee's body. A workstation that is not well designed can lead to eye strain and muscle discomfort over the long term.  

 

Maintain team cohesion and communication  

Hybrid work can be a big challenge for managers. In a Microsoft research paper, 31% of managers reported that it was more difficult to maintain a clear corporate culture and team structure from a distance.  

Indeed, it can be difficult to maintain team cohesion when some employees are in the office and others work remotely. For example, scheduling meetings knowing that some employees are at home and others are on site can be complex to manage.  

Corporate Data Security

Due to remote working, there may be a higher risk of exposing confidential company data. For example, an employee can access internal organization resources from home without having a secure connection. This greatly multiplies the potential danger of phishing attempts, ransomware and other types of fraud.

The hybrid office is here to stay

According to a 2021 survey conducted by CROP, a Quebec-based polling firm, 38% of workers would like to continue telecommuting full-time, 24% would like the flexibility to choose and 18% would like a hybrid mode suggested by the employer. 5 Since hybrid work is reinventing the way we work and this trend is here to stay, employers must remain responsive to employees during this period of adaptation.

References:

Jessica

Hybrid Office Specialist