During the pandemic, remote and hybrid work environments became the norm, and the trend is continuing. To clarify, a hybrid work environment is one in which some workers are remote, some work in the office, or one where all employees work a combination of both. If you own a business, or you’re at the stage where you’re about to get your business idea up and running, you need to decide if a hybrid work environment is right for your company. Here, we will lay out the pros and cons of a hybrid environment.
Pros of a Hybrid Environment
It’s What Employees Are Seeking
During the pandemic, people became used to remote and hybrid work, and they liked it. In today’s job market, where good talent is hard to find, employees have many job options, and the potential for remote or hybrid work may be the deciding factor when they choose a job. In order to find and retain the best talent for your company, you may have to offer a hybrid work environment. Experts agree that hybrid is here to stay, even post-pandemic, so to be competitive most companies are adapting to make remote and hybrid environments work.
Most companies are finding that hybrid work environments are very effective. Happy employees tend to be more productive and loyal employees, and hybrid, as we discussed, is making employees happy. Hybrid work also makes employees feel trusted and empowered, so they tend to be more proactive and hold themselves accountable to get work done. Trust also breeds motivation, so employees often will go above and beyond when they feel the sense of autonomy that comes with trust.
Many companies have found that having a remote or hybrid environment allows them to downsize their physical space. Having a smaller space can mean dramatic savings in rent and overhead costs. The technology required to make hybrid environments work takes an upfront investment, but the cost savings will make the investment worthwhile. In addition to space cost savings, companies are finding new ways to improve production efficiencies in hybrid environments. More efficient processes mean more cost savings.
Access to More Talent
By offering remote work, you’re no longer limited in hiring to a geographical location. You can literally have employees anywhere in the world. This can allow you to find better talent because you have access to a global pool of people. It can also lead to additional cost savings. You may be able to find people who will expect less money because of the average pay scales in their area.
Cons of a Hybrid Environment
Company Culture Can Suffer
When the team is not together on a daily basis they can lose a sense of connection with each other, and with the company. Employees are isolated and not socializing, and they may also lose the benefits of collaboration. A positive company culture needs connections to be maintained, so the company culture can suffer due to disconnections. This is a challenge, however, that can be overcome. Digital and virtual tools need to be in place that allow collaboration and communication. Regular virtual team meetings, at least weekly, also become vital. Even the occasional virtual happy hour that allows employees to socialize can be extremely valuable in keeping the company culture intact.
Some Work Can Suffer
While most employees flourish in a hybrid environment, this is not the case with everyone. Some employees will become less productive or fall off the grid a bit, which can hinder company goals. When this occurs, it needs to be addressed immediately. Goals and expectations need to be clearly communicated to these employees, and they need to be held accountable. Ultimately, along the way, you may need to replace people who just can’t be productive when you are not face to face with them every day.
To support a hybrid work environment, you’ll have to invest in the digital transformation of your company. You’ll need to invest in tools for virtual meetings, digital tools for communication and collaboration, and cybersecurity measures to protect company and customer information when people are working remotely. This can be costly, but it’s a necessary evil to make a hybrid environment work. In the end, though, it’s well worth it and will keep your company competitive and up to date. The business world was undergoing a digital transformation anyway, even before the pandemic. The pandemic just sped up the inevitable, so technology investments will keep you on pace with the competition.
The web is full of tools you can use to enable your virtual or hybrid environment. If you want to run your business from your home, you can get a virtual office space so that you can have a professional business address. Mail can be received at the space and then forwarded to you. You can also get a live virtual receptionist to answer calls when you can’t so that you never miss a call again. You can also find many online collaboration tools to enable teamwork.
Whether we like it or not, hybrid work is the way of the future. It does present some challenges, but those challenges can be overcome. Many companies are using the strategies we’ve discussed to make hybrid environments work, and they’re very successful at it, so it can be done. You just need to decide, based on the nature of your business and your goals, if a hybrid environment is right for your company.