As organizations face back to work decisions, the decision can feel overwhelming. Among the options in play are bringing everyone back to the office, keeping everyone remote, or blending the two. While no plan is without challenges, there are multiple benefits of a hybrid workplace companies need to consider.
First, let’s define a hybrid workplace. In short, it’s any model of work that combines both remote and in-office work for its employees. One organization put it this way, “If your business has employees who have the flexibility to split their time between work-from-home and the office, then you are managing a hybrid workforce.” Some organizations have been doing this for years while others were forced into it over the past year.
A return to work survey from December 2020 found that 92% of employees wanted flexibility about where they worked. Yet, while the benefits of a hybrid workplace extend to both employer and employee, each side has a different perspective on what it looks like. According to PWC, when polled in January, over half of employees (55%) would prefer to be remote at least three days a week once pandemic concerns recede, which is little change from the 59% who said the same in June 2020.
Regardless of what employers decide and how they manage the transition, the benefits of a hybrid workplace are notable.
In general, fully remote workers have proven to be more productive than expected. The surprising rise in productivity, however, has been offset by the decline in mental health as employees struggle with isolation and loneliness without in-person collaboration. One of the benefits of a hybrid workplace is that it blends the best of both worlds. Employees benefit from higher productivity at home while supporting their relational and mental health needs, too.
If the statistic cited above is any indication, only 8% of employees want to work either at home or at work all the time. The other 92% want a hybrid workplace. The overwhelming majority of employees are championing a blended model. If employees are forced into a fully remote or fully in-person arrangement, it’s natural to assume that a higher level of discontent will settle in for employees and, subsequently, employers. Work life balance is in high demand and is one of the most significant benefits of a hybrid workplace.
Decrease in business costs
On the employer side, one of the most enticing benefits of a hybrid workplace is the reduction in operational expenses. With decreased costs of heating, lighting, supplies, and other office perks, companies can save significantly on their overhead. Some of these operational costs can be reallocated to support remote employees with better technology, equipment, and even out-of-office benefits like gym memberships or mental health services. It’s also likely that more employees will stay, which reduces cost of turnover for the organization.
The benefits of a hybrid workplace currently outweigh the alternatives and should be considered by organizations that have not chosen a return to work pathway. Early signs indicate that hybrid workplaces are the wave of the future.