Is Hybrid Work the New Normal?
It’s no secret the pandemic has upended our lives. With remote work becoming more commonplace, hybrid work has become the new normal for many organisations. Hybrid work is a combination of working from your own space as well as a company location. This may come in the form of say 3 days at home and 2 days in the office or any other combination.
It’s not an easy process moving from a fully remote working environment into a hybrid one. It may take time to adjust back to office life, after all, the pandemic is still present in society and it’s important to put health first, especially your mental health. Employees have become accustomed to the working from home ways with many starting new roles fully remotely, this is why most employers want to ease their employees back, instead of forcing them into how work life was pre-pandemic.
3 Ways Businesses Can Make Hybrid Work a Success:
1. Develop a work culture based on mental health and well-being. Whether it’s creating a free counselling programme for employees or organising online meetups such as Pilates classes, ensuring a happy work environment should be a priority. At Servisource we have a dedicated space for our Mental Health Toolkit which can be accessed by all employees of CPL. It includes group exercise activities, virtual cafes to discuss important topics relating to mental wellbeing as well as access to a free counselling service. This gives employees the reassurance that their employer knows how important they are.
2. Create a safe office working environment with health monitoring systems in place such as hand sanitisers available at desks and perhaps allowing only a certain amount of people in workspaces at the one time. If someone’s sick, it’s best for them to stay at home in case other people are infected. These small changes can help people feel at ease who might have some lingering anxieties about returning back to the office.
3. Sending the proper work equipment to employees so they have the ability to work efficiently during their workdays at home. This allows them to feel confident while away from the office. Many companies use the hot desking system in the office whereby desks are allocated to workers when they are required or on a rota system, which ensures everybody has a desk when they are working from the office.
4. A proper work/life balance is important and this is why Sevisource has created a new Balance Time scheme for its employees. This is a flexible time currency for everyone in CPL to cater for all of the non-work commitments as and when they arise. It is our unique flexibility offering, reflective of the people that work for CPL. Whatever your reason, we want to empower you to best balance your time and to be proud to do so. This means if you have an appointment or task that you need to fulfil during the working day, Balance Time can be used. You essentially take the time to fulfil the appointment or task, but you make back the time within 1 week.
Technological advances since the pandemic began also make it easier to stay connected remotely. This has resulted in the popularity of flexible working arrangements throughout the workforce. Workspace systems such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom can allow workers to message and video each other, enabling everything to run more smoothly.
However, just like everything else, there are some advantages and disadvantages to the hybrid working setup. Let’s take a look at these.
Advantages of Hybrid Work:
The hybrid working environment can allow employees to have a nice balance between home and office life. Having the option to go to work and see colleagues but also spend more time at home with family, is ideal for most workers. They have the ability to look after their children or older family members and it allows them to be more flexible.
That work camaraderie is still present when they are in the office which prevents feelings of isolation from creeping in. Stress levels are also lowered because of this flexibility and less time spent travelling to work in heavy traffic. Costs on office expenses and travel are also avoided.
Advantages of Hybrid Work
- Improved work/life balance
- Lower stress levels
- Flexible hours
- Less time commuting to work
- Lower costs
According to statistics, the most frequently mentioned benefit of homeworking was increased well-being through avoiding the commute (46% of survey participants), followed by enhanced well-being because of greater flexibility of hours (39%).
Disadvantages of Hybrid Work:
However, there’s a real probability that when you work from home you end up spending too much time at your desk and work time can eat into your personal time. You might end up going over your required work hours without realising it or going back to your computer to finish something off. It’s important to separate your work time from your personal time while working the hybrid life.
Disadvantages of Hybrid Work
- Feelings of isolation
- Work intrusion
- Reliance on technology
- Distractions at home
- Scheduling difficulties
Statistics also state a reduction in distractions while working hybrid also featured at 33%, although given that lockdown enforced homeworking regardless of home circumstances, some employees were still dealing with increased distractions.
There’s also a reliance on technology and if the WIFI happens to malfunction, then certain tasks can no longer be fulfilled. A stable internet connection can be difficult in rural areas, but it has greatly improved since the pandemic. Distractions while working at home can also occur especially when taking care of family members. A comfortable environment with a proper work set-up is important which allows you to keep on top of work duties and schedules.
What does the above tell us?
Overall, there are advantages and disadvantages to working hybrid, both for the employers and the employees.
Companies are making time to allow employees to work in a way that is most comfortable to them, especially in a world that has changed so much since the pandemic began. Mental health is important and when you have happy workers, you have a happy, thriving business.
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