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Hybrid Work Model: an Inevitable Future




Back in 2019, the predominant work culture was to do the daily grind of commuting to work 5 or 6 days a week, with no exceptions. Fast forward to 2022, gone are the days when every employee reported to the desk five days a week.

Even before the brutal COVID-19 pandemic, the world was already transitioning at a steady pace to a flexible work environment with the adoption of cloud infrastructure systems. However, the challenges brought by the pandemic changed the landscape of business operations forever. Digital transformation and early cloud adoption become inevitable for all types of businesses.

The business operations evolved with an immense surge in the demand for telemedicine, e-commerce, fintech, augmented reality, IoT, digital payments, intelligent chatbots, virtual retail experiences, and whatnot. According to Gartner Inc, 2021 “There is no going back to the work model that prevailed before the pandemic”. This shift in the dynamics has brought diversity to the work models which allows freedom to work from anywhere. As a result, when the COVID-19 restrictions eased up, the work from the office never resumed in the same way, giving rise to a new hybrid work model.


What is a Hybrid Work Model?

By definition, hybrid work is a flexible work model that supports a blend of in-office and remote work. It is a people-first approach to managing the workforce and giving employees freedom and autonomy to work from wherever they are most productive and satisfied. The hybrid work model has diminished the four walls of the corporate office. It has become an ecosystem of employees working from home, office, and co-working spaces.


The Rise of Hybrid Work

During the pandemic’s work-from-home restrictions, small to large organizations realized that their employees’ productivity has increased a lot while working remotely. The majority of the employees were happier, more energized, and eager for new challenges. So, the popular misconception soon faded away that employees only work well and are more productive when they are seen on desks 9 to 5, kept in check, and watched over.

Besides, cloud computing has also contributed a lot to the feasibility of working from home and keeping employees virtually connected. Globally, working from home was a phenomenal success and it was based on a single notion that employees perform best when given creative and personal freedom. Now let’s dive into the four popular types of hybrid work models.


Types of Hybrid Work Models

There are four major types of hybrid work models:

  • Flexible Hybrid Work Model

  • Fixed Hybrid Work Model

  • Office-First Hybrid Work Model

  • Remote-First Hybrid Work Model


Flexible Hybrid Work Model

This working model is the most flexible and has the people-first workforce approach. The employees can choose their working hours and location based on their priorities. For instance, if they need to focus on a project, they can work from a coffee shop, their home, or a mountain retreat site. Or, if they want to reconnect and feel a sense of community, they can choose to work from the office and meet team members or attend training sessions and town hall meetings.


Benefits:

  • Offers complete flexibility and freedom to individual employees on work location and hours.

  • Builds relationships with employees virtually based on trust, loyalty, and job satisfaction.

  • Exponentially broadens the talent pool of a diverse employee base.

  • Improves the bottom line due to cost savings on office maintenance and travel.

Challenges:

  • Difficult to find a suitable time to do teamwork with colleagues.

  • Inability to physically meet team members daily.


Fixed Hybrid Work Model

In order to remove uncertainty, chaos, and lack of visibility on how many employees showed up in the office, the organizations set certain days and times when employees are allowed to work remotely or go to the office. For instance, certain teams or departments will be allowed to work from home on Mondays and Tuesdays, while the other teams will work from home on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Or they can set certain work-from-home days company-wide.


Benefits:

  • Increase the opportunity for in-person team building and collaboration.

  • Give employees the option to run quick errands or appointments on certain days.

  • Provides management a forecast of office building capacity.

Challenges:

  • Lack of individual choice. This can lead to productivity loss if employees aren't in the optimal setting.

  • Inability to reduce office infrastructure or space.

  • Inability to tap global talent base.

Office-First Hybrid Work Model

As its name suggests, this hybrid model focuses on the office-first approach. This means, employees will be expected to work from the office but have the flexibility to choose 1 or 2 days for work from home in a week. Google plans to adopt this work model, where its employees will work 3 days in the office, with an option of 2 remote working days.


Benefits:

  • Allows flexibility as well as individual choice.

  • Company culture and community are maintained.

Challenges:

  • Employees will have a lack of visibility as to who will be in the office and when.

  • Management is unable to provide a forecast of office building capacity on a given day.

  • Inability to reduce office infrastructure or space.


Remote-First Hybrid Work Model

The remote first working model allows employees to work remotely most of the time. This working model allows companies to have exponential exposure to remote-based talent around the world. The team-building events, collaborations, and training are done through virtual meetings. Companies following this model often don't have any central office due to geographically dispersed teams. Instead, the team members in the same area rely on get-togethers when they see fit.


Benefits:

  • Exponential exposure to worldwide talent.

  • A wide variety of ideas and thought processes are introduced due to the global team.

  • Increased productivity due to content and satisfied employees.

  • Gives management the ability to reduce costs by eliminating office spaces.

  • Affordable top talent due to different geolocation and currency differences.

Challenges:

  • Employees can feel isolated.

  • Challenges for management in maintaining company culture and community.

5 Productive Ways to Work Smartly in a Hybrid work Model

With the advent of technology and the hybrid work model, life has become hyper-fast with hours and days slipping away. Most of us, whether in life or work strive to achieve more in less time. The trick is to work smart not hard. However, working remotely at home with no manager to keep a check, employees can tend to lose track of time.

Wouldn't it be nice to complete half day’s work in just a few hours? Well, YES, it is possible and you also can achieve greater productivity in a hybrid work environment by working smartly with productivity tools and following these tips.


1. Front-load Your Week

Planning a week ahead in the hybrid work environment allows you to see the bigger picture. Analyze and strategize all the critical, bigger, and harder tasks at the start of the day or week. Front-loading your week in this way will allow you to knock off high-impact tasks first and have a relaxed workflow the rest of the week.

However, starting with a massive unrealistic to-do list will only make you more unproductive. The best way to make this happen is to make a weekly to-do list at the week's start.

  • Set realistic weekly goals and spend some time daily as well to micromanage and allocate daily tasks.

  • Start with critical and high-impact tasks during the day start, this will help you do all the heavy lifting when you are fresh and energetic.

  • Set hourly deadlines or milestones to keep a check on task progress.

There are various personal productivity tools available that will help you achieve greater productivity in less time by working smartly.


2. Stop Multitasking

Stop multitasking, period.

Ok, we know that multitasking is a valuable skill and it helps you take care of different tasks at the same time. But really, it is a myth - a misconception that has been ruining the productivity of employees for decades.

Like a computer, there is a limit on our brain to multitask. The brainpower is wasted in switching between different tasks and not focusing on one. It does not only delay the work but the quality of work is also affected. This also makes you feel tired after only a few hours of work.

For a change, start focusing on a single task at a time, to conserve your brain energy for the next tasks to come. This will help you complete more tasks in less time with ample energy left for your family time.


3. Automate Your Tasks

The blessing of automating your repetitive and routine tasks will only be known when you try it for real. People using computers for their daily jobs know how cluttered the apps and browser tabs can get during the daily routine. Automating your daily repetitive tasks will help you achieve greater productivity and have less clutter.

Technology has helped us a lot in automating various tasks in different industries to achieve agility. For instance, Windows 11 has taken the concept of automation up a notch and has introduced profile management, smart layouts, smart browser, and application support.

These automation tools help users who wear different hats at different hours of the day to switch between their optimal coding, gaming, writing, and other layouts swiftly. It gives you the ability to scale your productivity in a hybrid work environment by automating different projects’ redundant tasks.


4. Communicate

Comunicate, comunicate and comunicate.

We cannot stress enough the importance of having good communication between team members and inter-departments. Communication has always remained a central pillar in a successful work environment, but in hybrid work models, it is more than important to keep in touch with your fellow colleagues to have a better grasp on the task at hand.

Not having clarity on a project, not sure what to do, having some other concerns or questions? Communicate with your team members and manager. Don't be afraid to ask questions, because at the end of the day it's your job on the line. Communication helps you eliminate all the misunderstandings and unnecessary tasks that save a lot of time.


5. Take Breaks - Stay focused

According to research, our brain can only last for about 90 minutes at optimal levels before losing steam.

In order for us to have more productivity and keep our brain functioning at peak efficiency, we need to have short intervals of breaks to blow off the steam. Resuming work after a break allows us to start with a fresh mindset and creativity. Especially in the hybrid work environment, where we don't have colleagues sitting beside us to remind us of breaks. It is very important to take breaks and stay focused.

This regime of setting your daily tasks and deadlines, combined with short breaks after 90 minutes will help you remain focused on your job while in a remote environment. Having a focus on your dream destination should always be on your mind, to keep you on the right trail.


Hybrid Work and Its Potential Internationally

It is clear that the hybrid work model is the inevitable future. As it has allowed organizations to successfully scale their operations without having to worry about expanding limited infrastructure. Plus, access to top talent from around the world has also opened a lot of opportunities for businesses. It allows a mass level of cultural and intellectual knowledge transfer as well.

The acceptance of the hybrid work model still faces resistance from some organizations. However, the diverse benefits of having a remote or hybrid workforce outweigh the orthodox views.

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