Hybrid work: New normal at workplace
Ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, the world of work has been broken down into two realities: pre-pandemic and post-pandemic.
Ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, the world of work has been broken down into two realities: pre-pandemic and post-pandemic. While the post-pandemic world of work has been characterized by challenges and limited resources, opportunities have flowed in abundance. The pandemic may have compelled work-from-home policy but today, employees and organisations are embracing it with open arms. Even with the attempts of reinstating normalcy, organisations are exiting from traditional work models to implement a hybrid work policy.
Business enterprises in the attempt of luring the employees back to the office have had to come up with a myriad of different options and hybrid model tops the list. Hybrid work models offer a win-win to both employees and organisations in terms of greater flexibility, work-life balance and improved work efficiency and productivity. According to a recent report, 61 per cent of employees credited hybrid work for improving their work quality and another 60 per cent for raising productivity.
The unparalleled flexibility this model provides to employees is beneficial to both employees and employers. For instance, hybrid employees enjoy the extra time on their hands to enhance employability skills or pursue passions. Similarly, employers get to retain a wide range of talent who would otherwise be unavailable due to their personal commitments and constraints. The mix of a physical office and a virtual work model restores normalcy and is accepted worldwide.
As part of the hybrid work model, companies are eyeing sustainability and profitability factors. Lesser operational costs for running the business are a definite benefit to the organization that makes long-term growth more positive with reduced physical footprints. This opens more avenues for CFOs to rethink the company's finances, overseeing a variety of expenses and thinking out of the box.
Apart from this, the hybrid work model transcends geographical barriers and provides organisations with opportunities to expand exponentially. By optimising office costs, companies are exploring financial viability to access a larger talent pool from outside their region. For instance, job listings are increasingly offering remote and hybrid work options to tap into a better workforce positioned across the globe.
When it comes to tapping the untapped talent pool, organisations are also changing their geographical footprints by shifting their focus to tier 2 and 3 cities. In a way, the adoption of newer work models including on-demand / gig workers and freelancers from remote locations has also become an integral part of the mainstream workforce.
Furthermore, the hybrid work model promotes gender equality in the workplace – ensuring opportunities for all. Women who have always taken a front seat in providing care to the family are finding it more convenient to join the workforce and catch up with the corporate world. Leveraging technology, organisations have now become familiar with a 'mix of employees' working on the cloud who were earlier tagged as 'male' and 'female' employees. In a recent survey, it was also found that twice as many female employees prefer the hybrid work as compared to male employees, proving to be a great model for promoting gender equality.
Introducing hybrid work model in an organisation can be a blessing or a curse depending upon its implementation. Since employees feel safer and have much less anxiety due to a better balance between their personal and professional lives, an obvious increase in productivity can be seen. As physical constraints such as location and timings are also not in the picture of the model, the employees can be at their productive most.
However, any change in the work structure can impact the overall productivity of a firm. Organisations might face difficulty in managing and keeping up with the hybrid schedules of employees. In addition, it could also cause faster burnout among employees as they try overcompensating the personal time taken. Alongside this, it also requires a lot more attention to the technology requirements of the employees and setting up a digital infrastructure for an uninterrupted workflow. But the gains from hybrid work far outweigh its losses and these challenges are nothing a committed organisation cannot overcome.
Despite the world finally going back to normal, organisations and employees are continuing to prefer the hybrid work model. According to the stats, more than 70 per cent of employees prefer hybrid work. The idea of a completely remote to a combination of a remote and onsite work model is redefining the structure of organisations. As a result, these organisations record lower attrition rates and produce a happier and more productive workforce.
(The author is Co-Founder and Business Head, Bridgentech)