The change was abrupt. With the onset of Covid-19 in 2020, companies were ill-prepared to adapt quickly to the new world landscape. Cities were locked down, offices were closed, and businesses ground to an unceremonious halt. It took time, but the world slowly moved again. By making this possible, we have learned much through trial and error, and these new lessons will shape our workplace for years to come.
To survive, businesses had to pivot towards workforce and workplace changes, policy changes, and how to alter the perception of human work. The need for change brought mobility and technology to the forefront of business practice. Consideration of the employees’ health, safety, and well-being have also been highlighted in importance. Hybrid working is the compromised handshake deal between employers and employees.
Hybrid working has already existed before the pandemic. Before, it was reserved mostly for the sales team that had to work in the field. Now, hybrid working is here for all of us. Hybrid working means working remotely and being present at the office for certain days in the workweek. In the past year, we have seen the possibility of working remotely, but not everyone is thrilled with this work arrangement. One in four people has said that they would rather quit than go back to work full-time. On the other hand, in a recent survey, almost 50% of the workers would like to go back to the office if given a choice.
To keep a happy balance, businesses have adopted the hybrid work model, where you come to the office for two or three days and work remotely for the rest.
Impact on Big Businesses
Big businesses have already adapted to this hybrid-working model. But employees are demanding more from their employers than just allowing a flexible schedule. Employees are now conscious of societal and environmental needs. The pandemic has brought about their demand on physical and mental health. With the changing times, employees see a need for their employers to adapt. If big businesses want their employees back at the office, they must address these issues that employees are clamoring for.
Businesses must actively take part in health and safety. Turbulent times have also showcased societal and environmental issues. So alignment of personal and corporate value importance is also a part of what the employees are looking for. In terms of business operations in a hybrid-working environment, teamwork, employee monitoring, and working hours will see a paradigm shift.
Working remotely can be detrimental to a department’s teamwork. Establishing a virtual culture will come in handy in balancing the teamwork goals of your department. Employee monitoring must be replaced with performance monitoring. For remote working to be successful, trust is the key. Businesses have installed technology to track and monitor an employee during work hours. This in and itself presents detrimental issues on privacy and safety. Shifting to results-based monitoring of key performance indicators and metric goals should take precedence.
As you shift measuring employee monitoring to a results-based performance, the need for a strict nine-to-five schedule is no longer needed. Each person has a different working rhythm. With less restriction comes better performance. Big businesses have a lot to consider while managing a hybrid-work model.
Impact on SMEs and Freelancers
As hybrid working comes to big businesses, Small and Medium Enterprises or SMEs and Freelancers will feel an impact of change. SMEs relying on the success of big businesses in their area will see an uptake on-demand as well. As workers go back to the office, SMEs such as restaurants and coffee shops will see an increase in pick-up or take-out orders and will not have to rely solely on deliveries.
SMEs can also adopt the hybrid-working model. While big businesses shift to hybrid working, demand for freelance employees will also rise as a stopgap for acquiring more talent. Employees of SMEs and freelancers also see the need to see people in real life. The hybrid model would also prove more efficient for some.
Solely working from home presents challenges as well. Sometimes working from home can be too distracting to be productive. Workers also need other human interactions. It would also be nice seeing your co-workers once in a while. Before the pandemic, most freelancers would visit coffee shops to get their work done. Small enterprises like selling food online have also become popular.
To return to a sense of normalcy and an escape from home, you could look into shared kitchens or start a coworking office space business in your area to adapt your work to a hybrid-working model as well. Use the shared kitchen to stockpile inventory for your online store. Reserve a meeting for your freelance marketing and design team in a shared office space.
Hybrid working is a compromise, which by definition leaves both parties wanting more. Higher-ups in big businesses want to see all their employees back at the office while some employees prefer to work remotely. It has pros and cons but what is important is how you see yourself adapting to this new normal. Make sure to keep your choices aligned with what is important to you.