The Pros and Cons of Hybrid and Remote Work
Early 2020 predictions suspected that a quick recovery from the pandemic is a myth. Two years later, employees and employers still carry the scars of a fierce ongoing battle. Some predictions claim that we may never be able to resume our “normal” working habits, at least not en masse.
Although the future of business has already changed its course dramatically, our job at adapting must be better than what we imagined before. Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change, says one Stephen Hawking. We believe we have the intelligence to pull through this without completely rearranging our lives.
The epidemic brought a few paradoxes: we use social restrictions to contain the virus, but those restrictions prevent us from getting back our old working habits. We have too much going on right now. Let us start by stating the obvious.
Our return to the office is anything but ordinary
Are we going back to normal?
Remote work has become the norm during 2020, and any return to office will inevitably pass through a hybrid state. But how do people experience when their life and work become indistinguishable. We noticed a few tendencies, which are hard to believe but seem to follow some solid logic.
Experts were torn between outcomes favoring a quick recovery or a gloomy, turmoil-ridden future during the early pandemic days. A few years following the initial impact of the virus on the world economy, we still find ourselves wondering whether we are on a path to normalize or adapt to this new variable.
Back-to-office dates follow the uncertainty in the fluctuating pandemic, and we seek alternatives that guarantee stability and business continuation. Business owners attempt to schedule a return, in some cases multiple times, only to be shaken by the unpredictability of the next wave.
Some sources claim that the number of remote workers since 2005 is about 50%. The effects of the pandemic boost this tendency. Our new normal seems to include a remote team. The sooner we learn how to manage and live by it, the better.
Solutions from home
Many employees prefer to take a home test or make a video appointment with their doctor than risk walking outside the front door. Surprisingly, getting a quality service without leaving home is possible and sought out by many, more than expected. We created a specialized app for some of those people that seamlessly connects medical practitioners and clients around the globe and removes the need for patients to travel to get an expert medical opinion.
Some video-focused software applications – like Zoom –put effort into improving the quality of their remote communication features. For example, Microsoft plans to use AI-powered facial expression tracking. The complex software promises to reveal, among other things, whether listeners agree with the speaker.
Remote work salaries evening out
A new tendency comes to light: remote workers, who used to be office workers, now join the swarm of great specialists already hailing from all over the globe. The need for remote work is ubiquitous. Although payment rarely matches living standards or the conditions for remote experts, these two variables should even out in time. In other words, you will no longer be on the ropes because most of your peers can produce similar output for a quarter of the price.
Location-induced lower pay may not be ideal for either workers or employees. Therefore, some talent market analysts predict that if workers are unsatisfied with the low income, they will start looking for a new job.
The Upsides of Remote and Hybrid Work Style
Although some CEOs still prefer to have their team ‘at a hand’s reach,’ remote work does shine with apparent benefits. Some of these benefits scale up with the company’s size, and we will immediately see why.
More room in the office
When you outsource your teams, you can either shut down your office building project or, if you decide to keep it – make it more comfortable for those who prefer to stay there. All the office employees can now use the extra space there and use the quieter environment to concentrate better or be less distracted. This move is especially beneficial to the introverted employees who will use the open space to better voice their opinions and strengthen their team communication skills. In general, we know that working sessions are much better when fewer elements disturb them.
Our practical experience shows that the remote office conditions only allow us to fix whatever failed before.
Time management flexibility
Home office sounds like you constantly need to categorize your personal life and work. However, you also have all the otherwise lost time for travel at your disposal. And unless you usually bike or walk to work, your home office reveals more opportunities to fine-tune your ideal work pace and accurately follow it for optimal performance.
Some remote specialists like software developers and engineers, even senior specialists, outperform when they reside in their own customized workplace settings.
Remote work is an excellent solution for discovering skilled experts in talent-depleted areas or industries. Remote teamwork has opened incredible possibilities for diverse professionals who seek to grasp good opportunities. As an employer, your chances to get the right team increase with outsourcing. Experts and employers can easily match their requirements using online pools of data. Further negotiations connect people from all countries and cultures, and this diversity is highly beneficial to businesses like law, retail, eCommerce, and many more.
Hybrid work is beneficial to businesses that do not necessarily rely on face-to-face interactions. For example, some international law firms prosper using the latest tech in remote communication. Legal representatives find it convenient to consult and discuss legal matters remotely. By doing so, they cover and coordinate an operation with massive proportions, from countries to continents.
Without the connectivity boost that remote work gives us, some daring projects requiring the combined effect of multi-layered specialists would simply be impossible.
Cost and health benefits
There are quite a few live examples that home-office employees sleep better, eat healthier, and have better output. Companies who mastered hybrid and remote teams also highlight their work method as an achievement in contributing to a reduced carbon footprint.
With employees working from home, business owners are free from the burden of office rent and other hardware- or crew-related bills that come with an in-house team. And what is more – the bigger the company and the number of employees – the better the positive effect.
In mid-2021, Shopify’s CEO shared that switching to remote work is a certainty and later confirmed this move saved his company about a third of their overall emissions.
Sustainability has always been a substantial factor in conducting business and a showcase for supreme levels of innovation.
Not every business emphasizes their involvement with the sustenance of the environment they use. However, those that do, make an impact - employees are more loyal to brands with green-oriented policies. Companies that put extra efforts into reducing the environmental impact are also attractive employers. Sustainability is an inevitable part of our progress and a sign of intelligent innovation. Such benign core strategies influence great minds who seek to become a part of a wonderful team.
Many companies have already exemplified how hybrid and remote work is also about energy conservation. Adobe has allowed half its employees to work from home. As a result, about 12,000 fewer people are stuck in traffic every day! Adobe is not an exceptional example of this trend - Apple has already pledged that certain positions within the company are now remote by default.
And it is not just these two companies. Everyone who works remotely is contributing to a cleaner environment. In the USA, for example, some disturbing reports from 2017 claim that about 90% of people drive to work, and most of them drive alone. If this structure were part of a programming code, this would be the version delivered by the wacky intern who just got their first assignment and failed at it. Not all of us ride busses, and picking random hitch-hikers can be risky. Some of us could optimize how we work and live, and hybrid and remote work presents us with the opportunity to get green.
Some experts claim that remote work saving our planet may be an overstatement. For example, a hybrid work style engages both offices and homes, requiring multiple powering locations instead of one in either office or the home office as standalone options.
There are other downsides to hybrid work – let us look.
The Downsides of Remote and Hybrid Work
All-in-one is never an option
We must acknowledge that remote jobs are not beneficial to everyone. For example, medical nurses or dentists need to do most of their work in person. On the other hand, we notice that every industry has room for remote work. Some industries base their success on remote workers.
Incompatibility with work requirements and standards
Some CEOs rightfully complain that when their team assemble remotely and have unique schedules, it is hard to do productive brainstorming or synergize the team around a common task. One of the downsides of remote work is the apparent loss of the benign effects of face-to-face communication. Some leaders use their strong presence to motivate and lead discussions.
Suppose one of your primary business strategy pillars revolves around clients’ personal approach. In that case, your challenge is great, and it began early, during the initial effects of the pandemic (like social isolation). Now that our team members are not in the same room, we best dissect our team communications and see if they exist in an alternative setting.
The hybrid model may entail a constant switch between home and the office. This break in the pattern can be disturbing. Some people’s concentration depends on what they describe as going along a certain rhythm. Your office may not be your ‘second home,’ and, alternatively, your home may not be your ‘second-best office.’ A hybrid work approach model may not benefit employees whose cyclic approach to life dramatically affects their work.
Besides breaking the average working pace, hybrid requires extra planning. Remote workers must carefully schedule their ‘office’ and ‘home’ days. A hybrid schedule is also taxing for managers – they need to put extra effort and synchronize floating schedules or babysit team members affected by the negative side-effects of remote and hybrid work.
The Hybrid approach is for the flexible mind
Hybrid may not suit those who prefer to shut down their brains when they punch out at the end of the day. For the rest – this might be a blessing. The best employees constantly revalue and re-shape a business-related idea, whether they are on the clock or not.
Whether hybrid work models are best for your project depends primarily on two factors: 1) your team members and 2) the nature of their contribution to the project. If you are a manager who decides whether a position is remote-friendly, you also need to consider if this transition fits the psychological profile of the expert. Hybrid work can bring chaos to some people’s ‘personal order.’ Therefore, when we approve a hybrid position, we must consider both the job description and the personal abilities of the expert assigned to do it. Can they adapt their work style to this unique tempo? Knowing this information in advance can save HRs many profile incompatibility issues. As a result, hybrid work will favor those who can cope with it.
What changes are coming in our workplace?
Since both employers and employees choose remote work as a core practice, both job-givers and job-seekers have one main factor discussed at the gates: remote or in-house. Most companies on LinkedIn label their job opportunities as either ‘on-site,’ ‘remote,’ or ‘hybrid.’
Some experts claim that leaders who best adapt their business model to hybrid and remote work are those who have experienced it before. Although not everyone is tailored to run businesses without being physically present, there is hardly a sector outside remote or hybrid work scope.
The changing working environment has equally affected vendors and clients. The client relations culture is influenced by the conditions that made us seek alternative work approaches.
The harsh consequences of the pandemic combined with new work styles resonated deep within every infrastructure globally. As a result, demand remains unchanged. We must change our methods to meet it.
Challenges drive progress forward, and managing your company using outsourced assets is just another challenge. Does hybrid lead to better business and personal well-being? How about the balance between these two? We know that work-life balance is a form of utopia. We can never draw a clear line and separate our life from our work. However, if hybrid models have a place in our future, we better gear up and test-proof this strategy now.