Out of the many unforeseen offshoots of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the establishment of the largest real-life remote working experiment in history. The effect of the forced remote working during the pandemic, is that organizations across the world have had to reconsider how they operate and are settling on a more-or-less permanent shift to a hybrid model of working.
While the remote working during the pandemic came out of necessity, the desire to continue with some portion of remote working does not. This is because the above-mentioned experiment was largely a success. With remote working, productivity didn’t decrease; on the contrary, there actually were and are many benefits. In this post we’ll discuss some of the many benefits of hybrid working those that benefit the organization, the individual and even society in general.
Benefits to the Individuals
Those allowed to partake in hybrid working arrangements report feeling as though they have more freedom and autonomy over where and how they work. This allows employees to feel more in control of their time and corresponds to an overall greater work wellbeing. An often-overlooked factor with in-office working is that although the workday may be from 9 AM to 5 PM – when a commute is factored in, employees’ days may start and finish significantly later than those times. The implications of this simple fact are actually quite far reaching. It allows individuals to be better rested and incorporate more time for physical and mental wellbeing. Essentially – it helps better achieve the oft mentioned ‘work-life balance’ more easily. It has financial benefits for the individual as well.
In the old model of working, people could spend significant amounts of money commuting to and from work each day; not needing to do this as much, leads to an effective increase in individuals’ income. The last way in which hybrid working models benefit individuals is by giving them increased opportunities. In the past geographical constraints would have often been a determining factor in where someone was willing and able to work. Hybrid working has loosened the constraints surrounding geographical mobility, allowing knowledge workers to work for organizations based in a much wider range of locations.
Benefits to the Organization
One of the most stubborn misconceptions surrounding hybrid working is that while individuals stand to gain massively from these new ways of operating, the benefits to organizations themselves are far less clear. This is not the case. Moving into a new world of work, hybrid working is likely to offer a significant competitive advantage to those organizations that can make it work.
To start, one benefit to the organization is reduced real estate costs. Simply put, companies that don’t need to maintain a desk for every single one of their employees, every day can save huge amounts of money by reducing the size of their offices. Real estate costs can amount to colossal overheads for organizations – less space means less rent.
Secondly, organizations are highly likely to benefit from the better mental well-being that hybrid working provides employees (as mentioned above). It may sound obvious, but it has been verified that workers that are happy and have well balanced lives are far more likely to be productive.
Another unfounded belief held by organizations is that remote working decreases employee retention. The logic is those who work mostly remote won’t form strong bonds with their colleagues or their company and will be easily lured away if the opportunity presents itself. In fact, what’s being observed is the opposite. The companies that refuse to offer flexible, hybrid working arrangements are losing companies that will. Thus, it may be fair say that, in addition to better employee retention, hybrid working can also improve ability to attract top talent.
Benefits to the Society
The last potential benefit of a hybrid working model is one you may not thought of – the benefit to society at large. Firstly, there is an environmental benefit that comes from hybrid working – this benefit is two-fold. As mentioned previously, with hybrid working there is less need for massive office space. Commercial offices consume huge amounts of energy and contribute to pollution. Additionally, commuting to and from work, whether it be via trains, cars or busses, greatly contributes to carbon emissions; cutting out a large percentage of this could hugely decrease the corporate carbon footprint worldwide.
Aside from environmental benefits, there is something to be said for the positive impact of a healthier and happier populace. It follows that if individuals are happier and healthier due to hybrid working, then the society to which they belong is also likely to be happier and healthier. The benefits of hybrid working might begin with the employee but will doubtless spread out to their families and friends.