What Is Hybrid Working? Hybrid Working In A Nutshell

Hybrid working is a flexible working model not dissimilar to teleworking or remote working. The practice allows employees to combine working from home with working in an office or other workplace.  Hybrid working is a location-flexible work schedule where employees combine working from one with working in an office or other place of employment.

Understanding hybrid working

Hybrid working became more popular in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as companies scrambled to limit exposure to the virus. However, this form of working will continue and become more diverse even after the worst effects of the pandemic have subsided. 

Corporations such as Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft are rewriting the rule book on the future of work. Hybrid working, they contend, allows for versatile working styles, configurations, and needs. What’s more, fixed workspaces will be substituted with mobile, more collaborative spaces as pandemic protocols remain in place. Density limits and physical distancing, for example, are making traditional workplaces untenable for businesses as twice the amount of space is now required for the same number of employees. 

Hybrid working models 

As the hybrid working model diversifies, four general models have emerged:

At-will model

Where the employee chooses on or off-site working according to whatever suits them at the time. For instance, an employee may choose to come into the office to meet an important client or to find a spot to work in peace away from the demands of home.

Shift work model

In the shift work model, employees work in shifts where they alternate between working from home and working morning or evening shifts in the traditional place of work. The shift work model tends to be less popular among employees for obvious reasons.

Split-week model

Perhaps the most common hybrid work model is the split-week approach. Here, an employee spends two or three days of the workweek at home and two or three days onsite. Which days the employee spends where usually depends on the department they work in. For example, the sales team may use the office on Monday and Thursday with marketing taking Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. This is not a perfect solution, but it does allow all employees to touch base or meet with their teams and have face-to-face interaction with colleagues and superiors.

Week-by-week model

This model is similar to the split-week model except employees from various departments alternate between onsite and offsite work every week. This approach is used by companies with larger teams who all need to be in one space at the same time.

Limitations of hybrid working

Despite the obvious practicalities of the hybrid working model, inevitably it will be unsuitable for a percentage of employees.

Some report that having to maintain two workplaces is problematic. The practice is tedious and time-consuming and there is potential for employees to leave important items at one workplace while they transition to the other.

The constant change of workplace setting is also emotionally draining for some workers. They report not ever feeling settled, which causes an increase in stress levels and a decrease in productivity. 

According to the employee engagement platform TINYpulse, over 80% of leaders reported that their employees were exhausted from hybrid work. This view was echoed by the workers themselves, who noted rather alarmingly that hybrid work was more emotionally draining than full-time work in an office.

Key takeaways:

  • Hybrid working is a location-flexible work schedule where employees combine working from one with working in an office or other place of employment.
  • Hybrid working models include the at-will model, shift work model, split-week model, and week-by-week model.
  • Hybrid working is a practical approach, but like many broad initiatives, will not be suitable for every employee. Having to maintain two workspaces and be forced to constantly shift between them, some reported, was more emotionally draining than working full time in an office.

Key Points about Hybrid Working:

  • Definition and Flexibility:
    • Hybrid working is a flexible work model that combines remote work (usually from home) with on-site work in an office or other workplace.
    • Allows employees to balance their work location based on their needs and tasks.
  • Rise and Diversity:
    • Gained prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic as a response to health and safety concerns.
    • Will continue evolving even after the pandemic, with companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft endorsing its benefits.
  • Hybrid Working Models:
    • At-will Model: Employees choose remote or on-site work based on their preferences or tasks, offering flexibility and variety.
    • Shift Work Model: Employees alternate between remote and on-site shifts, less popular due to potential drawbacks.
    • Split-Week Model: Common approach with 2-3 days at home and 2-3 days on-site, allowing team interactions and flexibility.
    • Week-by-Week Model: Employees alternate between remote and on-site weeks, useful for larger teams needing simultaneous collaboration.
  • Limitations and Challenges:
    • Dual Workspace Maintenance: Maintaining two workspaces can be cumbersome and time-consuming.
    • Emotional Impact: Frequent changes in work settings can lead to stress and reduced productivity for some employees.
    • Exhaustion: Reports suggest that hybrid work can be emotionally draining, impacting well-being and engagement.

Connected Decision-Making Frameworks

Cynefin Framework

The Cynefin Framework gives context to decision making and problem-solving by providing context and guiding an appropriate response. The five domains of the Cynefin Framework comprise obvious, complicated, complex, chaotic domains and disorder if a domain has not been determined at all.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis is a framework used for evaluating the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It can aid in identifying the problematic areas of your business so that you can maximize your opportunities. It will also alert you to the challenges your organization might face in the future.

Personal SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis is commonly used as a strategic planning tool in business. However, it is also well suited for personal use in addressing a specific goal or problem. A personal SWOT analysis helps individuals identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Pareto Analysis

The Pareto Analysis is a statistical analysis used in business decision making that identifies a certain number of input factors that have the greatest impact on income. It is based on the similarly named Pareto Principle, which states that 80% of the effect of something can be attributed to just 20% of the drivers.

Failure Mode And Effects Analysis

A failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a structured approach to identifying design failures in a product or process. Developed in the 1950s, the failure mode and effects analysis is one the earliest methodologies of its kind. It enables organizations to anticipate a range of potential failures during the design stage.

Blindspot Analysis

A Blindspot Analysis is a means of unearthing incorrect or outdated assumptions that can harm decision making in an organization. The term “blindspot analysis” was first coined by American economist Michael Porter. Porter argued that in business, outdated ideas or strategies had the potential to stifle modern ideas and prevent them from succeeding. Furthermore, decisions a business thought were made with care caused projects to fail because major factors had not been duly considered.

Comparable Company Analysis

A comparable company analysis is a process that enables the identification of similar organizations to be used as a comparison to understand the business and financial performance of the target company. To find comparables you can look at two key profiles: the business and financial profile. From the comparable company analysis it is possible to understand the competitive landscape of the target organization.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

A cost-benefit analysis is a process a business can use to analyze decisions according to the costs associated with making that decision. For a cost analysis to be effective it’s important to articulate the project in the simplest terms possible, identify the costs, determine the benefits of project implementation, assess the alternatives.

Agile Business Analysis

Agile Business Analysis (AgileBA) is certification in the form of guidance and training for business analysts seeking to work in agile environments. To support this shift, AgileBA also helps the business analyst relate Agile projects to a wider organizational mission or strategy. To ensure that analysts have the necessary skills and expertise, AgileBA certification was developed.

SOAR Analysis

A SOAR analysis is a technique that helps businesses at a strategic planning level to: Focus on what they are doing right. Determine which skills could be enhanced. Understand the desires and motivations of their stakeholders.

STEEPLE Analysis

The STEEPLE analysis is a variation of the STEEP analysis. Where the step analysis comprises socio-cultural, technological, economic, environmental/ecological, and political factors as the base of the analysis. The STEEPLE analysis adds other two factors such as Legal and Ethical.

Pestel Analysis

The PESTEL analysis is a framework that can help marketers assess whether macro-economic factors are affecting an organization. This is a critical step that helps organizations identify potential threats and weaknesses that can be used in other frameworks such as SWOT or to gain a broader and better understanding of the overall marketing environment.

DESTEP Analysis

A DESTEP analysis is a framework used by businesses to understand their external environment and the issues which may impact them. The DESTEP analysis is an extension of the popular PEST analysis created by Harvard Business School professor Francis J. Aguilar. The DESTEP analysis groups external factors into six categories: demographic, economic, socio-cultural, technological, ecological, and political.

Paired Comparison Analysis

A paired comparison analysis is used to rate or rank options where evaluation criteria are subjective by nature. The analysis is particularly useful when there is a lack of clear priorities or objective data to base decisions on. A paired comparison analysis evaluates a range of options by comparing them against each other.

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