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.

Connected Frameworks

Andy Grove, helped Intel become among the most valuable companies by 1997. In his years at Intel, he conceived a management and goal-setting system, called OKR, standing for “objectives and key results.” Venture capitalist and early investor in Google, John Doerr, systematized in the book “Measure What Matters.”
First proposed by accounting academic Robert Kaplan, the balanced scorecard is a management system that allows an organization to focus on big-picture strategic goals. The four perspectives of the balanced scorecard include financial, customer, business process, and organizational capacity. From there, according to the balanced scorecard, it’s possible to have a holistic view of the business.
The theory was developed by psychologist Edwin Locke who also has a background in motivation and leadership research. Locke’s goal-setting theory of motivation provides a framework for setting effective and motivating goals. Locke was able to demonstrate that goal setting was linked to performance.
A SMART goal is any goal with a carefully planned, concise, and trackable objective. To be such a goal needs to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Bringing structure and trackability to goal setting increases the chances goals will be achieved, and it helps align the organization around those goals.
Businesses use backcasting to plan for a desired future by determining the steps required to achieve that future. Backcasting is the opposite of forecasting, where a business sets future goals and works toward them by maintaining the status quo.
Moonshot thinking is an approach to innovation, and it can be applied to business or any other discipline where you target at least 10X goals. That shifts the mindset, and it empowers a team of people to look for unconventional solutions, thus starting from first principles, by leveraging on fast-paced experimentation.

Related Strategy Concepts: Go-To-Market StrategyMarketing StrategyBusiness ModelsTech Business ModelsJobs-To-Be DoneDesign ThinkingLean Startup CanvasValue ChainValue Proposition CanvasBalanced ScorecardBusiness Model CanvasSWOT AnalysisGrowth HackingBundlingUnbundlingBootstrappingVenture CapitalPorter’s Five ForcesPorter’s Generic StrategiesPorter’s Five ForcesPESTEL AnalysisSWOTPorter’s Diamond ModelAnsoffTechnology Adoption CurveTOWSSOARBalanced ScorecardOKRAgile MethodologyValue PropositionVTDF FrameworkBCG MatrixGE McKinsey MatrixKotter’s 8-Step Change Model.

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