The Hybrid Work Environment
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to re-think the work environment, and more Americans are working remotely than ever before.
More than a year into the pandemic, the shift from regular, 9-to-5 office work to more flexible schedules seems like it may be permanent. Some companies can work entirely remote, but not all can. Many companies still require full-time employees to be in the office, like in the old days.
And that’s where the hybrid work environment comes in.
The hybrid workplace is a compromise between the traditional work setting and the more modern remote workplace. Every company has its own slant on hybrid work, but it essentially means establishing a workplace that’s flexible enough to accommodate both onsite and off-site employees.
Given the precarious nature of the pandemic, hybrid workplaces enable companies to be nimble enough to respond to spikes in COVID-19 cases, illnesses, and other challenges. Many experts agree the hybrid model is the future of work.
Empire Resume will delve into the hybrid work environment and explain what it usually entails, the benefits and drawbacks, and what you can expect.
What Hybrid Workplaces are Like
Remote work and hybrid workplaces pre-date the pandemic, but the pandemic has significantly accelerated the trend. According to Owl Labs, about 62% of American workers now work from home at least once per month, and more than half of all global companies allow some form of remote work.
The hybrid work environment entails employees who work from both at home and in the office. Some workers may be required to work full-time onsite, while others can work completely remote. Other employees split time between in the office and at home, and some can choose their schedule.
Hybrid work, obviously, is very reliant on new technology. Some resources that have allowed employees to take advantage of hybrid work include video conferencing apps like Zoom, messaging apps like Slack, and cloud-based services for documents and shared folders like Google Suite.
The transition to hybrid work during the pandemic has been surprisingly smooth for many companies, and that may be the case because Millennials (ages 25-37) make up the largest portion of today’s American workforce.
Millennials and their younger counterparts (Generation Z) are digital natives and embrace the use of technology. In addition, older Millennials are now quickly becoming managers and leaders of many companies, contributing to a shift in new workplace cultures and management styles.
Benefits of Hybrid Work
Companies are transitioning to hybrid work due to the pandemic, but many are embracing the change because of the many benefits.
Employees clamoring for more work-life balance are demanding hybrid and remote work in some instances, too. Almost half of U.S. workers (47%) recently surveyed by SHRM said they’d likely look for a new job if their current employer doesn’t adopt a flexible work model.
Proponents of hybrid work say the model has significant benefits for both employees and companies. These benefits include:
- Better work-life balance. Finding balance is easier for employees in remote and hybrid workplaces. Employees have more control over their schedules and can take care of personal things more easily, such as childcare, errands, grocery shopping, etc.
- Reduced COVID-19 exposure. Fewer people in the office means fewer employees exposed to coronavirus or other illnesses. If an employee is infected, a hybrid or remote work model means they can easily stay and work from home to not risk infecting others.
- Savings on real estate expenses. For companies, this is a primary benefit. With fewer workers onsite, firms can re-think their real estate investments and holdings and save money. A study by McKinsey suggests companies can lower real estate costs by as much as 30% with a hybrid model.
- Hire workers from wherever. With a hybrid or remote model, companies can employ workers from around the globe. With access to a broader talent pool, this gives some companies a competitive edge.
- A lower environmental footprint. Less need for office space lowers companies’ environmental footprint. Hybrid and remote work also reduce employees’ commuting to and from work, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.
Drawbacks of Hybrid Work
Hybrid workplaces also come with some challenges workers and companies should be aware of. Remote work gives employees more flexibility and work-life balance, but an unintended side effect is a potential for burnout.
About 45% of American workers recently said they’re working longer hours because they’re remote. 70% of employees surveyed also said they’re working a bit on weekends now, too.
Hybrid and remote work have created for some companies an overloaded work culture. With workers out of sight, managers may tend to micromanage or hold more meetings outlining responsibilities. In addition, as the surveys show, workers may have to be available outside of regular working hours.
Other drawbacks of hybrid work include:
- Harder to make connections. Technology like Zoom and Slack makes communication easy for remote employees, but it’s not quite the same as being in the office. Remote and hybrid teams still bond online, but the chances of closer working relationships are more difficult.
- A disconnect between remote and in–house workers. Companies may give preference to in-house workers, creating a divide between remote employees and those in the office. Surveys have found that senior managers provide more promotions and raises to in-house employees because they feel they’re better performers, even if that’s not the case.
How Common is the Hybrid Work Model Today?
The days of full-time, in-house work may be over, according to several labor and employment experts. The past two years have upended the traditional workplace environment. But how common is the hybrid and remote work model today?
A new PwC report suggests splitting time between the office and working at home will become the new normal, even after the pandemic ends. And many recent statistics support that claim.
A recent Accenture report found that 63% of high-revenue growth companies have embraced hybrid work models. The same report said that 69% of negative or no-growth companies have rejected the hybrid model. Eighty-three percent of employees surveyed said they prefer hybrid work.
Accenture’s report suggests that companies that move to the hybrid model will gain a competitive edge by more easily attracting talented workers. And given the recent “Great Resignation” of American employees (as some are calling it), that’ll probably be the case.
About 1 in 3 workers are considering quitting their jobs where their companies are not embracing the hybrid work models, according to a survey by MagnifyMoney, and 60% of U.S. workers are reconsidering their careers. The U.S. Department of Labor says about 3.6 million workers quit their jobs in May alone, and there’s a record number of job openings available (9.2 million in May).
American knowledge workers have more leverage in their career decisions than ever, forcing the hand of many companies to offer better pay and better benefits. And one of those benefits is more remote and hybrid work.
How to be Successful in Hybrid Work
The chances you can find a job with remote or hybrid work are greater than ever. And with so many unfilled positions, workers have the leverage to negotiate for benefits such as more flexible schedules.
Once you get a job with hybrid work, though, there are certain things to keep in mind to make the arrangement a success.
Many of the skills needed to succeed at hybrid work are the same as with any job. But working remotely versus in the office will require some tweaking. The first step is to find a company that fully embraces the hybrid model.
Other tips to succeed at hybrid work are:
- Be patient. Hybrid work is new for many companies and workers, and they’re still navigating the process. Managers may insist on more meetings than usual and may tend to micromanage. An attitude of patience, flexibility, and open-mindedness are necessary for success while everyone gets used to the new arrangement.
- Set good boundaries. Workers may feel like they need to overcompensate when working remotely to prove their performing well. That means logging on early and logging off late. The problem is this can quickly lead to burnout. Set clear boundaries of when you’re available to avoid this. Also, keep track of your accomplishments, so managers don’t think you’re slacking.
- Be ready for tech issues. Working remotely means you need to familiarize yourself a bit more with basic tech knowledge. You don’t have to become your own IT team, but you should know the basics to work and communicate effectively with co-workers.
What Does the Future Hold for Hybrid Work?
In a recent report by Microsoft and LinkedIn, the authors say hybrid work is “inevitable.” Indeed, many people say hybrid is the future of work, and companies are beginning to catch up with this trend.
The hybrid work environment has many benefits for employees and their companies, but also many challenges. As the pandemic lingers, workers and employers will iron out what hybrid work looks like.
One of the most significant benefits of hybrid work is that it expands opportunities for job seekers and companies. Without being tied to a physical location, workers and companies can work from and hire employees form wherever they wish.
The transition to hybrid and remote work has happened swiftly, too. For example, remote job postings on LinkedIn have increased by more than five times during the pandemic, according to Microsoft. And with workers with more leverage than ever in today’s job market, the shift to hybrid work is likely here to stay.
If you’re looking for a job with flexible arrangements, let Empire Resume help you craft an excellent resume and LinkedIn profile. Our professional resume writers are experts at their craft and up-to-date on all the latest resume trends, such as getting resumes past Applicant Tracking Systems.
Also, stay tuned to Empire Resume’s blog for more insights on careers and employment, such as articles on How to Include Achievements on Your Resume, Resilient Job Skills During Covid-19, and 10 Common Interview Mistakes – and How to Avoid Them.
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Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.