At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly everyone had to work from home.
Despite this, studies show that changes in working conditions didn’t compromise workers’ overall productivity and quality of work.
A survey from Harvard Business School shows that at least 16% of Americans would likely continue to work from home post-pandemic. However, not all companies can afford to become fully remote even if the situation allows.
Even though their employees can effectively work from home, they’d prefer to have some form of physical contact with their colleagues.
What is Remote Working?
Remote working is a flexible working arrangement where employees work outside of the office. Remote workers may be based within the same city as your company or overseas.
They shouldn’t be confused with working with freelancers who are independent contractors from the business.
One perk of remote working is the savings employers and companies incur long-term. That’s because they don’t need to spend on overhead like office leases and utility bills.
One study shows that if employers let their employees work from home even half of the time, they could potentially save an average of $11,000 per employee. They can also save an additional $2,000 to $7,000 annually on transportation and lunch expenses.
The remote work model also gives you access to a broader talent pool. You don’t have to limit yourself to candidates in your city or those who are willing to relocate. You can hire people from other parts of the world who are just as qualified but willing to do the job at lower rates.
While flexibility is usually one of the benefits of remote working, others see this as a disadvantage.
In fact, many remote workers say that working from home blurs the boundaries between work and their personal lives. Others complain that they now work longer hours and feel pressure to always be on after they started working from home.
The isolation brought about by COVID-19 social distancing measures has reportedly significantly affected the mental well-being of remote employees.
The truth is that many employees thrive in social settings. When they work remotely, the isolation can be too stressful for them. As a result, they become prone to burnout, depression, and other mental conditions.
Another con to remote work is a risk in cybersecurity.
Since most remote workers work on their personal devices, and these aren’t as secure as those in their office, the security of your company’s and customers’ data are more prone to cyberattacks.
What is Hybrid Work?
Hybrid work is a mix of in-office attendance and remote work.
Hybrid workplace arrangements vary from one company to another. Some companies may require employees to come in on specific days or times. Others may choose to select some employees to work from home while others work in the office.
Like remote working, employees aren’t required to report to an office every day. This flexibility allows some companies to have their employees work in a coworking space, saving companies thousands of dollars on overhead expenses.
A downside of the hybrid work model is that it poses serious health and safety concerns.
Let’s remember that the pandemic isn’t over. Despite ongoing vaccinations and health measures, the coronavirus continues to evolve into new variants. These pose a risk for employees that need to report in an office.
There can also be a disconnect when employees work in a hybrid work setup. This is especially true for those that divided their workforce into remote workers and in-house employees. However, businesses that adopt a remote-first culture might be able to mitigate this threat.
Remote vs Hybrid Work: Which is Better?
The short answer to this question is: It depends.
If you’re running a business where your target market’s comfortable making purchases online, remote working will do.
However, the hybrid workplace model will be your best option if your potential clients want to negotiate and transact their business face-to-face.
Another thing to consider is the feedback your employees provide regarding where they prefer to work.
Hybrid work models are best for those where the number of people wanting to work from home and in the office is nearly equal. Otherwise, going with what works for the majority will be the best option to ensure your company’s success in the ‘new normal.’