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Hybrid work - The future of work?

The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world of work upside down and led to an involuntary test of how well companies are set up for remote working. Based on the positive results, many suspected that employees would only work remotely in the future and predicted the end of the office. However, as we also suspected last year, the current trend is that the work of the future will be hybrid. So what does hybrid work mean? And how can companies best position themselves for the flexible working world?

What does hybrid working mean?

Hybrid work refers to a form of work that is independent of time and place, in which employees no longer spend every day in the office, but work both in and out of the office. Working from home in the home office is just one possible alternative to the office. The café around the corner, co-working spaces, working from home abroad and any other place that enables productive work can also be used for work. The same applies to working hours. The classic 9-to-5 job is increasingly giving way to individual time management as part of hybrid work.

However, there is no concrete definition for the distribution of days of presence and days with remote work. Instead, the specific structure of hybrid work will vary from company to company or even between individual departments. This is because the degree of flexibility depends on various factors, such as the role in the company and the area of responsibility.

What are the advantages of hybrid work?

Hybrid work combines the advantages of office work and mobile work. If the necessary conditions are created in the company, hybrid work offers numerous advantages for employees, employers and society.

How do employees benefit from the hybrid work model?

  • Work-life balance: Taking the children to school, being able to start work emails afterwards and a round of yoga at your favorite yoga studio at lunchtime: thanks to remote work, individual needs can be more easily integrated into the working day. In addition, there are no long commutes to the office, which saves time that can be used for leisure activities.

  • Cost savings: Less on-site work also means lower costs for employees. Subscription tickets for public transport, driving (including finding a parking space), expensive meals in the city center - all these costs are (partially) eliminated with remote work. Hybrid work also makes employees more location-independent. As they no longer have to live where they work, they can live cheaply in the countryside as an alternative.

  • Satisfaction: In addition to such measurable benefits, "soft" factors such as a personally furnished workspace or the opportunity to wear relaxed clothing while working are an additional plus in the home office, which increase satisfaction and ultimately lead to greater productivity.

What advantages does hybrid working offer companies

For a long time, it was assumed that employees in particular would benefit from flexible working models. However, the obligation to work from home showed that companies also benefit from the new approach.

  • Cost savings : With permanently fewer people in the office, cost savings are also possible for employers. Survey results among company managers indicate potential savings of up to 20 percent. It is no longer necessary to provide an individual workstation for each employee, which means lower costs for office equipment. As a result, less office space tends to be required, which saves on rental costs. In other scenarios, the hybrid model leads to a fundamental restructuring of the office organization. Expensive office space in inner-city locations is abandoned in favor of satellite offices spread across the city.
  • Employer branding: Even today, the "war for talent" is no longer won on salary alone. The possibility of flexible work scheduling will become a key criterion for employer branding and the acquisition of new employees in the future. This applies in particular to sought-after specialists in the fields of IT and technology or finance. At the same time, companies outside the metropolitan regions will have easier access to skilled workers. Young, qualified employees who want to continue living in the big city are now a potential target group thanks to remote working.
  • Productivity: Contrary to the widespread prejudice that productivity would decrease due to remote work, this is often not observed in practice. On the contrary, many managers have even reported increases in productivity during the coronavirus pandemic. The ability to work in a focused manner without disruptive noise and a generally higher level of employee satisfaction thanks to more flexible working are the reasons for this.

Sustainability, strengthening rural areas: social benefits

Hybrid working also offers benefits for society as a whole. The elimination of commuting to the workplace and unnecessary business trips, which are sometimes made by domestic flights, not only saves time, nerves and money, but also reduces CO2 emissions. Hybrid working therefore makes an effective contribution to climate protection.

The option to work remotely also increases flexibility when choosing where to live. Skilled workers are no longer forced to move to metropolitan regions for qualified work, which leads to a greater social mix and consequently a strengthening of rural areas.

What challenges need to be overcome with hybrid work?

Despite all the opportunities that hybrid working offers, it also brings with it various challenges. Managers are therefore faced with the task of optimally positioning the company's culture and organization for digitalization.

Suitable processes and structures must ensure that employees are integrated into all processes regardless of where they work and have (timely) access to all information. This is the only way to ensure optimal collaboration between distributed teams. At the same time, all colleagues must be empowered for digital collaboration. After all, not every employee is already confident in using technology and tools.

Another challenge is maintaining the company and work culture. Many employees are already complaining that they feel less connected to their company and its vision due to permanent remote work. At the same time, team spirit declines when colleagues only see each other via video conferencing. This makes it all the more important for managers to promote and encourage communication within the company and between colleagues.

Last but not least, companies fear losing their innovative strength due to distributed working. While standard tasks can easily be completed from anywhere, regular exchanges, creative sessions or joint brainstorming sessions are essential for innovative ideas.

How can hybrid work succeed in the company?

The transformation to a hybrid company is not a process that takes a few days or weeks. Rather, it is characterized by constant learning and regular adjustments. Nevertheless, companies should give some thought to a successful transformation and create the necessary conditions. So what does it take to master the challenges of hybrid working and benefit from all its advantages?

1. define the vision for hybrid work

Decision-makers first need to be clear about the role that remote work should play in their own company. Is the primary goal to save costs or are the employees and their individual needs the focus of hybrid work?

2. define remote work roles

Based on this vision, specific roles can be defined for employees that clearly define how many days they work remotely. Criteria for this are, for example

  • Does the work allow remote work at all?
  • How independently the employee works
  • What seniority does the employee have?

Accordingly, roles can be defined for individual departments, teams or even at employee level.

3. provide equipment for teams and workspaces

Successful collaboration between hybrid teams requires optimal equipment. Thanks to mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets, remote workers are able to work productively outside the office. Digital tools for project management and communication allow everyone involved to collaborate quickly and easily.

In contrast, the office will primarily serve as a social meeting place in the future and must enable employees to interact. As a result, office spaces need to be redesigned. Instead of individual workstations, lounge areas and numerous meeting options offer space for creative exchange. Modern office technology such as smartboards allow simultaneous collaboration with remote colleagues.

Equip employees with just a few clicks

With the help of the Lendis OS, you can equip your employees optimally for hybrid work. You save yourself a lot of effort and have time for the important tasks.

4. create technical infrastructure

Thanks to a modern technical infrastructure, everyone in the company has access to the information they need. All documents are stored in a central location and can be accessed from anywhere in the world via secure connections. Thanks to zero-touch hardware, employees are suitably equipped and ready to work in just a few minutes.

Companies that position themselves for the future of work on these different levels create the conditions for a successful transformation to a hybrid company.

Further information (external link): BCG Study - Remote Working and the Platform of the Future