Hybrid work models - What forms do they take?
There is now a consensus that hybrid work will establish itself as an organisational form in the long term wherever it is possible. What is less clear in most companies, however, is what the concrete design will look like. For this reason, we summarise the different models of hybrid work and give you tips on how to find the right model for your company.
Which hybrid working models are distinguished?
Hybrid working means that not all employees do their work in the office at the same time, but also work outside the office. But what sounds simple at first can take on very different forms in detail.
Hybrid work gives employees more flexibility in when and where they do their tasks. Consequently, the 2 dimensions of work location and working time need to be considered when choosing the appropriate hybrid model.
Place of work
With regard to the place of work, the first issue is the distinction between the
- Workplace in the office or the
- Workplace outside the office.
For workplaces outside the office, it is initially irrelevant whether it is the home office or the café around the corner.
Secondly, the degree of flexibility is differentiated. A classification can look as follows:
- Office First: The office remains the primary place of work. Working outside the office is only the exception.
- Part-flexible: Employees can also work outside the office on set days.
- Fully flexible: Employees do not have a primary work location, but choose from where they want to do their work every day.
- Remote First: Is the exact opposite of office first. Work takes place remotely, only in exceptional cases is the office used as a place of work.
Working time must also be differentiated according to the degree of flexibility. Roughly speaking, this can be divided into:
- Fixed: The working time is fixed.
- Partially flexible: there are core working hours with an additional flexitime option
- Fully flexible: employees work completely independently of time constraints
If you combine the two dimensions, you quickly realise that there are numerous hybrid working models from which the right one must be found.
What are the implications of the different models
Each model offers advantages for companies and employees, but also brings challenges. In principle, the following can be said:
More flexibility leads to ...
- more satisfied employees, because location- and time-independent working makes it easier to reconcile work and private life, for example by reducing travel times to and from work or integrating appointments into the working day.
- Savings opportunities for companies, for example by reducing office space and thus rental expenses. There are also savings opportunities in office equipment, for example if fewer workstations are needed as part of a desk-sharing approach.
- greater opportunities in recruiting employees. Especially for young talents, flexibility is an important criterion when choosing an employer.
However, more flexibility also means...
- greater coordination effort on the part of the company. This includes, for example, the planning of office occupancy, the organisation of meetings or the management of projects.
- potentially higher costs for companies if, for example, office space has to be additionally equipped so that people can participate in meetings in and outside the office or additional workstations have to be provided in the home office.
- that employees feelsocially isolated. It can also have a negative impact on employees' loyalty to the company if they are rarely in the office and have less contact with their colleagues.
How to find the right model for your company
As always, there is no universal recommendation as to which model is suitable for which company. Rather, each company must find the right model for its individual situation within the framework of a structured process.
Such a process may look like the following:
First get an overview of the situation in your company and define which requirements the hybrid model has to fulfil for your organisation. Involve your colleagues in the process right from the start and let their suggestions flow in. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are your employees' wishes and ideas about flexibility?
- Which of your employees' activities can also be done outside the office?
- What skills, especially in the use of technology and digital tools, do your colleagues already have?
- How important is the (creative) collaboration of colleagues for the success of your company?
- What legal aspects have to be taken into account, such as data protection or occupational health and safety?
Based on the findings, the first models that do not meet the requirements can now be ruled out.
It may make sense at this point to create different hybrid work personas and apply the requirements to these personas. Colleagues in sales, for example, have to work at fixed times, while marketing teams meet regularly in the office for creative meetings.
After you have identified possible hybrid models for your company or individual personas, they must be evaluated for their advantages and disadvantages. In doing so, not only financial aspects (e.g. cost savings due to less space required vs. additional costs for equipping workplaces in the home office) must be weighed against each other. Rather, all organisational and social effects must also be taken into account.
As a result, the evaluation provides a suitable hybrid model for your organisation. Now the implementation of the model can begin. Whether this should be done in one fell swoop or step by step in an agile manner is again decided by your individual circumstances and preferences.