21 Jul Remote Work and Hybrid Work
The nature of work in 2022 has changed tremendously since the onset of the Covid 19 Pandemic. Industries that you never would’ve thought would go online has taken significant portions of their operations to the cloud, some even going full remote.
But what options do workers have now with regards to their remote working opportunities?
A few definitions
Remote work is, by its strictest definition, an arrangement made with an employer where the employee can work anywhere outside of an office. They can do it from any geographical location that suits them. It goes by many names, ie work-from-home, telework, and remote job.
Hybrid work, on the other hand, shares some of the sensibilities of remote work in the sense that workers can choose to work wherever as long as they report to a physical office some days of the week. This hybrid model is starting to grow more prevalent the farther we get into the pandemic. Companies who started offering full remote work opportunities are now transitioning their workers into this hybrid model, what with social distancing measures ease and vaccination rates rise.
Benefits of a remote work / hybrid work setup
Allowing employees to work from home has its clear benefits. This State of Remote Work Report for 2022 by Buffer found that out of 2,118 people from 16 countries that they interviewed, a staggering 97% said they would recommend remote work to other people. 61% had very positive experiences with it, and 56% wanted a fully remote position if at all possible. These numbers provide valuable insight into the realities of remote work: it really isn’t for everyone, at least not for the long run. But it could be for you!
- It saves you gas money. As of June 2022, gas prices are at an all-time-high at almost $5 a gallon. Personally, I’ve saved about $100 dollars a month since I started working from home. On average, I used to fill up my tank for about $30 a week driving around 350 kilometers to and from work five days a week. The same would probably cost me closer to $55 today if I didn’t start working from home. My mileage has gone down considerably.
- You get a lot of time back. The US Census found that the average American spends about 52.5 minutes a day commuting to work and back. That’s a staggering amount of time that, when delegated to something else, can be better utilized.
- Employee happiness is increased. There are various studies conducted that show a staggering increase of about 20% in employee happiness after their companies allowed them to work from home. This, along with the savings that come as a result of not having to report to a physical office, are powerful motivators to staying in a remote job.
- It allows for better work-life balance. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous benefits, acting more like a result of all three. With workers being allowed the privilege of working from home, they are free to allocate their time to things that give them joy — given, of course, that they discipline themselves accordingly so as not to sway too much in either direction.
- Reduces company costs. With a remote setup, your business now has the option of not paying for a physical office space. This can lead to tremendous savings! Even with a hybrid workspace, you can have fewer employees to maintain the physical office which still saves you money.
- Increased productivity. A research conducted by Stanford University found that remote working has resulted in a 13% increase in productivity and 50% decrease in employee attrition rates.
The difference between remote work and hybrid work
While companies are still wary of going full remote, there are multiple statistics that show undeniable benefits of allowing workers to work from home. However, not everyone is fully on board — especially the workers.
Working from home can easily blur the line between comfort and toxicity. Not everyone has a house big enough to accommodate a separate working station, and some workers even report an increase in stress levels after they worked from home full time. What with kids, pets, and smaller living spaces, working from home can present challenges that can only be resolved with a workspace that’s outside the comforts of their residence.
That’s where hybrid work shines. In an article written and published by Louise Boardman-Rule, she states that “Employees would spend some of their time working from the business premises, and some of it working from home. Using digital collaboration tools, employees can work together no matter where they are and still achieve the same, if not better levels of productivity. This method allows businesses to balance the needs of their business with the needs of their employees, and get the best performance out of both.”
Furthermore, she states that “It’s literally the best of both worlds, and one of our best chances at creating a more balanced, healthier and happier workforce. And you know what they say — happy employees are productive employees.”
Hybrid working is not a relatively new thing, but it has gotten a lot of light shed on it because of the pandemic. Its increase in productivity has long been noted, and allowing employees to choose a setup that works for them is great for maintaining their satisfaction without compromising their mental health.
Which one works best?
There’s no real definitive answer to this question just yet, as there are various factors you have to consider first:
- which industry you belong to
- your workforce demands
- the size of your team
- how prepared your business is for fully-remote work
Companies like Microsoft, for example, have taken their study of the hybrid workspace to a whole other level by implementing it in six stages.
They have found that the system they have in place allows them to scale their solutions accordingly to the restrictions set by the pandemic. As vaccination rates rose, they slowly — and safely — eased on their remote work policy and allowed workers the option of choosing which setup works best for them.
As of this writing, Microsoft has designed safe workspaces that allows them to cater to workers who choose to work in the office when they want to. Some days of the week, they are allowed to work from home and they can come into the office if they want to. They achieved these results with careful planning and collaboration with their workers, paving the way for a more flexible and safe hybrid workspace.
I personally would like a hybrid work setup, but as I am in Canada and our Nautilus headquarters is in Singapore that isn’t much of an option right now. Companies like ours function just as well fully remote as it is, but having the option of working in a physical space with other team members sure sounds enticing.
Listen to your team. Reevaluate your goals and your company structure. If you find that hybrid work is better for your business, then go for it. But fully remote working is also a great option! What with business ideals changing for the better — with a concentration on employee happiness, retention, and increase productivity — it’s really your call. But either one you choose, you’re setting yourself up for success!