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Blog 18-06-2021

Key benefits of hybrid working

Today, as office buildings are opening again in some countries, it’s quite clear that there’s no such thing as a rush back to the office.

Especially when you observe the Google Community Mobility Reports in which you can see movement trends over time by geography, across different categories of places (like retail & recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential). With social distancing rules in place, it’s impossible to bring entire teams together in the same spaces as before. And because of closed schools and daycare, employees are not always able to head back to the office whenever they want. No, no matter what the reason is, we’ve gone hybrid instead! Balancing between going in-office for some days a week and working from home on other days.

Embracing a hybrid way of working has its upsides, of course. It means you are investing in your employees’ well-being and safety and indirectly improving the focus, productivity and efficiency of the collaboration in your businesses. Hybrid is the way forward to keep your business running, in the most critical of times, as recent research on hybrid working and meetings unveils. Hybrid working is the new normal.

Working from home fatigue kicks in

Earlier this year, we were suddenly forced to say goodbye to busy meeting rooms, watercooler conversations and spontaneous huddles. No more commuting, no more travelling to an oversea customer, no more office romances and no more face-to-face meetings. With COVID-19 lockdowns all over the globe, we embraced home office. We welcomed occasional unexpected participants - cats or curious toddlers - in our videocalls, stayed in our safe remote working bubble at home, attended numerous webinars, organized virtual events and demo’s. We got used to virtual meetings and became true experts at flexible working.

“49% enjoy working from home less than they did at the start of the pandemic”

After months in quarantine, employees feel strongly about getting back to the workplace. Even when enterprises keep safety measures and social distancing rules in mind, there are still very few people who come in every day to a physical building. Nevertheless, in our future work model it will not be about working from home “or” working from the office. We will need to find the perfect balance between both. So, let’s explore the benefits of hybrid working and working in distributed teams.

The best of both worlds

Employers now need to build their workplace strategy around this desire for a truly versatile hybrid way of working. They can create a workplace culture that empowers employees to work flexibly depending on the type of work they need to do and their individual circumstances. And at the same time, they can enjoy both the advantages of remote working and those of traditional office work.

Not only will hybrid work-models help businesses to remain agile and give them the ability to adapt quickly to unexpected circumstances to keep their operations running in these especially uncertain times, but the new models also have some clear benefits for the well-being and productivity of their employees. Hybrid working keeps your workforce:

1. Productive thanks to the right tech

Office environments and meeting rooms are most likely to be better equipped for collaboration than any regular home office. Company offices have video conferencing possibilities, touchscreen, decent audio and video capabilities and an IT-department at your beck and call. The struggle with tech at home is real: you only have your laptop with its webcam and limited audio and when you can’t have decent videocalls, you have no way of truly connecting with colleagues (even IT colleagues). In the hybrid work model, you can make the best advantage of your office days by using the best use of these tech capabilities in the office for your important customer calls, decision-making board meetings, or - why not? - even a brainstorm with a small team.

“35% prefers to be in the office because of the presence of tech that allows them to better connect with colleagues”

- Finding a new balance, research on hybrid working

2. Collaborating naturally and easily

Office-based work and face-to-face interaction that comes along with that, make collaboration easier. You get the chance to socialize with co-workers, have chats at coffee corners and pick up on useful information through informal conversations in person. Small talk at the beginning of your next video meeting, just isn’t the same. And you don’t get career opportunities or a promotion when you’re hidden away behind your safe desk at home. Hybrid working enables opportunities for easier, more seamless collaboration, so essential for the growth of your employees and the optimization of your business outcomes. It gives workforce the opportunity to alternate these intense informal & personal office moments with more quieter days & focused tasks at home.

“45% prefers in-office work because they want to socialize with colleagues and find collaboration easier there”

3. Happy with a healthy work-life balance

When offering the option for hybrid working and meeting, enterprises are showing their concern about the well-being of their workforce and investing in a strong company culture. Relieving stress and enabling people to maintain a healthy work-life balance makes them happy and productive, so give employees the chance to organize their own schedules. Hybrid working enables your workforce to (partly) keep that ownership and level out the time between office tasks and family life, especially on working from home days. There is time for focussed work, decision-making, intense meeting and following seminars. But also, for spending time with family, helping the kids with homework, walking the dog or taking that yoga class.

“43% says that remote working improves their work-life balance”

4. Focused and saving time

People lose time every day, when they’re in the car or train commuting to work. When enabling partial working from home in a hybrid work model, you instantly make up for that lost time. Employees then can work whenever and wherever suits them best. Taking to account that some are more productive in the early morning and love the office desk, while others are real night owls and thrive in their home office. You give employees the responsibility to make the best use of their own talents and particularities. And in that way, you invest not only in trust and loyal employees, but also indirectly in efficiency and your business results.

“1 in 2 wants the flexibility to work at times that suit them best”

Source: Barco - 5 key benefits of hybrid working

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