In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading, organisations were quick to pivot to remote working. Now, two years later, most of them have acquiesced that the shift from office to remote is irreversible. Going forward, the natural course for work is going to be a hybrid working model, with on-site and remote working co-existing together. As the pandemic becomes endemic, organisations are summoning employees back to the office, albeit with the perks of hybrid working.
The need of the hour, the hybrid work model is gaining prominence and prevalence across organisations globally. According to a McKinsey survey, nearly 90 percent of organisations envision combining remote and on-site working models as part of their long-term plans. In addition, hybrid work is being touted as the default working model by 2024.
Let us understand the reasons behind the Hybrid 2.0 gold rush.
Talent proliferation and acceleration
To underpin their steep growth journeys, many organisations are experiencing the need to acquire talent at speed and scale. With the successful proof of concept for remote working, organisations are opening their talent apertures beyond geographically accessible pools.
A hybrid work model enables organisations to tap previously untapped talent pools based on the remote-ability of the roles. Given the perennial talent shortage, organisations can hire inexpensive talent from smaller cities and experts from developed economies like the US and Europe. Additionally, hybrid work also opens the door to gig workers and freelancers.
Place a time flexibility
A hybrid work model allows organisations and employees the flexibility to operate on two focal points—place and time. Instead of being tethered to their office desks, employees can now work from anywhere. Inevitably, this guarantees better work-life balance and savings on the daily commute.
Similarly, some organisations have shifted along the time axis by allowing their employees to work asynchronously. Consequently, instead of being kept within the bounds of nine-to-five, employees can choose their own working hours when they feel most productive. This can help unleash the true potential of employees.
There is no denying that the productivity gains from working remotely have enticed organisations to be receptive to Hybrid 2.0. Hoping to replicate the same productivity and performance, organisations are allowing their employees the freedom to work anywhere, anytime, as long as they remain productive. Organisations are offering remote and hybrid work benefits as a privilege to high-performing employees. At the same time, employees with lower productivity are being asked to work on-site under the supervision of leaders to improve their performance.
According to a NASSCOM survey, 66 percent of organisations reported higher employee satisfaction when working remotely. This is primarily due to the greater independence and flexibility that the remote working model offers. By adopting a hybrid work model, organisations can further elevate employee satisfaction and engagement by providing them with the benefits of both remote and on-site work.
Under Hybrid 2.0, employees gain the flexibility to continue working remotely and balancing their personal and professional responsibilities. At the same time, the social infrastructure of the office allows them access to team collaboration events, networking, organisational culture, etc.
Technological transformation spurred by the pandemic caused a radical shift in the world of work. Organisations squeezed years’ worth of digital acceleration within months, which paved the way to seamless customer journeys and remote work adoption. The digital upgrade necessitated by the pandemic not only made remote work possible but is also the driving force of the hybrid work model. Technology can help bridge the location gap among employees spread across different geographies by allowing them to collaborate seamlessly. Additionally, technology can also remove the barriers and challenges to an effective hybrid work model.
As organisations strive to unlock the future of work, the answer does not lie on either end of the extremes, remote-first or office-first, but in the centremost. Hybrid 2.0 allows organisations the flexibility to work remotely, cast a wider net for talent and save on real estate. At the same time, hybrid work models are bolstered by the social structure of the workplace and the culture and collaboration it offers. At the cusp of a new paradigm, organisations today have the choice to reimagine their work and workforce; tomorrow, it may just be a compulsion.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)