Confused between hybrid vs remote work models?
The COVID 19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work.
In line with pandemic guidelines, corporate giants like Amazon and Facebook have allowed their employees to work from home, at least for a few more months. Twitter has gone a step further and permitted its employees to work remotely forever if they desire.
But can you do the same for your company?
Due to the pandemic, your company needs to be equipped to transition to a remote or at least a hybrid work environment.
That’s why in this article, we’ll discuss the structure, advantages, and disadvantages of hybrid vs remote work. We’ve also listed a few tips to overcome the challenges of both these work models.
This article covers:
(click on the link to jump to a specific section)
- What Is A Hybrid Work Model?
- What Is A Remote Work Model?
- Hybrid Vs Remote Work Models: In-depth Comparison
- Hybrid Vs Remote Work: Advantages
- Hybrid Vs Remote Work: Disadvantages
- 5 Smart Tips To Overcome Hybrid And Remote Work Challenges
Let’s dive in.
What is a hybrid work model?
The hybrid model (also called the hybrid remote work model) is one where some employees work remotely while some work onsite.
For example, you may require your development team to be physically present in the office, while your sales team may not need to come to the office at all.
You may also choose to keep certain roles or designations as fully remote or fully in-house.
What is a remote work model?
In a full remote setup, employees will always work away from a physical office space.
Most remote companies may not even have a physical office. Everyone works out of their home offices, including the founders and managers.
Here’s some more information about fully remote work.
So, how do you decide the best work model for your organization?
We’ll compare the features of both the working models to help you answer that question.
Hybrid Vs remote work models: In-depth comparison
Here’s how the two work models differ from each other:
1. Work environment
Let’s look at the differences in work environments in the two models:
- Hybrid: a hybrid team is more flexible, and employees can decide whether they want to work in an office environment or a remote one.
- Remote: in a remote company, all professionals invariably work outside of a traditional office environment.
The work environment has a direct impact on productivity. Here’s how the two models compare:
- Hybrid: in the hybrid approach, having the choice to select the work environment may significantly improve employee productivity.
- Remote: in this scenario, only those employees who can adapt well to remote working can have better productivity. Not everyone can perform well at their home office as they would have in an actual office.
Communication is the key to running a successful organization.
This is how the two work models differ in their communication needs:
- Hybrid: a hybrid company needs to create policies to ensure that all information is passed uniformly to the in-office and remote teams.
- Remote: since all employees work remotely, the organization already has a uniform system to communicate all information.
4. Team meetings
Here’s how team meetings are conducted in the two models:
- Hybrid: in a hybrid team, the meetings may happen virtually or sometimes in the office.
- Remote: in a remote company, the meetings are always virtual — held via video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, etc.
5. Effect on employee morale
Let’s look at how the employee morale may differ in the two scenarios:
- Hybrid: in a hybrid workplace model, employees that work remotely may feel left out in scenarios such as team lunches, birthdays, etc.
- Remote: the remote workforce is unified by the fact that everyone works in different locations.
Hybrid Vs remote work: Advantages
In the Coronavirus pandemic, work environments that reduce commuting and maintain social distancing go a long way in preventing employee distress.
That’s why any type of remote work, whether hybrid or fully remote, has many advantages.
Let’s take a look at them:
A. Hybrid work model
Here are the important benefits of hybrid working:
1. Increased productivity
Not everybody functions equally.
Some knowledge workers (accountants, engineers, academics, etc.) may work better in the early morning hours and might not be able to concentrate on work post-lunch.
A hybrid workplace allows some members to work remotely. These remote team members can then choose to work according to their preferred hours.
Similarly, some employees need to be surrounded by people to do their best at work. They can achieve their professional goals only if they work from the physical office space.
2. Lowered overhead costs
If you have a hybrid workforce, there will be significantly fewer office employees in your physical workplace.
This means you don’t need many office supplies such as furniture, stationery, phone connections, etc.
You can even downsize your office space to accommodate only a few employees, thus saving on real estate, electricity bills, and other costly expenses.
3. Reduced exposure to infections
Some companies require certain employees to always be in the physical workspace.
For example, a manufacturing company that requires its engineers to be present in the plant.
In such cases, having fewer office workers in the workplace means that you can enforce strict social distancing. This will ensure that the chances of spreading infections like flu, cold, or even COVID-19, are marginally reduced.
Employees will take fewer sick days — resulting in improved overall productivity and performance of the entire hybrid team.
B. Remote work model
Let’s look at some of the advantages of remote working:
1. Access to a global talent pool
A fully remote work model benefits the employer by enabling them to hire office employees without any location restraints.
You can hire the most proficient candidates based on their skills without worrying about them being located in a different country or region.
For employees, working for a remote company means that they can work from anywhere they like. People like military spouses who are constantly on the move, new working mothers, or someone with limited mobility, can have a promising career with remote work.
2. Increased employee retention
You may not think much of it, but remote workers significantly increase your company’s employee retention rate.
Remote employees appreciate a company culture where they can work whenever and wherever they want. They’re generally more satisfied with their job, and are more likely to stay with your company for a long time!
3. Positive impact on the environment
Having a positive environmental impact is one of the biggest social benefits of remote teams.
On average, a worker commutes 27 minutes one-way for work. Some may even take 90 minutes or more. This results in massive car emissions and environmental pollution.
A remote team typically works out of a home office space, hence reducing the carbon footprint.
Hybrid Vs remote work: Disadvantages
Here are the drawbacks of working in a hybrid or fully remote work environment:
A. Hybrid work model
Here are some disadvantages of working in a hybrid company:
1. Feelings of isolation
In a hybrid team, a remote worker may feel isolated and disconnected from the in-house team. They can’t physically go to their colleague’s desk for face-to-face conversations.
They may even miss out on other office perks such as team lunches, company happy hours, birthday treats, and more.
2. Time differences
Time zones make a lot of difference, especially when you have one team within the same time zone and another distributed team in multiple time zones.
If your remote team is located in the Eastern countries and the rest of the team is in the US, the remote team may have to wait for hours (or even the entire workday) just to receive a response to their messages.
3. Lack Of proper training
You may be shifting to a hybrid work model to allow a few employees to WFH due to family obligations. You may think that they can continue to work just as they would in the physical office.
However, that’s not the case.
Working remotely is altogether a different ball game with different requirements and rules.
It requires special training on the best remote working practices. It may not be possible to implement the training module quickly, leading to reduced performance and productivity.
B. Remote work model
Here are some challenges of a remote company:
1. Not suitable for all jobs
Remote working is not feasible for jobs that require the use of specialized equipment.
For example, you can’t have a remote team for a production unit that needs the constant operation of machinery at the workplace.
2. Difficult communication and supervision
Another challenge of a distributed team is communication and collaboration – since you can’t see them personally. You may even find it difficult to build team spirit and establish one-on-one connections.
Additionally, supervising employees’ work and activities isn’t as easy as just walking up to their desks and getting an update.
3. Payroll issues
It may get difficult to comply with the payment regulations of different regions or countries.
Additionally, you may also find it challenging to make payments in different currencies, for different pay periods, hourly rates, etc.
5 smart tips to overcome hybrid and remote work challenges
The challenges of a hybrid remote work environment are mainly related to the remote employees of that company. That’s why the guidelines for overcoming these challenges are common for a remote and hybrid model.
Here are five smart ways to overcome the challenges of remote work:
1. Create remote working policies
Remote working policies outline what the office employees can and can’t do while working remotely. It focuses on important considerations such as:
- How, when, and where the employees should work.
- Basic equipment and internet requirements.
- Project management.
- Tracking work hours.
- Mode of communication for meetings, daily updates, etc.
- Websites and apps considered productive and unproductive by the company.
Clearly stating out the rules in the work policy will ensure that the entire workforce is aware of its expectations.
Find out more about forming a remote work policy.
2. Create different but equal benefits for employees
Don’t let your remote employees feel left out of any important events — be it celebrations or manager meetings.
To include them in workplace celebrations, you can send them monthly goodie bags, gift cards, or even a small present on their birthdays! You can even conduct company happy hours virtually so that all your employees can participate.
Here are some great ideas for hosting Zoom happy hours.
Additionally, ensure that distributed team members get a weekly one-on-one meeting with their managers or supervisors. This will help them discuss their work progress and sort out difficulties immediately.
Make provisions for these small but critical benefits in your monthly budget and schedule. It’ll undoubtedly enhance employee experience and motivate them to keep doing their best.
3. Switch to an asynchronous communication style
Asynchronous communication refers to communication where you don’t expect team members to respond immediately. You provide them with all the information needed to complete a particular task, and they’ll do it in their own time.
This eliminates the pressure of constantly being online and responding to all queries in real-time.
Of course, to implement this method flawlessly, you need to equip the employees with all the tools and information related to that project or task. You can add notes, specifications, and useful links related to the task.
This type of communication will boost employee efficiency and productivity.
Read more about asynchronous communication.
4. Change the way you conduct meetings
Meetings are an integral part of any organization — remote or otherwise.
However, in a remote setup, these meetings may get chaotic or even be unproductive if not planned and conducted properly.
With the asynchronous communication style, you won’t need to conduct meetings for every step of the process. But you’ll still need to have weekly updates or even casual team meetings.
It’s extremely helpful to plan these meetings and consider the different time zones of remote employees.
Have clear agendas and communicate them to all members in advance so that they can come prepared.
Whether you host an hour-long Zoom video conference or a 15-minute Google Meet, it’s important to start and end these meetings on time to avoid wasting anyone’s time.
Additionally, you can ask all employees (in-house and remote) to join the meetings from their individual computers. This way, those working remotely won’t feel left out like they would when the in-house workforce huddles together in the conference room.
5. Use advanced time tracking and productivity monitoring tools
Worried about whether your employees will be productive at work?
Thanks to the tech boom, there’s no shortage of productivity and employee monitoring apps. One such powerful tool is Time Doctor.
Time Doctor is a robust employee time tracking and performance management tool that’s used by major companies, like Ericsson and RE/MAX, as well as by small businesses, like FirehouseSubs.
Here are some of Time Doctor’s important features:
- Provides interactive and silent time tracking
- Enables you to assign productivity ratings to websites and apps.
- Tracks idle time after pre-defined minutes of inactivity.
- Integrates with 50+ tools including GitLab, Asana, Jira, Microsoft To Do, and more.
- Allows you to pay employees directly through integrations such as Payoneer, Wise, etc.
- Strict privacy and security policies that protect employees’ data.
Hybrid working will undoubtedly become the future of work and an integral part of a sustainable business.
Whether you opt for an all-remote work environment or a hybrid remote one, you must have all the tools needed to implement remote work successfully. Zoom for video conferencing, Slack for instant messaging, Time Doctor for productivity monitoring are just a few examples.
Keep the above guidelines in mind so you can easily overcome the challenges of hybrid and remote work!
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.