Hybrid Work – Striking The Right Balance Between Comfort And Flexibility

image_pdfimage_print

Hybrid Work - Striking The Right Balance Between Comfort And FlexibilityBrian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

Remote work has been largely removed from the American workforce picture, but in its place has come hybrid working. According to CNBC, 25% of people are now employed through  hybrid working, with 14% mostly in-person, and 9% mostly working remotely. While some employers have seen remote working as a simple necessity, with a return to the office greatly anticipated, the benefits of the opposite approach has shown itself to have considerable benefits. Starting with overall employee happiness, remote working has revolutionized business in a way that has led to successes across the board.

Happier, and healthier, workers

The early change to remote working was not easy. Hastily arranged workspaces were not conducive to productivity, and many businesses had to find ways to rapidly expand their business hardware and software infrastructure to meet the needs of their remote workers. However, workers quickly became aware that remote working can be made to work, and to work well, with only a few resources. Indeed, building a productive home working space requires little more than a desk, plugs to provide power, a sense of peace and quiet and the ergonomic tools to keep the body flexible and fresh. 

The benefits have been huge for employees. According to Fortune, hybrid workers are happier and more productive, and have greater engagement with their coworkers; 71% reported better levels of connection with their peers, and were also more likely to declare a strong connection with leadership. What’s more, employees are also less likely to need sick days – and not for fear of penalties. The Financial Times recently reported that workers can better manage chronic conditions and minor ailments at home while remaining productive; the flexibility is key.

Staying productive

There has been considerable debate over the general productivity of remote and hybrid workers. This is largely to do with the period of downturn as systems quickly shifted to meet new expectations. However, according to Forbes, the debate over hybrid worker effectiveness has now ended, following the publishing of several key studies.

One of three studies analyzed by Forbes was huge in its scope, including 105 million data points from over 30,000 individuals. It concluded that, on average, hybrid and remote workers were 5 percentage points more productive than their peers, based on a wide range of scales. That puts the debate over productivity to bed – workers that are employed on a hybrid or remote basis, and want to be there (a crucial point, as worker happiness is clearly predicated on their choice, and the ability to be flexible), will produce more for the business than their peers.

Opportunities for business

Remote and hybrid working is the peak of the digital economy; professionals, using IT skills to work away from the office, and existing entirely online for their professional life. While this is true, the effect on small businesses has actually been something of a rebound. While larger franchises and urban businesses have suffered from the downturn in urban footfall, local businesses have profited – and digital enterprise.

This has been key to a new economic boom, according to Bloomberg. Remote and hybrid workers are more likely to use smaller, local businesses, for everything ranging from food, to services, to retail. Furthermore, remote workers are also more likely to use local online businesses – alongside the big players, such as Amazon. When paired with the inexorable rise of private courier services, and a general push towards favoring small and sustainable business, remote work has been crucial to helping the wider business economy.

Work and time concept

According to The Guardian, the next phase in the hybrid work experiment is set to unfold in the USA – through a radical reassessment of the 5-day working week. In digital services, it is being seen as increasingly unnecessary that businesses commit to the orthodoxy of a Monday-Friday week, and more flexibility is being put in to benefit employees, employers ,and their overall working plans. What’s more, the tight labor market is likely to make this a reality sooner rather than later. There are simply not enough employees to match the size and ambition of digital businesses around the country, and that means benefits are absolutely crucial. Giving potential hires the best possible path to work in will give businesses the edge over their competitors – another big force in the world of work.

Hybrid work has struck the exact balance that businesses need. It maintains productivity, while still allowing workers a great degree of flexibility in order for them to enjoy their work/life balance. The impact of greater productivity also gives a positive feedback effect to workers; they can enjoy their flexible work while simultaneously getting the satisfaction of having done a good job. In time, remote and hybrid working might change the entire face of US business.


Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.