Hybrid Work: pros and cons for companies and employees

It has been a year since most workplaces have moved from remote working to a more hybrid model after the lockdowns. Nearly 70 percent of employees now prefer a hybrid workplace where they can split their time between the office and a home working environment.

This change has brought some challenges and advantages for companies and employees on how to manage work culture, wellbeing, and employee retention all the while encouraging innovation. Some groups are thriving while others are struggling in this new environment. What are the pros and cons of this hybrid work model, which is here to stay?

Productivity vs Work-life balance

Collaboration trends in Microsoft 365 between February 2020 and February 2021 showed that the digital intensity of a worker’s day increased with the number of meetings and chats. 

Even though self-assessed productivity remained same or higher for many employees (82%), they felt that their employers did not care about their work-life balance: 54% felt overworked; 39% felt exhausted and the workers were feeling digital exhaustion. For example, the average Microsoft Teams user was sending 45% more chats per week and 42% more chats per person after hours, with chats per week still on the rise.

It is important for leaders to define productivity broadly – inclusive of collaboration, learning and wellbeing to drive career advancement for every worker.

Networking vs Working in Siloes

Another trend that emerged was that the pandemic-driven isolation that people felt in their personal lives was also happening at work. Even though interactions with close networks at work increased, our interactions with distant networks diminished.

Companies became more siloed than they were before the pandemic. However, with hybrid work becoming more popular it is possible to foster social capital, cross-team collaboration and spontaneous idea-sharing that’s been driving workplace innovation for decades.

It was found that Gen Z (between 18-25 years) were the ones to suffer the most when remote work began during the pandemic. They were more likely to be single and early in their careers, making them most likely to feel isolated, lack motivation at work, and lacked the financial means to create proper workplaces at home. The hybrid work model could help foster hallway conversations, chance encounters and small talk over coffee for workers to feel connected not only to their immediate team but also make meaningful connections across the company.

Encouraging Wellbeing and Innovation

Gen Z also reported feeling disengaged and lacking enthusiasm about work because they did not feel heard during meetings and hence were unable to bring new ideas to the table. It is important that this generation feel a sense of purpose and wellbeing in this new hybrid work environment for new generations bring a fresh perspective and challenge the status quo, which is important for innovation.

Authentic relationships at work have been found to increase productivity and wellbeing in the workplace. Having experienced unprecedented stress during the pandemic balancing work, childcare, home schooling, working from living rooms, interruptions by pets, and virtually meeting one another’s pets or family members we feel that work has become more human.

More people these days feel they can be their authentic selves at work and less likely to feel embarrassed or ashamed when their home life shows up at work. This has resulted in workers experiencing stronger work relationships and an increase in productivity and overall wellbeing.

One of the most important developments the shift to remote work and the choice of a hybrid workplace has brought about is the widening of the talent landscape. It is time to rethink employee experience to compete for the best and most diverse talent for employee expectations have changed.

For a more detailed analysis and the Work Trend Index Annual Report check out the article here.

Up next

We have worked with
How can we help?

Send Us An Email

Contact Us

Make a booking with us