The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the ways companies function. With lockdowns in force in 2020, companies changed their working models to remote working, using technology to allow the workforce to collaborate and work without being physically present at the office.
However, even with the pandemic abating, full-time in-office work is not preferred by most employees. Hence, to retain talent, companies are adopting the hybrid work model. The jury is out on which work model is the best in the post-pandemic; in-office, remote, or hybrid work.
The merits and demerits of each kind of work model should be analyzed to understand various factors that determine which option a company should choose.
What is in-office work?
In-office work means the workforce operates out of a worksite or office. The physical location is common for all the workers. The employees share a physical space and interact with each other in person. They are required to commute to the workplace each day physically. The office opens and closes at pre-determined times each day which means the employees are required to follow a fixed work schedule.
In-office work is necessary for employees in many companies who are required to perform tasks that require their physical presence. With the automation of multiple processes due to technology, such kind of workers are also on the decline. However, there are still many workers who are required to operate from offices.
Pros and Cons of In-Office Work Post-Pandemic
In-office work enables more communication and interaction with colleagues than remote and hybrid work. The employees get access to the company’s equipment, facilities, and assets. Working in an office also means less distraction by family members.
In-office work creates a sense of unity among the employees and the company’s top management, which promotes a robust work culture. The employees can get a sense of purpose towards achieving a shared goal. Moreover, a structured work routine instills discipline in the employees, resulting in more productivity and efficiency.
The in-office work model has a number of drawbacks as well. The major drawback is increased overhead costs for the company. These include costs of maintaining the office, purchasing and maintaining the office equipment, and energy costs. Long commute times which waste a lot of time of the employees and force them to spend more on transport, is another de-merit of in-office work. Furthermore, a strict business environment may not suit the mentality of all the employees.
What is remote work?
Remote work means the employees are not required to share a workplace. Instead, they operate out of a location of their choice, such as homes, coffee shops, hotels, etc. Thus, remote working constitutes work from home and work from anywhere. The employees collaborate and work using online tools. All an employee needs is a laptop, internet connection, and digital tools provided by the company.
Remote working became the only work model during the pandemic due to the lockdown. Companies shifted 100% to virtual platforms. However, most companies have retained remote working even though the COVID mandates have been relaxed.
In the remote working model, the employees must be online at certain hours of the day to enable collaboration between them across time zones. Conferences take place virtually through video conferencing platforms. Certain employees may, however, be required to operate remotely from specific cities near the company headquarters.
Pros and Cons of Remote Work Post-Pandemic
Remote working allows the employees to work anytime, anywhere. Time spent commuting to the office is saved, and so is the cost of commuting daily to the office. Collaborating is not a problem as digital tools make collaboration as effective as physical meetings. The employees can spend more time with their families. Office politics is non-existent because co-workers do not share the same space.
As evidenced during the pandemic, remote working increases productivity enhances job satisfaction and improves employee engagement. These are beneficial for both the employees and the companies.
However, not everything is hunky-dory concerning remote working. There are multiple drawbacks such as overwork due to lack of a fixed schedule, distractions caused by the family members, social isolation, and inability to telecommunicate properly.
What is hybrid work?
Companies requiring staff to work on-site are opting for the hybrid work model. Hybrid work is a blend of remote and on-site work. Research by Stanford University has revealed that 55% of the employees prefer hybrid work.
Hybrid work means employees being allowed certain days to work remotely while working on-site on the remaining working days. As per another hybrid work model, a certain percentage of the employees work remotely while the remaining employees work in the office. Yet another model features partially remote and partially on-site employees alternating between remote and on-site work.
The hybrid work model of a company depends upon its specific requirements.
Pros and Cons of Hybrid Work Post-Pandemic
Hybrid work allows employees to work from home and office while not completely shifting to either side. Thus, they are free to derive the benefits of both remote and office work. Hybrid working also means the employees have fewer days when they must commute to the office.
Hybrid work allows the employees to meet each other on certain days physically. This ensures that they are not socially isolated and better get to know each other. Hybrid work models allow companies to reduce overhead costs because the entire staff does not use the office at any given point in time.
Hybrid work has its de-merits. The major drawback is the division between remote and on-site staff. The division tends to create problems in collaboration between the two employees. The manager can also tilt towards one set of employees, negatively affecting the other set.
The decision of shifting to hybrid work or remote working or continuing with on-site work depends upon the specific requirements of any company.
Irrespective of the chosen work model, it must be ensured that the convenience of the employees is taken into consideration before a decision is made. This will not only aid in hiring and retaining the best talent but will also create a positive work environment while creating a positive image of the company.