With final restrictions now lifting, many people are slowly venturing back to the office. However, unlike pre-pandemic times, days in the workplace are more flexible, with a number of corporations downsizing their premises to make way for a new way of working.
For many, the future of work will be structured around a hybrid working model. This may mean only being in the office for a couple of days a week, or only when absolutely necessary.
While some people welcome the return to the workplace, for others, working from home has allowed them to reclaim time and improve the work/life balance.
The future of work is flexible, and the benefits of hybrid work for both employees and employers are becoming clear.
Here are a few of the benefits of hybrid working.
Benefits of hybrid working - for employees
Flexible hours and locations
One of the greatest benefits of hybrid working is not having to be tied to a desk for a set number of hours in the same location each week.
Employees can work the hours that suit them, with the option of working from home, a cafe, or even an entirely different location altogether!
Childcare is a huge expense for those working full time, especially when their children are not yet at school for most of the day.
Parents now have the option to care for their children at home, or only pay for a couple of days of nursery or childminders each week.
Not only do parents save a great deal of money, they also will not miss their children growing up as they would do working a 9 - 5 plus commuting time each day.
Finding time to exercise is difficult when you are based in an office, particularly if it does not have shower facilities. Additionally, the gym might be based close to home, rather than the office, and if based in a city, there may be fewer places to get out at lunchtime away from the pollution and hustle and bustle.
When working from home, or from the office on a part time basis, exercise can be fitted more easily into a busy routine. Closer to home, there may be more green spaces, making it easier to step away from the desk and venture outside, too.
Also, with less temptation to buy lunch each day, employees may go for healthier options that they have time to prepare themselves at home.
Time to do housework and gardening
Household chores have a tendency to build up during the week, leaving only the weekends to cram in tasks and leaving little time for relaxing.
A hybrid model means that days spent at home can be used to chip away at chores and spend some time enjoying the garden, freeing up time for more enjoyable activities at the end of the working week.
Less time and money spent on commute
Not only is commuting expensive, the time spent on travelling can add two or more hours to the working day. Delays with public transport and traffic can impact this further, causing stress and making employees feel drained.
By not having to commute, employees have more time to sleep, and more time to relax in the evenings, leaving them more refreshed and motivated for the next working day.
Overall improvement in happiness and wellbeing
It probably comes as no surprise that given all of the benefits, 85% of employees in the UK favour a hybrid working model.
The pandemic has shown that this way of working is possible. Improved access to remote working tools, and the use of online communities and web conferencing has allowed employees to stay connected with colleagues and peers when they need advice or support.
Benefits of hybrid working - for employers
With fewer employees in the office at any given time, companies can downsize their premises, or if permitted, rent out desks to other businesses.
Not only are there savings to be made on the office space, money can also be saved on supplies. Tea and coffee, stationary, and other supplies need to be replenished less often, and while businesses may have had to invest in new technology and software to support hybrid working, the savings gained in reduced overheads far outweigh the initial expenditure.
More productive staff
The office environment can be distracting at times. With people chatting, phones ringing, and constant meetings, focus is easily broken.
At home, employees can opt for working in complete silence, or blasting motivational music - without anyone interrupting them.
Lower staff turnover and absenteeism
Because the work/life balance that comes with hybrid working frees up more of an employee's time, job satisfaction is likely to be higher, leading to lower staff turnover.
In addition, staff are less likely to be absent from work or get sick as they are not as stressed - or being exposed to other germ-carrying commuters as often!
Access to a wider talent pool
One of the biggest advantages for employers who embrace the hybrid working model is access to a wider talent pool.
When recruiting, a hybrid model opens up the role to workers who might not otherwise have been able to apply, diversifying the workforce and bringing in the best talent. Whereas a two hour commute every day may have put off some excellent candidates in the past, a day or two in the office may be a reasonable compromise they are willing to make.
Support with the future of work, and adopting hybrid working models
Want to find out more about the future of work?
Why not join the Guild group ‘Future of Work: Reimagining Business’ for free? The group encourages its members to collectively define what we want our future to look like by sharing our visions of it, with a focus on improving work/life balance, wellbeing, and business structure and KPIs.