The past year has been a turbulent time for workplaces, to say the least. Whilst for some, having to up sticks and transition to a remote working set-up was relatively manageable, for others it represented a seismic shake-up in the way things were run. Now, we’re (hopefully for the last time) approaching the point where employees might be able to return again to their physical workplace environments.
For all its positives, though, the workplace is by no means perfect. Similarly, whilst the flexibility afforded by remote working is attractive, it too offers its own downsides. The logical solution, then? The ‘hybrid working’ model might just offer the solution. The team here at Nutbourne, one of London’s leading managed service providers, wanted to look at the benefits of the concept in a little more detail. First, though, what are the pros and cons of the office against working remotely?
The Case For The Office…
For some, the date circled on our calendars marking the return to offices can’t come soon enough. And you have to say, upon closer inspection, you can understand why. The social interactions that come from engaging with work colleagues, the productivity that comes from being in a defined workplace (which isn’t your home) and the more natural creativity that comes from in-person brainstorms and interactions, they all contribute to the want to get back to the water cooler, once more.
There’s even an argument to say that the commute, the removal of which is touted by advocates of home working as being amongst the biggest perks, is a good thing. Many people have realised just how helpful the physical journey that the commute provided actually was in both preparing for the day on the way to work, as well as winding down and entering ‘personal’ mode following it. In terms of flexibility, though? Well, you can’t really argue with remote working on that one.
In Defence Of Home Working…
On the other side of the argument, there are those who want to keep working from home (or working remotely, at least) for as long as they can. Their motivations? As we just mentioned, greater flexibility is definitely towards the top of the list. Home working leaves you with more hours in the day, you can work in a way that suits you and you can work in your comfiest clothes! Work-life balance is easier to achieve (if you’re able to keep boundaries in place) and if you’ve got a family, then again looking after them is infinitely easier if you’re at home, rather than in the office.
Again, though, it has its drawbacks. Technical limitations (poor broadband connection has been the bane of many people’s lives for the best part of twelve months now) aside, not having access to a designated ‘work’ space (a study, for example) and a lack of social interactions have been noted by many as downsides to this form of working. So, what is hybrid working and what does it offer?
Meet Somewhere In The Middle With Hybrid Working, Perhaps?
According to a poll by YouGov towards the back-end of last year, almost two-fifths of people surveyed (39%) stated they’d like to work from home at least some of the time following the COVID-19 pandemic. Interestingly, though, that same poll found that only 18% wanted to continue working from home the entire time showing that there’s at least a partial appetite for the office environment in the majority of people. This, in a nutshell, is exactly what hybrid working entails.
It’s the blending of remote working and in-situ office working. Employers that offer that kind of flexibility will endear themselves more to their employees and build greater loyalty in that way. Given these greater freedoms around which they can plan their day-to-day lives, employee productivity both when they’re physically ‘in’ work as well as when working remotely is going to be improved.
The hybrid model also facilitates a more optimal use of time and energies. What do we mean by this? Well, for creative projects – the kind where bouncing ideas off of one another just can’t be replicated as effectively virtually, then the office is ideal for this. For clerical, administrative or data-driven work, on the other hand, the chances are that you’ll likely be just as able to carry that out from home. Asides from a permanent skeletal staffing to keep the office ticking over and to keep some kind of framework, you can be as flexible as you like in terms of the comings and goings of employees.
How Could The Hybrid Working Model Change The Workplace Landscape?
What we’ll increasingly see as a result of the hybrid working model are more fluid and organic office spaces. More of an emphasis will be placed on shared and collaborative spaces and less on individual cubicles or workstations. Network infrastructure might well be streamlined in terms of the on-site hardware and servers, and companies will likely transition more towards the cloud, which better suits a more fluid workplace set-up.
Linked to this, greater importance will be placed on network security. The number of endpoint devices in use might well increase with people working from home, using their own devices rather than computers from the office, for example, and that can pose significant security risks. Education on cybersecurity ‘hygiene’ will be more crucial than ever, and more explicit processes will have to be outlined as to the processes needed following whilst working remotely.
So, if you’d like to find out more about how our London managed service provider can help your business implement a hybrid working modality of working, then get in touch! Contact us today on +44 (0) 203 137 7273 or by filling out one of our online enquiry forms. We’d love to hear from you!