Employers might want everyone back in the office, but after all that working from home, not everyone is ready to return. The answer may be hybrid.
By William Furney, content marketing manager, Reachology
Facebook has told its almost 60,000 staff around the world that they can choose to base their working days around the office and their homes — the hybrid model that’s increasingly becoming the norm as companies try to lure remote-working employees back to the office amid the pandemic.
“You have a morning of productive, energising meetings at the office. You grab lunch with some coworkers, then head out to run a few errands. After you’re done, you head back to your place to finish up your day from the comfort of your own home,” the social media giant now under the umbrella of Meta says in an explanation to current and future workers.
Apple is among a growing number of major firms adopting the hybrid working model, in a corporate move that may trickle down to the smallest of businesses. It’s designed, said CEO Tim Cook, to provide “more opportunity to travel, be closer to your loved ones, or simply shake up your routines.”
Since covid-19 forced businesses in many sectors to work remotely, many are grappling with what to do now that there may be an end in sight to the health emergency: maintain working from home, force a return to the office — or both, and the best of both worlds, for firms and their staff. Some, like our digital PR agency, are happy to remain remote, but it’s not the same for every company.
Hybrid working: the advantages
While many people might love working from home, others don’t and can struggle with the relative isolation, especially if they live alone, as they might not see a single person all day. Work, after all, is a huge part of our lives, and there’s a major social aspect to it too. Like, love or despise your bosses and colleagues, there’s a lot to be said for the camaraderie that’s built up in office and other work environments. It’s no wonder so many of us end up meeting our spouses while on the job — up to a third of relationships begin at work.
For others, it’s less about flirting and more about climbing the corporate ladder. How can you get that promotion you’ve been after for ages if you’re not seen by your bosses, in the office, where your rival candidates spend lots, if not all, of their time?
Then there’s the growing phenomenon of “Zoom fatigue”, with all those virtual meetings wearing us out instead of doing the opposite and helping us to be creative and better collaborate. There is no real substitute, it turns out, for meeting people in the flesh and thrashing everything out. And, as research on the subject surmises, we may be doing way more Zooming than in-person meeting, because of its ease and convenience.
So the hybrid work model — spending part of the working week in the office and part at home — conveys the advantages of both environments. It gives employees the social and career-development benefits they may want while also allowing them to have the kind of flexible and balanced work-home life they’ve become used to over the last nearly two years. And it seems it’s a workable solution — happy, productive workers, even happier bosses:
A new era of hybrid working post-covid?
Whether all companies are going to give their staff the option of hybrid working, if they’re able to and when the pandemic is finally over, remains to be seen. Some firms, and even entire countries, like the UK, are planning to offer employees the choice of working from home permanently, if that’s their wish.
Whatever the case, there’s no denying that covid has changed the way we work, with the internet giving us all the option to keep on working, communicating, learning and playing, and companies all over the world are adapting everything from their working schedules to digital PR strategies to take advantage.
One company, British-based digital bank Atom, has recently decided, for instance, to work a four-day week, saying the pandemic had taught it that the wellbeing of staff is paramount to its operations. “Before covid, the conventional wisdom was you had to commute in, sit at a desk all day and repeat that process when you commuted home,” chief executive Mark Mullen said.
“Covid showed us that it wasn’t necessary … I think doing 9-5, Monday to Friday is a pretty old-fashioned way of working.”
For the future of work, it’s all change, but there are challenges — perhaps foremost among them when operating remotely or using the hybrid model is how to maintain company culture when people are spread all over the place. One way is to ensure there’s a robust digital presence that will uphold a business’ ethos and connect workers no matter where they are.
Want to boost your brands’ image and presence in the digital world, and grow your sales? Find out how, from Reachology’s experts in digital PR strategies, by getting a free initial consultation — book yours now.