Everyone’s been in a situation where you have to compromise with somebody and to meet in the middle, whether it’s with a new hire during salary negotiations or a fussy toddler at bedtime. In those situations, the best path forward is often a blend of what both parties would like to receive: A slightly lower salary in return for more time off. A promise to go to sleep after one more bedtime story.
For those who don’t see eye to eye on remote and in-person work, a hybrid workplace model offers the best of both worlds. Employees still get some time to work from home and other days to collaborate together in the office.
About 31% of employees prefer a hybrid work model, according to Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work 2022. And since getting a taste of the perks of remote work during the pandemic, 84% of workers surveyed in the U.K. say they plan on prioritizing a mix of in-person and at-home work in the future.
A hybrid workplace model can help you appeal to these employees so you can attract and retain top talent while maintaining a strong company culture. But it takes thoughtful planning and implementation to be successful in a hybrid environment.
What is a Hybrid Workplace Model?
A hybrid workplace model is a combination of remote and in-person work. It typically involves employees working some days from home and some days in the office or other designated group location. On their days outside of the office, employees might work from their house, coffee shop, or co-working space — whatever suits their fancy. On the days when the team is gathering for in-person work, they might meet at company HQ or at an off-site location for a collaborative working session.
This arrangement can be further customized based on the size of your team, the tasks they need to complete, or the region in which you operate. Hybrid workplaces might also have flexible schedules that allow people to customize their working hours so they can attend family obligations, care for children or other relatives, or make the most of their free time outside of work.
At its core, the purpose of the hybrid workplace is to create a flexible working environment that caters to the varied needs and preferences of employees while also creating opportunities for them to collaborate. The structure that accomplishes those goals within your business context is the best set-up for your organization.
Types of Hybrid Workplace Models
There are a few different types of hybrid workplace models, empowering you to choose the best one for your organization.
Full-time remote with in-person visits
This model involves employees who work full-time from home, but occasionally come into the office for in-person meetings or to check in with leadership. Usually, teams meet pretty infrequently — think once a month or once a quarter. This way, employees who value a regular remote schedule can stick to it.
Part-time remote with in-person visits
This model prioritizes working at a physical office but allows employees to work from home occasionally — maybe once a week or on an as-needed basis. This setup offers the employees some flexibility to stay at home if they need to take care of something, but primarily work in the office to collaborate with their teammates face-to-face.
Here, employees usually have a set weekly schedule where they work from home a specific number of days and work from the office a specific number of days. Here's an example of a fixed schedule: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are in-office days, and Wednesday and Friday are remote days.
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. workers (63%) say their employer requires them to come to the office a set number of days per week or month, according to the Pew Research Center. For 59% of respondents, they're in the office three days a week. That number drops to two days or less for 41% of surveyed workers.
This model involves employees who are in and out of the office based on their individual schedules. They could work one day in the office at their convenience, then work from home for the remainder of the week. Or, if they feel more productive in the office, they could choose to come in three days a week and work from home two days to save on commuting costs.
Flexible schedules usually leave it up to the employee or their manager to decide the ideal working arrangements for collaboration, focus, and personal preferences.
Benefits of Hybrid Working Arrangements
A hybrid workplace model offers a range of benefits for employees and employers alike. Here are just a few:
- Increased productivity: Working from home allows employees to stay focused on the task at hand without distractions like chitchat in the halls or loud music coming from neighboring cubicles. Nearly two-thirds of employees (62%) feel more productive while working remotely, according to Owl Labs. And when they come into the office, they can take part in team brainstorming sessions and other collaborative activities to boost productivity.
- Improved employee wellbeing: Working from home can be an effective way to reduce stress and free up more time to unplug. At the same time, employees can still come into the office to bond with their colleagues as needed, which can help them feel connected and supported. Workers are well aware of these benefits, too — 59% of knowledge workers surveyed by Salesforce said that hybrid work arrangements would improve their psychological wellbeing, and 54% said the same about their physical wellbeing.
- Increased satisfaction and retention: Offering a mix of remote and in-person work can help team members feel respected by the company and improve your overall employee experience. Out of employees who feel they're "productive anywhere", 42% strongly intend to stay with their current employer, compared to 18% of "productive nowhere" employees, according to Accenture.
- Boosted engagement and collaboration: Working in an office gives employees the opportunity to form relationships, share ideas, and work together on projects. When teams come together for a few days each week, they can collaborate more effectively and build a stronger culture of trust. And hybrid work environments are tied to greater levels of employee engagement, according to research from McKinsey.
Challenges of a Hybrid Workplace Model
Of course, no workplace model is without its challenges. Here are some of the issues you might face when transitioning to a hybrid setup:
- Employee exhaustion and burnout: With hybrid teams, there’s a risk of employees feeling overwhelmed by the constant switching between remote and in-person work. Over 70% of employees reported feeling exhausted from their hybrid work schedules, according to a Tinypulse survey of 100 global workers.Team members may need support to manage their workload without a consistent schedule, as this stress can lead to burnout if not managed properly.
- Operational costs: A hybrid environment might require more investments from the organization, such as setting up remote work technology or maintaining physical workspaces and infrastructure.
- Logistics: It can be difficult to organize and manage remote and in-person workers, especially if you have employees across different offices, states, or countries. Organizations typically have to sort out communication channels as well as in-office schedules and hoteling when employees are on site.
- Security: Working with data or sensitive information poses a risk no matter where your team works, but it can be especially challenging in a hybrid environment. You may need to review and update your data security protocols regularly when working with both a remote workforce and in-person teams.
Focus on Employee Wellness to Maximize Your Workplace Model
Whether you’re shifting to a hybrid workplace model or looking to improve your existing hybrid arrangement, try to keep workforce wellness at the center of your process. This guidepost can help you make decisions when selecting between trade offs, and can provide assurance to your team members as you all navigate the transition.
There are plenty of ways to embed employee wellbeing into your hybrid office, whether employees are primarily remote or they love coming to the office most days. You could point them in the direction of some quick fitness challenges to break up the Zoom fatigue and make their days a little more exciting. Or you could invite a nutrition, wellness, or yoga instructor to spark some connectivity during an in-office day.
If you want help crafting employee wellness programs for a hybrid work model, chat with one of Gympass’ wellbeing specialists today!
- Alexander, Andrea, Mysore, Mihir, Cracknell, Rich, De Smet, Aaron, Langstaff, Meredith, and Ravid, Dan. (May 17, 2021.) What executives are saying about the future of hybrid work. McKinsey. Retrieved April 4, 2023 from https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/what-executives-are-saying-about-the-future-of-hybrid-work
- Hoteling in the Workplace. SpaceIQ. Retrieved April 4, 2023 from https://spaceiq.com/blog/what-is-hoteling-in-the-workplace/
- Is hybrid working here to stay? (May 23, 2022.) Office for National Statistics – Business Insights and Conditions Survey. Retrieved April 4, 2023 from https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/ishybridworkingheretostay/2022-05-23
- Parker, Kim. (March 30, 2023.) About a third of U.S. workers who can work from home now do so all the time. Pew Research Center. Retrieved April 4, 2023 from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2023/03/30/about-a-third-of-us-workers-who-can-work-from-home-do-so-all-the-time/
- 72% of Employees Plan to Change How They Work Post-Pandemic. (May 17, 2021.) Salesforce. Retrieved April 4, 2023 from https://www.salesforce.com/news/stories/employees-plan-to-change-how-they-work-post-pandemic/
- Singh, Arpinder, Godugula, Harshavardhan, and Watson, Richard. (August 2, 2022.) How security risks are impacting hybrid work models. EY. Retrieved April 4, 2023 from https://www.ey.com/en_in/forensic-integrity-services/how-security-risks-are-impacting-hybrid-work-models
- State of Employee Engagement Q3 2021. Tinypulse. Retrieved April 4, 2023 from https://www.tinypulse.com/state-of-employee-engagement-q3-2021
- State of Remote Work 2022. Owl Labs. Retrieved April 4, 2023 from https://owllabs.com/state-of-remote-work/2022
- Smith, Christie. (November 29, 2022.) Future of work research. Accenture. Retrieved April 4, 2023 from https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/consulting/future-work
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.