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Andrew Arkley|May 24, 2023

What Is Hybrid Working? Our Expert Thoughts

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These days when you’re reading through job descriptions, you’ll often see a mention of ‘hybrid working’ – but what does hybrid working mean?

It’s becoming increasingly common. According to recent research from Accenture, 68% of high-growth companies have already embraced a model where their workers can be productive from anywhere they like.

And 83% of workers prefer it that way. But what does hybrid working mean and is it right for you?

In this quick guide we’ll explain what it is and the different types. We’ll also run through the pros and cons, so you can see whether it’s a style that suits the way you work.

What does hybrid working mean?

In a hybrid-working arrangement, a company’s employees split their working hours between the office and their homes. 

Usually when they’re not on-site, staff will work from home, but not always. If the employer doesn’t mind, they could work from a coffee shop or a public library, for example – but others will see working in public settings as a security risk.

Hybrid working has become a buzzword since the COVID-19 pandemic. Many employees suddenly became full-time remote workers at short notice, with social distancing measures preventing staff from working together in offices.

As the social distancing measures started to ease, companies began embracing the idea of letting staff come back to the office on certain days. Restricting the capacity on-site made work safer.

Many companies found that staff productivity didn’t dip when working remotely, plus they could potentially save money by using less office space. As a result, plenty of employers continue to offer hybrid working today, even with COVID-19 under control.

What are the different types of hybrid working?

Different employers will have varying approaches. What does hybrid working mean for their staff in a typical week?

The model should fall into one of the following categories – while they may not always specify this in job adverts, you can ask for precise details during the recruitment process:

#1 Split-week hybrid working

The employer specifies which days of the week its staff come to the office or work remotely. It’s a type of fixed hybrid working.

This model helps guarantee that employees within a specific department are all in the office on a particular day. For example, the marketing department staff might work together on-site every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but remotely the rest of the week.

This model also works well when there isn’t enough office space for everyone to come into work at the same time, perhaps because the company has grown quickly.

#2 Week-by-week hybrid working

Common during the pandemic, this is another type of fixed hybrid working.

It’s similar to split-week working in that the employer determines both the number of days staff work remotely and also, which days these are.

The difference is that with this model, a team works fully on-site one week and fully remotely the next.

#3 Flexible hybrid working

In contrast to the previous models, with flexible hybrid working the staff can choose which days they go to the office. They can also decide how many days a week they come in – if any.

This approach lets staff decide how they can be most productive. For example, if they need to collaborate or attend important meetings, they can use the office – but when they need to concentrate without any workplace distractions, they can go remote. 

#4 Office-first hybrid working

This is similar to split-week hybrid working in that staff will tend to spend most of their week on-site.

The difference is that they can choose which days they go to the office or work remotely.

#5 Remote-first hybrid working

As with flexible hybrid working, employees will usually work remotely most of the time.

Sometimes, they will work on-site with colleagues. However, this tends to be on an ad-hoc basis and the office days may vary week-to-week.

man on phone, going to work

The pros and cons of hybrid working

So, what does hybrid working mean for staff satisfaction and wellbeing? To some extent, the advantages and disadvantages depend on which model their employer adopts.

It’s also a matter of personal taste – some staff feel more productive in an office, while others find it easier to get more done remotely.

Pros for employees:

  • Saving time and money on commuting
  • Spending more time with family
  • Fewer geographical restrictions on job applications
  • More choice and flexibility over work style
  • Greater opportunity to work independently

Cons for employees:

  • Feeling more isolated when working remotely
  • More challenging to collaborate
  • Harder to embrace company culture in different locations
  • Less visibility over team members’ working hours and practices
  • Risk of less separation between work and personal life

Again, the pros and cons of hybrid working can be subjective. If you’re not used to hybrid working, it can take time to adapt – but once you’re more familiar with it, you may find ways to overcome any setbacks.

Final thoughts: What does hybrid working mean?

In a hybrid working model, employees spend some of the time on-site and the rest of it at a remote location – usually at home, but not always.

What does hybrid working mean for employees? Many see an improved work-life balance, but some find the reduced face-to-face interaction a difficult challenge to resolve.

If an employer provides a hybrid working arrangement, they may also offer ‘flexitime’ – this lets staff work different hours of the day, beyond a traditional nine-to-five or nine-to-six.

Also bear in mind that those who work from home may be eligible for some tax relief – take a look at our guide to see if that applies to you.If you’re applying for a job that offers hybrid working, just let us know if we can help. We write fully tailored and personalised CVs, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles – please get in touch for more information.

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