What is an Example of Hybrid Working?

Mike Marks Headshot

hybrid working; remote work, hybrid workMy previous blog discussed the differences between remote work and hybrid work. In this blog, we’ll dig a little deeper into some common questions about hybrid work. First, let’s set the stage with an example of hybrid working.

One example of hybrid working could be a team that consists of both in-office and remote workers who collaborate through digital tools and communication channels. For instance, the team may use the office for important meetings, team building activities or project kick-off, and then switch to remote work.

In this scenario, the remote workers have the flexibility to choose when and where they work, based on their job responsibilities and personal preferences. They can use digital tools and collaboration platforms to stay connected with their in-office colleagues, share files and information, and collaborate on projects. Meanwhile, the in-office workers have the opportunity to work face-to-face and build relationships with their colleagues, while also benefiting from the flexibility of remote work.

Overall, the hybrid working model enables teams to have the best of both worlds by allowing for flexibility, collaboration, and an optimal work-life balance. This example of hybrid working can apply across multiple industries—technology, creative services, professional services, etc.

What does a hybrid workplace look like?

A hybrid workplace can take on different forms depending on the organization’s needs and the preferences of its employees. However, most hybrid workplaces have some common features:

  1. A combination of in-person and remote work: By definition, a hybrid workplace allows employees to work both from the office and from remote locations, such as their homes or co-working spaces. When, and how often they do so, depends on the organization’s hybrid workplace policies.
  2. Flexibility: Employees have the flexibility to work in different environments, depending on their job responsibilities, personal preferences, and the model of hybrid work addressed below. The choice of where and when to work may not be entirely up to the employee. They may have the option to work from the office for important meetings or team activities and work remotely for the rest of their workweek.
  3. Digital tools and communication channels: To enable remote work and collaboration, a hybrid workplace relies on digital tools such as video conferencing software, messaging platforms, and cloud-based collaboration tools.
  4. Adequate infrastructure: A hybrid workplace requires adequate infrastructure, such as high-speed internet, secure VPN connections, and laptops or other mobile devices, to support remote work. The technical infrastructure enables employees to work productively and securely while remote.
  5. Work-life balance: Hybrid workplaces aim to provide employees with a better work-life balance by offering more flexibility in their work schedules, reducing commute times and costs, and allowing employees to work from home when needed.

Different types of hybrid working

Multiple hybrid working models exist. The best model for each organization will vary depending on the organization’s industry, customer base, and requirements for how the work gets done. Businesses can customize their hybrid working arrangements to meet the unique needs of their employees and organization.

  1. Rotation Model: In this model, teams rotate between working in the office and working remotely. For example, a team may work from the office for two days a week and remotely for the remaining three days. Many organizations are adopting this model to ensure that a critical mass of employees is in the office on particular days. This can help foster collaboration and a strong company culture.
  2. Flexibility Model: Here, employees have the flexibility to choose when and where they work, depending on their job responsibilities and personal preferences. For example, an employee may work from the office for important meetings and work from home for tasks that require more concentration. This model works best when employees are highly self-directed and when a high degree of trust exists within the organization. Managers have to be comfortable with empowering their employees to know when they need to come into the office.
  3. Task-Based Model: In this model, employees work remotely or in the office based on the nature of their job responsibilities. For example, an employee may work from the office for tasks that require collaboration and work remotely for tasks that require more independent work. Or, employees with certain roles may be required to be in the office most days.

Do employees prefer hybrid work?

Even as we put the COVID-19 pandemic in the rear-view mirror, many employees prefer a hybrid work model. A survey by McKinsey Company found that 75% of remote workers prefer a hybrid work model. PwC’s US Pulse Survey found that 72% of employees would like a mix of remote and in-person work.

The reasons for this preference vary, but some potential advantages of hybrid working for employees include a better work-life balance, lower commute times and expenses, increased flexibility, and the ability to avoid office distractions while still maintaining social connections with coworkers. The pandemic has shown that remote work can be effective, and many employees now value the flexibility that it offers.

Individual employee preferences vary, and some may still prefer full-time remote work or full-time in-person work depending on their job responsibilities, personal preferences, and individual circumstances. Management should consider the needs and preferences of their employees when designing their work arrangements.

When do employees prefer in-office work?

While many employees prefer hybrid or remote work models, some still prefer to work in an office. Some aspects of in-office work which may appeal to employees, or which are fundamental to the nature of the job include:

  1. Face-to-face interaction: Some employees prefer to work in an office because they enjoy face-to-face interaction with colleagues and the social atmosphere of a workplace. They may feel more energized and engaged when they are surrounded by people. On-the-job learning is far more effective in person, and the in-office environment is especially useful for younger people just entering the workforce, or those who are new to their jobs.
  2. Structure and routine: Employees who prefer to work in an office may also value structure and routine in their workday. They may prefer the clear separation between work and home life that an office provides. There’s a certain feeling of satisfaction and relief in being able to leave the job behind when you go home for the day.
  3. Collaborative environment: Some employees may work better when they collaborate with colleagues in person. They may prefer the ability to bounce ideas off of others and work together on projects. Teams involved in creative problem solving are more likely to do better in an office environment where the ideas can flow freely, and non-verbal communication can thrive.
  4. Specific resources or equipment: Some employees may require access to specific resources or equipment that are only available in an office environment. For example, they may need access to a laboratory, specialized software or hardware, or specific tools for their job. There’s just no getting around the workplace when you work on an assembly line, a blast furnace, or in a biopharmaceutical lab.
  5. Difficulty focusing at home: Some employees may find it challenging to focus on their work when they are at home. They may find it difficult to avoid distractions, such as household chores, family members, or to be sure, napping on the couch!

The IT challenges of hybrid work and how Riverbed addresses them

The shift to hybrid work presents several challenges for IT organizations as they strive to support their fellow employees. Some of the main challenges include:

  1. Security: With employees working from remote locations, there is an increased risk of security breaches and cyber-attacks. IT organizations must ensure that their remote workers have secure connections to company networks, and that company data is protected from unauthorized access. When security operations teams conduct forensic analysis of security threats, they need full-fidelity insight into every packet and flow, such as that provided by Riverbed Network Performance Management.
  2. Technology infrastructure: Hybrid work requires reliable and robust technology infrastructure to support remote work, such as high-speed internet, VPN access, cloud-based applications, and video conferencing tools. IT organizations must ensure that their systems can handle increased traffic and that remote workers have access to the necessary technology. Riverbed Acceleration enables organizations to accelerate any application over any network, to employees wherever they work.
  3. Device management: With employees using a variety of devices and operating systems to access company data, IT organizations must manage and secure these devices to ensure data protection and compliance with company policies. Only by measuring actual employee experience, like with Riverbed Aternity, can digital workplace teams ensure that they’re providing their employees with the devices and applications that enable them to be productive, wherever they work.
  4. Collaboration tools: Hybrid work requires effective collaboration tools that enable remote workers to stay connected with their in-office colleagues and collaborate on projects. IT organizations must provide reliable and easy-to-use collaboration tools that are accessible from any location. IT teams must manage the entire portfolio of collaboration tools on which their employees rely. Riverbed Aternity enables them to do that.
  5. Support: With remote workers, IT organizations must provide effective and timely technical support to address any issues that arise. This requires a different support model that can respond quickly to remote workers’ needs. The highly distributed nature of complex remote work environments makes this a challenge. IT teams can leverage Riverbed IQ to proactively identify and resolve complex issues, while minimizing the need for expensive “war room” troubleshooting processes.
  6. Training and education: With the adoption of new technologies and tools, IT organizations must provide ongoing training and education to their employees to ensure they are using these tools effectively and securely. Gartner refers to this as the “Digital Dexterity Gap.”

You can learn more about Riverbed’s solutions for managing the complexity of hybrid work by visiting our hybrid work solution page. Even better, you can start a Request Demo of our software to determine if it’s right for your organization.

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