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The world of work has changed drastically in the past two or so years. Certain world events completely disrupted all aspects of life, but few have been altered more than the working world. The pandemic forced businesses to adapt to operational and logistical nightmares, but the result has been lasting flexibility and power to employees. Virtual meetings became the norm for most industries and teams quickly transitioned to this way of working together. More than 2 years on, employees are still enjoying more flexibility and control over their working routines – but the benefits are being felt by employers just as much. Many businesses are going full steam ahead with remote and hybrid models – in this article, we’ll explore why you might just want to do the same.
What are remote and hybrid working?
Remote and hybrid working has been around for decades, first described as “telecommuting”. The format is nothing new, but it was only acceptable or viable in certain lines of work. The pandemic forced companies to adapt to travel and lockdown restrictions, meaning that whole teams transitioned to digital communication platforms such as Zoom, Teams, and Google Meet.
Those on remote working contracts work exclusively from their own home or choice of workspace whilst communicating and collaborating with colleagues through digital spaces. This working model is a popular choice for digital-based businesses, where physical interaction is less important than brick-and-mortar retail, for example.
Hybrid working is a middle ground option that many employers have favored since the return to non-essential offices was allowed. Employees on hybrid contracts often work some days at home and some in the office each week, depending on work and leisure commitments mostly. This model is popular with professionals because it gives them the ability to maintain a better work-life balance and save time and money on commuting. This has also allowed them to live further away from the office and commute in when needed. Staying in a serviced apartment for the duration of a project is a viable option to avoid commuting in and out every day during in-person project work.
Why should your business be further embracing these models?
There are many positives for employees when it comes to remote and hybrid working, but employers can enjoy significant benefits too. Below we explore some of these in more detail.
Numerous studies have shown that employee productivity increases when working from home, which is a reason in itself for employers to accommodate it more. This is likely because of the lack of distractions usually found in an office, such as regular chats with colleagues. That’s not to say that there aren’t distractions at home, and not everyone will work better in their own space. However, many people find it easier to concentrate at home rather than in the office.
Embracing more flexible working models can also have a very positive impact on recruitment and talent acquisition. Businesses can realistically consider a wider talent pool for each role and this increases competition and the chances of finding better-suited candidates. People looking for jobs are also more commonly looking for flexible working practices, so embracing these models is a great way to attract talent. The labor market has shifted somewhat to give candidates more power, so you certainly have to offer more as employers if you want to remain competitive in the job market.
Employee Retention and Satisfaction
It’s not just potential employees that respond well to flexible working options – it can boost your employee retention and satisfaction which is important for business health and sustainability. Employees that can work in the way that suits them best are more likely to feel comfortable and motivated in their role and less likely to look elsewhere for a job.
Remote and hybrid working provide opportunities for businesses to lower overheads too. Big office spaces are expensive, so with fewer people coming in every day, smaller offices are becoming more viable for some which can reduce costs significantly in the long term. Combine this with the increased productivity of remote and hybrid workers and you’re looking at a nice rise in profitability.
Are there any downsides?
Of course, there are certain factors that you have to consider if you’re placing more emphasis on remote and hybrid working. You need to be able to trust your employees, first and foremost. Plus, you’ll need to rethink and adapt how you support your employees that work from a distance. Working from home can increase the risk of isolation, whilst health and wellbeing concerns are more difficult to mitigate. But with effective planning and policy, you can support employees working from home just as much as in the office.