Hybrid Work Environments: Company Benefit or a Way of the Future?

What used to be a luxury quickly became the only viable option for sustainable operation when things came to a halt back in 2020. If you were in an industry that didn’t require you to be physically present, well, you weren’t – and over the last two and a half years, companies have begun to completely rework their operation standards to include the ability to work from home on a permanent basis.

It’s become the norm to see the words “remote” or “hybrid” when scrolling the jobs section of LinkedIn or Indeed – many businesses discovered the work was being done just fine with folks working from a home office (or kitchen counter or couch) – and in some cases, it was being done better than ever.

Recent studies conducted over the past 2 years have found that working from home not only benefits employees by eliminating their daily commutes, but it also increases productivity and leads to healthier lifestyles. It’s a win-win situation that workers relish for its flexibility, and ultimately instills an unspoken sense of trust from their employers.

This discovery has opened doors for evolution of how we work in the corporate world, where for decades, progress seemed slow. To some, the attitude of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” became the new order: work was being done, bottom lines were being met, and people were still showing up.

However, with the forced inclusion of remote and hybrid work, major pain points being experienced by a large majority of the workforce were coming to light. Lack of work-life balance, mental and physical health, burnout, and fewer opportunities for one-on-one or team check ins with superiors are only some of the issues that were becoming highlighted, underlined, and bolded.

Despite the embrace of a hybrid model, though, most organizations – approximately 68 per cent, have only just begun to think through and articulate the specifics of how to carry out a more permanent mix of remote and on-site working for all roles that aren’t essential to perform on-site.

As a result, many employees are feeling anxious about their futures, as while the incorporation of hybrid models have been mostly positive, it leaves those in a non-decision making roles at the mercy of their superiors wondering how long it’ll last – how long will my new normal be normal?

It’s with a unique perspective that I’m able to look at hybrid and remote work models, as this undertaking has been used as a benefit for some time. Before the pandemic, work-from-home was often viewed as an incentive or a privilege, and in come respects, it still is. While I can’t prescribe a one-size-fit-all solution to this big, floating question mark, I can suggest a roadmap to uncovering the best possible solution to fit your workplace.

Candidly, this roadmap doesn’t have many stops – the biggest and most important one being: ask. Ask your employees what is and isn’t working for them. Begin given the freedom to communicate how arguably the biggest part of their life affects the other major pieces will not only result in respect for the final decision, but it will also give insight and real, tangible answers to the question.

Whether it’s administering a company wide survey, or simply asking employees their individual concerns, this will give you a clearer picture of people’s needs. You may even come to find that tailoring employees’ plans to their unique situations yields the best results.

Ultimately, what I’ve come to find out is that while benefits and perks like working from home are effective in incentivizing and rewarding, they’re even more effective when they’re tailored to fit. Yes, that suit might fight right off the rack, but I bet it’ll fit even better if you measure and adjust according to the person wearing it.