February 18th, 2022

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of implementing a hybrid workforce?

What is a hybrid workforce?

A hybrid workforce sometimes refers to the practice of hiring full-time employees, part-time employees, and contractors. The idea of using a hybrid workforce isn’t a new one. In fact, it's been around for quite some time. Traditionally, businesses have used a mix of both full-time and part-time employees to complete tasks as needed.

With the rise in gig work and contracting, the concept of a hybrid workforce really took off over the past decade. In more recent years, companies have become increasingly interested in what a “hybrid workforce” can do for them from a business perspective. Leaders began looking at how to make their companies more agile and effective. As they started exploring creative ways to be more efficient with the work that they did and how it was distributed, the conversations about hybrid working primarily focused on whether it was cost-effective or questioning how they might use it to optimize their operations.

The hybrid workforce is the future of business. Here’s why.

To help account for the growing practice of hiring a mixture of full-time remote employees, part-time remote employees, and office-based workers, the definition of a hybrid workforce is expanding. Now, a hybrid workforce commonly refers to a workforce that's made up of employees who alternate between working on-site and remotely.

There's been a significant jump in the number of companies interested in implementing a hybrid workforce. According to a recently released report from Microsoft, 81% of enterprise organizations have started making the move toward becoming hybrid.

This growing interest in hybrid work is thanks in large part to the success companies saw after being thrown into the world of remote work during the pandemic. It can also be attributed to major shifts impacting the job market today. Not only must employers address the surge in employee demand for these new work models, but they also have to face hiring and retention challenges amidst a labor shortage and the 'Great Resignation' — the trend of workers quitting their jobs in favor of better pay, better opportunities, better benefits, or a better balance between their personal and professional lives.

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Pros and cons of a hybrid workforce in 2022

There are both advantages and disadvantages to this type of workforce setup. Let's explore the pros and cons of implementing a hybrid workforce in greater detail.

Main advantages of a hybrid workforce

The traditional workplace arrangement, where companies hire an employee and they are physically present in the office full-time, is the opposite of the hybrid workplace. Compared to a traditional workforce, it can provide companies with several advantages, including:

  • Can be more cost-effective for space and equipment
  • Gives employees more flexibility and freedom
  • Expands the company's opportunities for growth

For business leaders and those managing the workplace, the primary advantage of switching to a hybrid work model is that it’s much more cost-effective. Implementing a hybrid workforce can expand your company’s reach to new markets, while also saving money on office space and equipment. 

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A hybrid workforce is a great way to take advantage of the positive aspects of both remote and in-person work. Companies that embrace this model successfully support provide their people say-so over their workday while still putting a premium on human interaction and face-to-face collaboration. In other words, companies that are based on a hybrid workforce get the best of both worlds.

Hybrid workforces are built around flexibility and freedom. This is a growing trend in today’s workforce and was originally popularized by startups and tech companies. Since the growth of remote work and the gig economy, the concept of a distributed workforce can be applied to many industries, not just tech. Even small businesses can benefit from having a hybrid workforce. This is because they can save on office expenses and also attract a wider range of applicants when hiring.

Main disadvantages of a hybrid workforce

It is no secret that the trend of offering remote work as a perk has taken off in the past decade. This flexibility is a huge plus for many workers, who can use their mobile phones to schedule their workweek in advance and know where they'll be working before they even leave home. On the other hand, it's not right for every company and there are several disadvantages to keep in mind:

  • Makes managing people more complex
  • Can cause employees to feel overwhelmed or disconnected
  • Increases risk of cybersecurity risks and data privacy issues

A hybrid workforce can be a major disadvantage for companies that are not well-prepared for this new form of working. Don't overlook employee concerns while preparing your office space for your return. A hybrid workforce is great for employees who want to work flexible hours, but bad for employers who do not have the tools to manage remote workers effectively. It can become challenging to support your employees if they all work from different locations at different hours and have different work needs.

One of the main disadvantages of a hybrid workforce is that you have to bridge the gaps between those who are working in the office and those who are remote. According to a recent global study conducted by employee engagement platform Tinypulse, over 80% of people leaders reported that hybrid work was exhausting for employees. And employees, too, reported that hybrid work was more emotionally taxing than both fully remote and fully on-site work arrangements. Investments in digital tools that facilitate collaboration, make information accessible to everyone, and support mobility and flexibility should be considered to help your hybrid workforce thrive. 

When you have a hybrid workforce, you also need to take a fresh look at your company's cybersecurity policies and consider what updates need to be made to secure company data. In addition to investing in protection systems, threat analysis software, malware detection software, and cybersecurity systems, there are several actions you can take to help mitigate cybersecurity risks and minimize the likelihood of data breaches and compliance issues. Good cybersecurity and data protection practices should be top of mind for your whole organization, so employees should have regularly scheduled training on best practices and company policies.

Must-have technology for a hybrid workforce

Using technology to support your hybrid workforce will help save money on office space and reduce wasted space, saving your company money in the long run. Additional advantages include higher employee satisfaction and increased productivity.

Workplace analytics software

Organizational success is within reach and closer than ever when you connect the data you get from your space booking systems with workplace analytics software. It's an easy way to provide leadership with deeper insights into space utilization and peak times spaces are being used. That type of information will be hugely important both while companies return to the office and afterward, as the transformation of how and where we work continues to unfold.

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Mobile employee experience app

People use their phones to quickly order food, schedule appointments on their calendars, plug a new address into their GPS. For your employees, the ability to access desk booking, wayfinding, and room reservation tools directly from their mobile devices via an easy-to-use employee app makes coming into the office a simple and hassle-free experience. It's precisely the kind of convenience and simplicity people deserve. Plus, the less time they have to spend tackling tedious, time-consuming tasks the more time they have for high-value add activities. And with less time in the office, every second counts.

There are new rules for creating workplace happiness for today's hybrid workforce. Download our guide to learn how to recognize employee burnout and get tips on how to overcome it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Teem

Teem by iOFFICE provides enterprises with space scheduling and management, workplace analytics, building, and campus wayfinding, and visitor management to help cultivate workplaces that fuel productivity, efficiency, and creativity.

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