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Hybrid Working
10 MIN

What Is Hybrid Work and Why Should You Care?

As the world becomes more digital, more businesses are implementing hybrid work policies. But what is hybrid work in the first place?
Reem Abouemera
Copy Writer / Content writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses of all sizes to change the way they operate. In particular, many companies have had to adopt remote work policies out of necessity. Now, even as some semblance of normalcy returns, many businesses are choosing to keep remote work as an option for their employees, while others are adopting what’s known as a hybrid work model.

Since the hybrid work model is a relatively new concept, you may be wondering what it is exactly? In this post, we’ll answer that question and explain why you can no longer afford to ignore this growing trend.

What Is Hybrid Work?

Simply, hybrid work means a mix of remote and on-site work. In a hybrid model, employees have the option to work from home some of the time and come into the office for the rest of the week. This setup gives employees more flexibility and autonomy while still allowing them to collaborate with their team in person.

So if one employee prefers to work from home two days a week and come into the office for the other three, they can arrange their schedule accordingly. Or, if another employee finds they’re more productive working from home four days a week, they can structure their week that way instead.

The Different Types of Hybrid Work

There are a few different types of hybrid work models businesses can choose from, depending on their needs and preferences. Below are the main ones:

  • Remote-First: In a remote-first model, the priority is given to employees working from home, with coming into the office only being a few days a week or not at all. This model best suits businesses with employees who don’t need to be in the office often, such as those in sales or customer service.
  • Office-First: The office-first model is the opposite of remote-first, in that employees mainly work from the office and only work from home a few days a week, or not at all. This model best suits businesses where face-to-face collaboration is key, such as design or engineering.
  • Employee Led/At-Will: In an employee-led or at-will model, employees have the autonomy to choose when they work from home and when they come into the office. This model is best suited for businesses with employees who need a high degree of flexibility, such as those with young children or elderly parents.
  • Manager Scheduling: In a manager scheduling model, managers (in coordination with the team) decide when their employees work from home and when they come into the office. This model best suits businesses where managers need more control over their team’s schedules, such as retail or hospitality.
  • Split-Week/Company-Led/Fixed Schedule: In a split-week or company-led model, employees are assigned to work from home on certain days or weeks and come into the office for the rest–all the time. This model best suits businesses with team members who need to be in the office regularly, such as those in production or administration.

Why Is Hybrid Work Important and Here to Stay?

Now, you might be wondering why hybrid work is such a big deal and why it’s here to stay. Here's what makes hybrid work so important:

Many Companies Are Adopting It

According to Microsoft, 66% of decision-makers are thinking about redesigning their physical spaces to better accommodate a hybrid work model. Not just that, but 74% of U.S. companies are either already using or considering using a permanent hybrid work model.

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This trend is being driven by the pandemic, as businesses are realizing that they don’t need all their employees in the office full-time to be productive. Accordingly, companies that don't adopt a hybrid work model will soon find themselves at a disadvantage.

Employees Crave It

The pandemic has forced many employees to work from home, whether they wanted to or not. And now that they’ve had a taste of the remote work lifestyle, they don’t want to go back to working in an office full-time.

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According to research by McKinsey& Company, 52% of employees prefer a more flexible working model post-pandemic. What's more, more than 30%  of employees said they’d leave their current job if it meant they had to go back to working in an office full-time.

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The role of hybrid work in the war for talent is clear–companies that don't offer a hybrid work option will have a more challenging time attracting and retaining top talent.

It's Good for Business

There are many benefits of hybrid work for businesses, such as increased productivity, lower costs, and improved employee retention. Let's take a closer look at each one:

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Increased Productivity

According to a study by Stanford, employees who work from home are 13% more productive than those who work in an office. This is because working from home eliminates distractions and allows employees to focus on their work, especially with factors like commuting to work and office chatter removed from the equation.

Not just that, but employees start working when they're feeling most productive, instead of during set office hours. This means that work gets done faster and more efficiently because people are working during the times when they're able to focus the best.

Lower Real Estate Costs

Offices are expensive–you have to pay for rent, furniture, utilities, and so on. By letting employees work from home, you can save on these costs. In fact, businesses can save up to $11,000 per year for each employee who works from home half the time. By saving on real estate costs, you can reinvest that money back into your business or use it to fund other projects.

Improved Work-Life Balance

Working from home can also lead to a better work-life balance for employees. With no commute and the ability to create their own schedules, employees have more time for family, friends, and hobbies. 67% of employees say that their work-life balance has improved since they started to work remotely, so it's clear that this is a big perk of hybrid work.

Higher Employee Retention Rates

Employees who have a hybrid work option are more likely to stick around than those who don't. That's because hybrid work allows employees to have a better work-life balance, which they highly prioritize, so when it happens, it leads to increased job satisfaction.

In fact, companies that offer a good work-life balance have 25% less employee turnover, so in today’s war for talent, if you want to keep your best employees, this is a good way to do it.

Access to a Greater Talent Pool

One of the main benefits of hybrid work is that you can easily access a global talent pool and hire the best people for the job, no matter where they live. You basically open up your company to the entire world instead of just those who live near your office. This is especially beneficial if you're in a small town or city where there's not a lot of talent to choose from.

You can also attract top talent that might not have considered working for your company because of the location of your office. Gone are the days of only being able to hire from a small pool of local candidates.

Maximized Sustainability

When work was purely in-person, there was a lot of wasted paper, energy, and other resources. Not to mention, the daily commutes of employees added pollution to the environment.

Now that work can be done remotely, there's a minimized environmental impact. For example, there's less need for paper since a lot of communication and collaboration can happen online. 

And since employees are working from home, there are fewer cars on the road and less pollution being emitted. Similarly, during the cold winter months, there's less need to heat up a large office space–employees can simply work from the comfort of their own homes.

This is good news for the environment and for your company's sustainability efforts. In fact, it's also good for your bottom line–it's estimated that going paperless, for example, can save businesses $80 per employee per year, so there are financial benefits as well.

Healthier Employees

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, there's been a greater focus on employee health and safety. When employees are working from home, they have a lower exposure to illnesses since they're not in close contact with other people. Additionally, remote work can lead to healthier lifestyles since employees have more time for exercise and cooking healthy meals.

Of course, there are some health risks that come with working from home as well, such as back pain and eye strain. However, these risks can be minimized with the right ergonomic setup and by taking breaks throughout the day. But being at the office in this era of social distancing isn't without its risks either, so working from home is still the safer option for employees.

What About the Challenges of Hybrid Working?

Since this new working model is still a relatively new concept, there are bound to be some bumps along the road. These are the main challenges of hybrid working.

Limited Interpersonal Relationships & Risk of Poor Communication 

With hybrid work, it can be difficult to keep everyone on the same page when some team members are in the office and others aren't. Leaders are often out of touch with employees since they're not in the office to interact face-to-face. As a result, it's essential to have a clear and concise communication strategy in place.

Without one, it's easy for things to get lost in translation–which can lead to a decline in productivity, engagement, and morale. It's also important to make sure that everyone is aware of the company's communication channels and how to use them. For instance, Slack could be for quick updates and questions, email could be for more formal communications, and video conferencing could be for team meetings.

It's also important to encourage employees to interact with one another, even if they're not in the same physical space. This can help build relationships and foster a sense of community, both of which are essential for a successful hybrid team.

Scheduling Conflicts

It can be tricky to create a work schedule that accommodates both remote and in-office employees. For example, you might have team members who live in different time zones or who have different work schedules.

Disconnect Between Employers' and Employees' Wants

While employees might prefer a hybrid work model, employers might not be so keen on it. That's because employers are used to having their employees in the office, where they can keep a close eye on them. This can lead to tension between employers and employees as each side tries to get what they want.

Technological Needs

Because hybrid work requires employees to have access to both in-person and online collaboration tools, it's important to have the right technology in place. This includes communication tools like Slack or Teams, video conferencing tools like Zoom, workplace booking solutions (like Tribeloo), and more.

If you don't have the right technology, it can be difficult to manage a hybrid team and stay connected. Employees may feel like they're not getting the support they need, which can lead to frustration and a decline in productivity.

It's also important to make sure that all employees have access to the same technology and that it's easy to use. If some employees are using one set of tools and others are using something different, it can create a disconnect and make it difficult to collaborate.

Lack of Buy-In from Employees

Another challenge of hybrid work is that not all employees may be on board with the idea. Some may prefer to work in the office full-time, while others may want to work from home full-time. And then there are those who may be somewhere in the middle, preferring a mix of both.

The key to getting buy-in from employees is to survey them and get to know their preferences. Once you have a better understanding of what your employees want, you can build a hybrid policy that works for everyone. Generally, avoid making any changes without first consulting your employees–this will only make them resent the change and be less likely to embrace it.

Difficulty Stimulating Employees to Come Back to the Office

While hybrid work gives employees the flexibility to work from home when they want, it can be difficult to get them to come back to the office. After all, why would they want to leave the comfort of their homes when they can get their work done just as well there?

One way to encourage employees to come back to the office is using incentives, which 88% of companies are already doing, according to Envoy. These can be things like food and beverage programs, happy hours, company-wide events, and more. Investing in opportunities that delight your employees will help ignite company culture and make people want the workplace experience.

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It's just that employees working from home may forget about what it felt like to be in the office and all of the benefits that came with it, so a nudge in the right direction to remind them of the workplace experience may be necessary.


Since hybrid work gives employees the flexibility to work from home, there's a risk that they'll end up working more hours than they would if they were in the office. That's for a variety of reasons–including the fact that they may feel like they need to prove their worth since they're not in the office full-time. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

The result of this will simply be employees who are overworked and burnt out–neither of which is good for business. Unfortunately, burnout is a major problem in today's workforce, with 75% of workers saying that they've experienced burnout at some point.

To prevent this, it's important to set boundaries and expectations around work hours. Employees should know when they're expected to be available and when they're not to help prevent them from overworking themselves. It's also important to encourage employees to take breaks and use their vacation days–both of which can help reduce the risk of burnout.

The Takeaway: Hybrid Work Is the Next Great Disruption!

The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of hybrid work, and there's no turning back. It's now evident that hybrid work is the next great disruption, and businesses need to be prepared.

Remember that the role of hybrid work in the war for talent is one that can't just be ignored. Employees have already made up their minds and decided that they want a more flexible work model. If you don't offer it, they'll simply find another company that does.

So if you're not already on board with the hybrid work trend, now is the time! Just make sure to have proper hybrid work policies in place to help overcome the challenges that come with it. Tribeloo can help you tackle these challenges and make the transition to hybrid work seamless! Request a demo.


Reem Abouemera

As a content writer who has tried it all when it comes to working models– from the traditional 9-5 in an office to fully working remotely and everything in between. Reem now puts her experience with the various working style into words at Tribeloo, ultimately helping others make more informed decisions about their own work lives.

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