Hybrid, Flexible, and Remote work may seem interchangeable but they are not. Aspects surrounding these work models such as working hours, how to set team goals, and ways to effectively collaborate are gray areas. Below you will find definitions of these newly popular terms and ways how you can use them for your team.
What the three work models have in common is that employees (to some extent) are given the choice to be productive outside of the four corners of the office. By not being primarily present in the workplace, it would seem like a nightmare to impose these systems. However, companies who figure out how to balance employees’ preferences and productivity can offer hybrid work, flexible schedules, or remote work as benefits to attract talents to the company.
Let’s take a look at the differences among the three and how your company can implement them.
Remote work is basically working away from your enterprise’s usual place of business. Since the pandemic hit in 2020, work has been widely established as the thing you do instead of it being the place you are. The world had realized that work does not always have to be at the office. You can be at home in the suburbs, in your apartment in the big city, at a vacation spot, or at a coffee shop and still be working. In the beginning, companies imposed remote work to ensure everyone’s safety from the virus. As employees started to realize how comfortable and productive they can be despite not going back to the office, remote work has steadily become more and more preferable. Productivity tools in the past were all about being fancy and were considered “nice-to-haves”. During COVID-19, they became a necessity overnight.
Remote Work Implementation tip:
Cloud-based collaboration tools are capable of allowing teams to work both asynchronously and synchronously wherever they may be. Paid and free options are available in the market which is ideal for any company’s budget (or lack thereof). TechRadar in their blog post highlighted some of the best online collaboration tools available in 2021. These days, remote employees need not worry about things like being left out, proximity bias, and being unable to feel connected to their peers. Moreover, once employees decide that remote work is more preferable for them and if the company permits it, then an agile workspace can be set up for that employee. In other words, office space may not be assigned to them anymore as they are now considered to do work fully outside of the office.
The word “hybrid” in itself means a mixture of (usually) two things. The Collins dictionary defines hybrid work as a working practice where workers alternate between varying environments. A common example these days is alternating between the office and home. Because of COVID-19, workers have shifted to remote work and recently to hybrid. For reasons such as it being safer at home and more comfortable, managements are scheduling their teams’ time to allow some working days at the office and other times at some other remote location. Because of its popularity, offices are even considering upgrading some office equipment to hybrid work tech.
Hybrid work implementation tip:
Commutes and traffic have been significantly lessened during the era of remote work. Now that offices are shifting to a more normal pace, it can be a tricky business to force employees to return to the office full time. A large percentage of workers in the US have moved houses to maximize remote work. To shift to hybrid work, companies can implement different forms of hybrid work. Examples include:
- ● “Office Occasional” - the most common type of hybrid work where employees are required to be at the office some days of the week. Microsoft has allowed most of its employees to work remotely fifty percent of the time and can be prolonged with permission from immediate supervisors. Since it is hybrid, these employees must still report to the office for part of the week.
- ● Sub-urban co-working spaces - Co-working spaces may become either the remote or office part of the week, depending on how you implement schedules. Suburban communities are ideal for space where workers who are tired of working in their kitchen tables, for example, will have a space to work comfortably that is not too far away from home. Bigger rooms within these coworking spaces can be assigned as your team’s centralized, remote office location where members can collaborate in person but still be close to their homes. Instead of driving for hours to work, why not reduce the big-city real estate footprint and invest in remote co-working spaces for employees in that area? Driving less towards the company’s usual place of business will divert traffic and reduce commute times.
- ● Hybrid collaboration - when not everyone is required to go to the office at the same time, unconventional ways of collaboration have become ubiquitous. Video conferencing (VC) has proven that even jobs we initially thought were required to travel and be on-site could be equally as productive on VC.
The world has come to realize that functions that needed to be on-site previously can be done remotely. Engineers, mechanics, teachers, court hearings, priests and pastors, real estate agents, and yoga instructors are some examples. This is true because of futuristic technology that are made available today. What most techs lack, however, is the sense of being in the same room face-to-face as your peers or clients. VC cameras such as Coolpo AI Huddle Pana displays the whole room and each active participant equally. A 360° panoramic video is displayed below frames that highlight the most active participants. Engineers at Coolpo know that meetings involve both verbal and non-verbal cues so they have incorporated both into the product’s algorithm. The camera detects movement and sound for an immersive experience. With its integrated microphones and speaker, everyone in the meeting will be seen and heard clearly.
Employees do not only care anymore about salary. Work-life balance and the schedule to allow it is as valuable these days as, say, a 10 percent pay cut. In a world where time is money, employees have voiced concern about willingness to take a few thousand dollars less if it means having more time to themselves. However, this does not necessarily mean less work will be done. The Flexible schedule working model primarily deals with the time an employee needs to “clock in”. Further, it could also encompass aspects dealing with career breaks, location, and the length of work (i.e., as opposed to a determined number). Basically, under flexible work, employees would have a certain degree of freedom as to how and when they work. Not all companies can afford this for all employees. For functions that are compatible with varying degrees of flexibility in work, employees would do well to make use of the chance to work during their peak productive time and attend to personal matters whenever they want.
Whatever the type of work is, they all involve video conferencing. Whether you’re on the go, often at the office, or more comfortable working from home, you would need a reliable VC device for your post-pandemic working situation. The Coolpo AI Huddle Pana is the perfect meeting room companion for you and your team. It is easy to set up, plug-and-play, and very portable. It contains one 4K-based fish-eye camera, four smart microphones, and a 360° surround speaker that amounts to an innovative video conferencing solution. Moreover, it boasts of being a full-duplex speakerphone system that ensures quality audio during all your hybrid meetings. You can even bring it to BYOD meetings as your all-in-one video conference device. It’s so easy to use that anyone from the IT department to those not familiar with VC equipment can enjoy Pana’s features.
For fresh graduates and people new to the working class, being in the office gives a sense of belonging and a sort of urgency to actually do the work assigned to them. However, if you have been at your 9 to 5 for five years or more, it seems like a prolonged vacation to be at home and be paid to do your job whenever you feel like it—as long as you get the job done. The common denominator among the three is the ability to keep peak productivity by allowing employees to maintain a certain lifestyle away from the office but still do their jobs. These days, work is not synonymous with the office anymore. When a person says “I’m going to work!”, they could probably get up from bed to reach out for their laptop and do work from there. After all, “work” still means what you do to earn a living. At its core, it should not matter where you are or when you do it, as long as you do.