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What are the difference between hybrid, flexible and remote work?

What Are the Differences Between Hybrid, Flexible and Remote Work?

The way people work has changed a lot in the last few years. New ways of working have emerged that have not only shifted the way employees think about their work style, workspace and schedule, but also the way organizations need to think about providing workspaces and workplace resources.

Today, there are now three distinct work model concepts: hybrid work, flexible work and remote work.

In this blog, we’ll explore the key differences between each, how to decide which is best for your organization, and what tools you may need to consider for each model to be successful.

 

 

Hybrid Work vs Flexible Work vs Remote Work

 

Hybrid Work Model: Overview, Benefits, Considerations

A hybrid work model is one in which employees are allowed to work across a combination of environments. Specifically, a hybrid workplace has employees that work both at home and in the office.

 

This model is relatively fixed but allows employees to enjoy some of the benefits of remote work like a more comfortable workspace and no commute. The key features of a hybrid work model often include:

  • The organization has an established physical office (or multiple offices)
  • Employees work in both the organization’s office and at home
  • Workspaces may be shared or assigned
  • Different teams may have designated in-office days
  • Still follows standard work day approach of 9 AM to 5 PM

 

Some of the benefits with hybrid work include:

 

Things you need to consider with a hybrid work model include:

  • Connectivity and collaboration between employees and across teams
  • Communication between employees, teams and across the organization
  • Seamless access to organizational resources
  • Employee burnout and overworking
  • Cybersecurity risks
  • Company culture, including philosophies and policies

 

Flexible Work Model: Overview, Benefits, Considerations

A flexible work model is just that – flexible. In this situation, the actual structure of employees’ workday may vary, and the model itself may also be a combination of others. For example, some flexible work arrangements are a combination of hybrid work and remote work.  Essentially, a flexible work model is one in which an organization allows employees certain controls over things like where they work, when they work, and how long they work.

 

Some of the benefits with a flexible work include:

  • Telecommuting, so employees can work wherever they wish
  • Allowing employees better flexibility between professional and personal responsibilities
  • Reducing employees’ commute times and expenses
  • Improving employees’ work-life balance
  • Lower operational and real estate costs
  • Potential for increased productivity and efficiency

 

Things you need to consider with a flexible work model include:

  • What kind of physical office and workspaces you need, where and how many
  • A shared understanding of the work model arrangement and rules
  • Rules and regulations around flexible workspaces and schedules
  • Connectivity and collaboration between employees and across teams
  • Communication between employees, teams and across the organization
  • Seamless access to organizational resources
  • Employee burnout and overworking
  • Cybersecurity risks and technology resources
  • Company culture, including philosophies and policies
  • Productivity changes due to inconsistent schedule formats across different teams
  • Specific guidelines for part-time vs full-time employees

 

Remote Work Model: Overview, Benefits, Considerations

A remote work model is one that allows employees to work completely remote. Some companies are now completely remote, while other businesses have opted to offer remote work to only some employees. In the latter case, it’s usually due to the type of a work a specific employee does – more specifically, remote work doesn’t work for employees who need to be on-site to perform their duties.

Since the pandemic, this work model is one that has skyrocketed to popularity. In fact as of 2022, remote jobs now make up more than 15% of the total opportunities in the United States.

 

Some of the benefits with remote work include:

  • Allowing employees better flexibility
  • Higher employee satisfaction and loyalty
  • Eliminating employees’ commuting and associated expenses
  • Improving employees’ work-life balance
  • Reduced operational and real estate costs
  • Increased productivity and efficiency
  • Reduced employee turnover

 

Things you need to consider with a remote work model include:

  • What size physical office(s) do you need (and potentially locations if multiple as well)
  • Shared meeting rooms and workspaces
  • Employee burnout and overworking
  • Connectivity and collaboration between employees and across teams
  • How to work with partners and agencies
  • Communication between employees, teams and across the organization
  • Seamless access to organizational resources
  • Differences in employee technologies and schedules
  • Cybersecurity risks
  • Company culture, including philosophies and policies

 

business people working on an open workspace 

How to Decide Which Work Model is Right for Your Business?

With three work models to choose from, how do you know which is right for your business? The good news for many organizations is that the right work model may be a mix of two or all three. Ultimately, it’s up to the business leaders and their philosophies for which work model is employed, but below are five questions to help any organization decide which is best.

  1. Can the work your business does be done outside of a physical office, either in part or in whole?
    • If “Yes” to the above, identify which departments or teams can operate remote either 100 percent or in-part.
  2. Is your employee base in one city, state, country or spread about?
  3. Can your company infrastructure support employees who are not on-site? (Specifically, accessing resources, technologies, etc.)
  4. Do you have the right technologies in place?
  5. What policies and philosophies does your company have that may influence work styles? (You may consider adjusting if employees can work remote or hybrid, and if that’s something they want.)

 

Tools for Success with Hybrid, Flexible or Remote Work Models

Regardless if an organization decides on a hybrid work, flexible work or remote work model, there are a few tools needed to succeed with all. While solving for things like company culture and employee burnout will be individual to each organization, the following four considerations are easily solved with the right technologies.

 

If you noticed, all three of these work models have the following considerations in common:

  • Potential need for shared workspaces and meeting rooms
  • Connectivity and collaboration between employees and across teams
  • Communication between employees, teams and across the organization
  • Cybersecurity risks and technological differences
  • Employee burnout and overworking
  • How to work with partners and agencies
  • Seamless access to organizational resources

 

Having the right software solutions in place is a good start. Specifically, having something to help employees easily book meetings and desks, as well as manage their calendars, will go a long way in reducing the time spent on administrative tasks. If you have physical office locations, employing smart office solutions like desk booking screens and QR code workspace capabilities may also be key. View our quick infographic below for a summary of the most important considerations, then find two more quick tips at the end.

 

INFOGRAPHIC: What You Need to Succeed with Hybrid Work vs Flexible Work vs Remote Work

For companies who need employees to leverage shared workspaces and meeting rooms, being able to find the right space, quickly book it, and invite the right individuals is key. And when employees are working off-site, a workspace booking system that provides these features as well as a digital view of the office and available spaces can streamline administrative processes and allow for greater time spent on productive projects. A bonus is one that also lets employees manage resources they need (like laptops, parking spaces, catering, etc.) and that integrates across existing technologies like Microsoft products.

To help an organization understand the right resources and workspaces required,  getting an understanding of what resources and spaces are being used, how often and by whom is key for driving operational efficiencies and enabling growth. [Read for more information: How to use meeting room and workspace usage with custom reporting tools.]

At the end of the day, a hybrid work model, flexible work model, remote work model or a mix of two or three, may be right for your organization. But the success of any of these will be dependent on having the right technologies and software in place to provide collaboration, communication, innovation, efficiency and productivity.

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