Hybrid vs remote: understanding advantages and challenges

In the post-pandemic reality, numerous companies and corporations began to shift their mode of work to hybrid work models of varying degrees. Recently, even large tech companies such as Microsoft and Facebook began to hire professionals to work in the remote-hybrid model.

Arno Yeramyan
Arno Yeramyan

The future of the workplace was always expected to change in the 21st century. The truth is, none of us were expecting the transition to be this fast. In the post-pandemic reality, numerous companies and corporations began to shift their mode of work to hybrid work models of varying degrees. Recently, even large tech companies such as Microsoft and Facebook began to hire professionals to work in the remote-hybrid model.

Although remote work is praised by some and condemned by others, employers, company representatives, freelancers and other business professionals need to be able to assess the advantages and potential hardships of various subtypes of hybrid work, in order to figure out how to make the hybrid workforce model work for them.

The future of hybrid and remote work looks bright however one needs to grasp the advantages and challenges of this new mode of employment in order to assess it correctly.

What is the difference between remote and hybrid working?

Hybrid work and remote work are distinguished by the obligations employees have concerning their relationship to the workplace. While remote work is all about working from an independent location chosen by the employee, people working in the hybrid model need to show up at the office every once in a while, depending on what the company expects from them in terms of face to face participation.

Hybrid work models usually involve attending company meetings that take place in the office, meeting with clients, participating in training sessions, and of course, commuting to the workplace.

What is the hybrid work model?

It appears that most people have a general idea as to what a hybrid work model is. However, the world of hybrid work is diverse and multi-layered. While the ‘classic’ hybrid model, which relies on 50% office work and 50% remote work, is the most well-known representation, other models such as flexible hybrid model, hybrid work from home model and remote-friendly model also exist.

Here, we listed the most common hybrid work models for all who are eager to know more about the nuances of various models. We hope to clarify the differences so that you have a better understanding of hybrid systems and what to consider when moving to a hybrid work model.

Different types of the hybrid work model

Office-centric hybrid

The office-centric hybrid approach is one of the most common models of hybrid work. This model values conventional, face-to-face meetings and in-presence cooperation among co-workers. In this model, employees are still required to be in the office for certain days of the week. We can also name this the Apple hybrid work model for being adopted by Apple quite recently.

Flexible hybrid

You probably heard of some friends or coworkers who don’t necessarily have to be present at their workplace, yet they choose to do so. That’s probably because they adopted the flexible hybrid approach of remote working. This subtype is defined by innovative tools of communication, task management and assignment division, which allows employees to go to the office only when they personally want to.

Remote-friendly hybrid

The remote-friendly hybrid approach stands out as the ideal type for international teams which have members residing in different locations. Whilean office is still open for use, the whereabouts of it are of secondary importance, as a vast majority of employees and other contingent talents such as freelancers working with the company won’t be using the office.

Remote-first

The newest of all approaches, the remote-first model (sometimes called virtual-first or digital-first) aims to be completely independent of an office space. Regardless of the employees’ rank in the corporate hierarchy, everyone in a remote-first company works online. This means a startup or the corporation that adapts this mode of work may not even have an office at all.

What are the advantages of hybrid work?

Even though not all companies’ workflow is suitable for remote working, many of them are still shifting towards the more favorable hybrid working model. Just like any change, hybrid work comes with its own advantages and challenges for organizations and solopreneurs.

At this point, most professionals are very well aware that the business sphere is going through a major phase of transition. Therefore, what appears to be an advantage or an opportunity to some may look like a disadvantage to others. Here, we gathered some of the potential advantages and challenging novelties of hybrid work models as points to consider when moving to a hybrid work model.

The lowered cost of operation

For all we know, the financial aspect of the issue is one of the crucial factors to mark as an advantage for all parties involved. Working hybrid lowers the costs of operation all across the board and helps everyone to save more money. This comes in handy, especially at times of economic difficulties and periods when the demand is low for the services offered.

Post-pandemic circumstances led many freelancers, solopreneurs, regular employees as well as employers and clients to grasp the fact that office-based operations are costly.

More independent and happier working conditions

The world of work isn’t all about finances and costs. Workers’ mental state is also involved, sometimes quite intensely, in their work. Being more independent and not being burdened with the sometimes disruptive conditions that come along with an office environment is definitely a major plus for a large portion of the workforce.

This factor becomes strikingly valid when an office environment is just ‘toxic’. Adopting a hybrid work model bears the potential of being more creative during the work day and less preoccupied with all the office drama.

Better collaboration and work relationships

As a direct result of the previous factor, peer-to-peer collaborations and professional relationships are more likely to take a positive course in offices that adopt a hybrid work model. This is partially because when people work hybridly, they have enough space to take a step back and reflect on undesired occurrences calmly. This might be somewhat harder to accomplish in a workplace where everyone is always present.

What are believed to be the challenges of hybrid work?

It wouldn’t be truthful to claim that hybrid work from a home model offers nothing but perks and benefits. It’s only natural that we can’t have advantages without common challenges, and it’s necessary to acknowledge them for what they are.

Some of the challenges of remote work as well as hybrid work are related to career development paths, fear of missing out and the possibility of being left out.

Career and development opportunities

It’s not exactly certain how virtual networking and making connections will shape the future, but it is not hard to predict that career improvement opportunities can equally be viable and feasible for those who have online jobs.

Since we are at the beginning of the hybrid transition, some professionals may have concerns about having their possibilities of career and professional development decreased but it is highly probable that career and development opportunities related to networking might equally be permanent when they are fostered online as they are fostered in person.

FOMO (Fear of missing out on office events)

Often, occasions such as  informal gatherings, casual Fridays or  company events are perks of being a full-time, in-office employee. These are excellent opportunities both to decrease stress caused by daily tasks and to catch up with the latest company news. Not being able to attend such events can cause some people  to feel like they are left out or that they are missing out on significant happenings. But like other aspects of professional life, it is possible to organize online gatherings and virtual yet casual team building activities.

After all, the possibility of socializing online is often about the willingness to make it happen and the efficient use of the necessary software and platforms. Once the technical issues are dealt with, there is no reason for virtual gatherings to be less fulfilling than their in-person counterparts.

Access to important company information

Being a hybrid work employee and present only intermittently can sometimes feel like preventing access to vital and up-to-date company information. We are accustomed to believe that the less frequently we visit our office, the more disconnected we will become. But with the correct setting, hybrid employees will not have to miss things!

Companies and corporations can easily revise their way of setting briefing sessions and make the hybrid employees included. This goal can be achieved by using various platforms and applications that are aimed to strengthen communication and collaboration among team members.

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Arno Yeramyan

Arno Yeramyan is a polyglot who’s a fan of constantly learning new languages.