The term “work from home” isn’t something new. Yet, it has come under highlight as the coronavirus pandemic kept billions homebound. Now, as vaccines kick in, companies find themselves experimenting with various options, including the hybrid work model.

Even before the pandemic, various businesses find new challenges arising this century. Some examples include technology disruptors forcing companies to rework entire business models and the increasing risk of data theft.

Since the workflow is already under pressure, it’s the perfect time to experiment and see what works best for your business.

What Is the Hybrid Work Model?

The hybrid work model is simply a mix of on-premise and remote work. It offers a good balance between a purely remote workforce and a business premise packed with workers. However, you can implement the hybrid work model in various ways.

One way is to have an entire workforce rotate their presence in the office. That means having different portions of your workforce present on an online timesheet while the remainder works remotely on those days.

Alternatively, you can have specific portions work remotely more permanently while the remainder works on-premise. You can also opt for a more agile hybrid model. Choosing between variations will depend on the needs of your business.

Pros of Hybrid Working

Improved Work-Life Balance

Being allowed to split time between on-premise and remote work addresses various concerns of full-time remote employees. Some employees feel more significant stress working remotely, and vice versa. The hybrid working model can smooth over some concerns, potentially lowering staff turnover.

Lower On-Premise Expenditure

You can save a lot of money for office expenditure with a lower on-premise headcount. For example, having half your staff present could mean shifting to a smaller workspace and significant savings on utility bills.

Better Health Measures

It may be years into the pandemic, but it doesn’t look like many health and safety measures can be relaxed. The hybrid work model can address various health and compliance issues such as social distancing. A less crowded space also means a lower risk of infections.

Access to a Global Workforce

Since you’ll accept remote work as a norm, it also means opening your business to a broader talent pool. Some needed skills can be picked up from remote locations, potentially lower costs.

Cons of Hybrid Working

Greater Strain on Mid-Level Management

A hybrid work model could mean mid-level managers and supervisors need to develop more extensive skills. Overseeing a hybrid workforce is by no means easy – much less maintaining or improving staff efficiency.

Increased Offsite Expenditure

While a smaller in-office headcount might save money there, expect to pay more for remote staff expenditure. You’ll need to ensure remote workers access all the necessary tools, right down to computing devices and furniture.

Heightened Cybersecurity Concerns

Given the increasing scope and complexity of cyberattacks, businesses of all sizes will need improved protection for remote staff. That means more training and expenses in defenses like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or Internet Security applications.

How to Implement the Hybrid Workplace Model in Your Company

Theories of which balance of hybrid work model you want aside, the foundation for a successful implementation remains relatively constant. You’ll require both the infrastructure and management skills to keep it going.

Here are some areas to focus on when considering the hybrid work model for your company:

Centralized Office Systems

In-premise work often reduces the need for remote data access. However, a cloud-based centralized data system is necessary for the hybrid work model. You need to offer consistent data access to employees at several locations simultaneously.

While most cloud systems do that naturally, choosing the right portions of your business to allow remote access is essential. It also means potentially significant investment in applications and training on proper processes in data handling.

Most importantly, you’ll need to be able to secure all of this infrastructure against external and internal risk. That could mean everything from implementing the latest cybersecurity protocols to low-level training against basic security problems.

Optimize Collaborative Workflow

No doubt, many companies will already be familiar with remote operations. However, having a mix of on-premise and remote workers is a different proposition. Supervisors will need to pay equal attention to each portion of the workforce.

Most important among these areas is how work is handled and flows among the various workgroups. Aside from document flow and priorities, it also includes making sure on-premise and remote employees communicate effectively, whether it’s via messenger apps or regular video calls for updates.

Build Clear Guidelines and Policies

The biggest problem with a hybrid working model is the insufficiencies of office guidelines in handling the scenario. What used to work perfectly well for a full on-premise workforce isn’t successful here.

You’ll need to rework guidelines and policies for both groups of workers – even if it doesn’t seem logical. Further, not only does it need to cover both groups adequately, but it should be evenly balanced and not seen to favor one set of employees over the other.

The basic principle is that these guidelines should help your hybrid workforce know their exact responsibilities and the process to handle them at all times.

Process aside, you need to consider the legal implications of managing any remote workforce carefully. It’s also relevant in almost all areas of operation, from human resource and talent management to where data is stored and how it’s processed.

Even finance needs to get involved, as there may be tax implications (sometimes beneficial to your company). You’ll need to address this formally, with appropriate notifications given and contracts updated.

Ensure Proper Access to Everything

Even if you crafted the perfect outline for your hybrid model, failing to ensure adequate equipment for your staff means a high risk of failure. A hybrid workforce doesn’t just mean your remote employees have laptops and the right software.

The right IT staff needs to be in place to support a hybrid workforce and managers that can handle needs and proper growth for both groups. Ideally, implement an easy-to-use and agile request system for all employees.

Ease-In to Implementation

While the business world works at a breakneck pace, remember that change is often stressful to any organization. Whether business processes or staff, you should carefully wean each area into new operational standards.

Forcing a sudden change may cause chaos, resulting in consequences severely impactful to your business. Create clear briefings on changes and implement them in stages to avoid sudden issues. Gradual implementations also give you the chance to observe if they’re successful and if they work on a broader scale or if further tweaks are necessary.

Hybrid Work Model, Final Thoughts

Technological and policy changes may be costly and complex, but there are great existing models you can select and even adapt. Your employees and their management remain the most vital part of any organizational transformation.

As Uncle Sam once mandated, winning hearts and minds is essential whether you’re wielding a stick or dangling a carrot. Likewise, you’ll find that having your employees at the forefront of your mind will go a long way to implementing a successful hybrid work model.

Tools can be bought, but change must be taught.


About the author:

Beh PuiMun loves to explore the latest SEO, digital marketing and technology news. She is also the digital marketer of WebRevenue. Reach out to her via LinkedIn and discuss her favourite topics together.


How to Implement the Hybrid Workplace Model in Your Company

  1. Centralized Office Systems

    A cloud-based centralized data system is necessary for the hybrid work model. You need to offer consistent data access to employees at several locations simultaneously.

  2. Optimize Collaborative Workflow

    Aside from document flow and priorities, it also includes making sure on-premise and remote employees communicate effectively, whether it’s via messenger apps or regular video calls for updates.

  3. Build Clear Guidelines and Policies

    You’ll need to rework guidelines and policies for both groups of workers – even if it doesn’t seem logical. Further, not only does it need to cover both groups adequately, but it should be evenly balanced and not seen to favor one set of employees over the other.

  4. Relook Legal Compliance

    You need to consider the legal implications of managing any remote workforce carefully. It’s also relevant in almost all areas of operation, from human resource and talent management to where data is stored and how it’s processed.

  5. Ensure Proper Access to Everything

    The right IT staff needs to be in place to support a hybrid workforce and managers that can handle needs and proper growth for both groups. Ideally, implement an easy-to-use and agile request system for all employees.

  6. Ease-in to Implementation

    Forcing a sudden change may cause chaos, resulting in consequences severely impactful to your business. Create clear briefings on changes and implement them in stages to avoid sudden issues.


It may interest you: