Hybrid Remote Work Models: What Are They & How They Differ

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    It’s no secret that the workplace is changing. The 2020 pandemic created a lot of workplace disruptions, but it also inspired some important innovations. While some companies are craving a return to pre-pandemic normalcy, other companies are thoughtfully considering the best way to move forward in ways that are reflective of the times. For many, the future of work includes a lot more remote work.

    More and more companies are now pursuing remote and hybrid remote working models. That said, what is a hybrid remote job? In this article, we will review the hybrid remote work definition as well as look at several hybrid remote work models.

    What is remote working?​

    Remote work models are designed so that workers do not have to come into a physical office during the workday. This means that employees are given their assignments online and are responsible for completing them. Oftentimes, remote workers aren’t required to work in “real-time.” This means that there aren’t strict working hours enforced in remote working models. Instead, workers are assigned a set number of tasks and are trusted to complete them throughout the week.

    What is hybrid working?

    So what does hybrid remote work mean? 

    Basically, it means partially remote. There is still a physical office or headquarters where employees periodically commute to. Sometimes, though, employees work remotely, either from a home office, co-working space, coffee shop, or anywhere else with reliable internet access. 

    There are a lot of nuances, however, to consider in regards to the meaning of “hybrid remote” and the various hybrid model meanings. In this article, we’ll explain some of those key differences.

    Hybrid workplace meaning

    A hybrid workplace can look fairly different, depending on the industry and the company. Basically, though, it means that some work will be done in an office environment and some work will be done remotely.

    This could mean that while some employees work in the office, other employees opt to work from home. Alternatively, a hybrid workplace could mean that each employee has the option to work partially from home and partially from the office.

    What Is the difference between remote and hybrid working?

    Hybrid remote working models are on the rise. During the pandemic’s start, companies scrambled to accommodate various work-from-home models. In some cases, this presented a steep learning curve.

    Suddenly, employers and employees were expected to all shift communication and project management methods. This involved a lot more emails and Zoom meetings. Online project management tools — such as Asana, Hive, Basecamp, Trello, and Wrike — have also gained popularity since 2020.

    At some point during the pandemic, lots of companies (not all, of course) were fully remote. This means that no one came into the physical office space. Everything was done remotely and online. For many companies, hybrid work-from-home models are a popular method for reentering the workplace. Transitioning from remote work to hybrid remote work models, however, can look vastly different, depending on the industry and the company.

    4 different hybrid remote work models

    Let’s explore the hybrid remote work meaning a bit more thoroughly.

    For instance, what do the terms “remote-first” and “office-first” mean? Does “flexible” mean the same thing as “hybrid”? In short, what are the different hybrid model meanings?

    Partly remote

    Partly remote is pretty self-explanatory. Some work will be completed in an office environment and some work will be completed remotely. What this looks like, specifically, will depend on the company and the nature of the office work.

    Remote-first

    A remote-first workplace means that the company has designed its structure with remote work models as its priority. That said, a remote-first workplace is not fully remote. Employees will still report to an office.

    Ultimately this means that companies have to implement tools and resources to support both types of work and bridge any potential communication gaps. Companies will also likely have to consider different time zones and the effect they will have on hybrid teams, team-building, company culture, and workflow.

    Office-first

    An office-first workplace means that work is primarily conducted in an office. While some remote work (or remote workers) is permitted, remote work is not the focus. In this type of workspace, asynchronous work hours usually are not permitted.

    Flexible

    A flexible hybrid work model means that employees are given autonomy over their schedules. The company has no clear preference for in-house or remote work and employees get to design their schedules however best suits them. This can be an important distinction because sometimes in a hybrid office, remote workers can be seen as the exception and aren’t accommodated as they should be.

    Benefits of the hybrid remote working model

    Hybrid working from home models can have a lot of benefits. They allow more flexibility and can reduce your weekly transportation costs. In this section, we will review some of the key benefits of pursuing remote hybrid work.

    Flexible schedules

    Remote hybrid work and various WFH models (work from home models) offer greater scheduling flexibility. This is particularly helpful for employees with families or other scheduling concerns. Overall, work arrangements that offer flexible work and flexible schedules are often seen as an important perk and help improve the employee experience.

    Fewer commutes

    If you are able to work from anywhere, with a hybrid work schedule, you will be able to limit your weekly commutes — saving you both time and money.

    Financial savings

    With gas prices steadily increasing, fewer weekly commutes can make a big difference financially. Additionally, if you commute to work with a personal vehicle, not only will you save money on gas, but you will likely have fewer car repairs and overall expenses.

    You may also be able to save money on childcare expenses and be able

    to care for your pets more thoroughly. Another important factor to consider is that with greater location flexibility, you can choose a more fiscally responsible location to live in.

    Location

    If you are only expected to come into the office on occasion, you have the option to live further away from your workplace. For remote employees, this offers even more potential. With increased work options, some remote employees are choosing to capitalize on their ability to work from anywhere by traveling and pursuing the “digital nomad” lifestyle.

    Challenges of the work-from-home hybrid model

    While there are lots of benefits of work from home models, hybrid workplaces are not for everyone. In this section, we will review some important challenges to consider.

    Miscommunications

    In a two-tier work environment (in-office and remote) there is an increased chance of miscommunication among team members. Expectations and individual schedules may not be clear. It is also important to note that managers and supervisors who excel in the office with face-to-face interactions may not know the best way to manage and delegate remote teams.

    Increased distractions

    For some employees, working from home is distracting, especially if you don’t have a home office. It can be difficult to get work done with children, pets, or your partner competing for your attention. You may also be tempted to procrastinate, sleep in, or take too many breaks with a hybrid schedule. This is important to consider if you are trying to decide whether to pursue an alternative hybrid work option full-time.

    Different collaboration styles

    Lack of routine

    Some people may struggle with a lack of structure and routine. Many workers plan out their own routines and working hours, but sometimes it can be difficult to keep yourself accountable without having to physically commute to the office. This is why it’s important to consider what the best work plan is for you. Some people work best from home while other people work best in the office.

    How to choose your preferred model? 7 tips to help you decide what job model to seek

    If you are allowed to pursue a hybrid work model and can design your own schedule, it’s important to reflect on your working preferences and overall strengths and weaknesses.

    01

    Where do you have reliable internet access?

    This one is obvious but it is also one of the most important factors for remote work. Where do you have the most reliable internet access? Working from home can offer more flexibility but if you don’t have reliable internet access, you will likely end up wasting a lot of time.

    02

    What’s your commute?

    Do you have to commute to work? How long is your commute? Do you take a bus, train, or car? What are your weekly transportation expenses? For many workers, not having to commute to the office every day allows for a better work-life balance.

    03

    When are you most productive?

    Everyone’s needs and preferences are different. Maybe you’re a night owl and would prefer to keep late working hours. Or maybe you lose motivation mid-day and would benefit from a longer break or a nap before returning to work.

    04

    Where are you most productive?

    Some people prefer working in an office and some people prefer working from home. Where are you most productive?

    05

    Do you work independently or as a part of a team?

    If you work independently, making a shift to remote work will be smoother than if you actively collaborate as a part of a team.

    06

    Are you a caretaker in your personal life?

    For parents or people caring for sick or disabled relatives, working from home allows greater flexibility so that you can better balance your personal and professional lives.

    07

    Do you have chronic health concerns or a disability?

    For workers with chronic health concerns or disabilities, working from home can help them better prioritize their health.

    12 examples of companies officially adopting the hybrid work-from-home model

    More and more workplaces are adapting to the times. These 12 companies are officially adopting hybrid work-from-home models.

    Key takeaways on hybrid working from home model

    Remote work models offer lots of perks: fewer commutes, lower transportation costs, flexible hours, a better work-life balance, and the ability to travel and work from anywhere. It’s important to note, however, that not all companies are equally equipped to accommodate remote employees and various work-from-home models. 

    For some companies, the infrastructure might not be there yet and for some employees, remote work lacks structure and a sense of routine and community. These are all important factors to consider as you decide which working model and work environment is best for you. 

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    FAQs

    Still have questions? Review these frequently asked questions and answers for further insights.

    Not exactly. Flexible working is one of several hybrid work models. Workplaces that use remote hybrid work models can look very different. For example, some workplaces may require employees to come into an office on certain days or spend a set number of hours in the office every week. Flexible working, however, allows each employee to independently design their schedule.

    Communicate clearly and make sure everyone has the same expectations moving forward. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of working remotely or otherwise working in a remote hybrid workplace is communication. And the potential to have miscommunications. Set expectations early and periodically check in with your managers and team members. 

    Hybrid remote learning takes place when classes are taught both in-person and online. During the pandemic, this model was often implemented in schools to limit exposure to covid. The specific model varies depending on the school. For example, however, a student in a hybrid remote learning environment might attend classes in-person twice a week and online three times a week.

    Maximize your productivity both inside and outside of the office. This might mean setting up a home office where you limit distractions. Or only going into the office one or two days a week. Ideally, when done right, hybrid work should allow you more flexibility in your personal and professional life and increase your overall sense of well-being and work-life balance. Just make sure to communicate clearly, avoid procrastination, and maximize your productivity.

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