Times, they are a-changin'. If you asked someone in the 1950s what a typical work day would look like now, they wouldn't have been able to imagine that you can work from an office and from home as you please -- let alone that self-driving cars and artificial intelligence took over everything by now. OK, not everything, but many things (ChatGPT anyone? No? No?).
Fact is, we're living the kind of lives our grandparents would've called "ideal”. Never before have we had the chance to build the work/ life balance we always needed (but we didn't quite realize we did).
How's alternating work from the office and work from home going for people? We looked at what hybrid work looks like (and even asked some hybrid workers how they decide to come into the office), so read on if you want to find out more.
Work From Office Versus Work From Home
The main question regarding hybrid work is how much of each should there be? Of course, it depends on the job and what you need to do. If your work is very team-oriented, you might find that coming into the office is more beneficial for your success.
However, if you're a solo freelancer or even working in a team remotely, there is no need to come into the office at all – as long as you have access to what you need (like a reliable internet connection).
So when deciding between working from the office vs. working from home, it's essential to consider the nature of the job and your personal preferences:
"I make the choice to come into the office when I feel that I need a change of scenery. I also come in if a major issue requires me to be in person at the office. I usually go into the office when I have been working from home for more than 3 months. This usually is the time I decide I want a change of scenery and to be social with my agents."
-- Tim Connon, Founder of Paramount Quote Insurance Advisors
"As someone who works in a hybrid team, I make the choice to come into the office when it's necessary for specific tasks or projects that require face-to-face collaboration and communication with my team members.
Additionally, I come into the office when I need access to certain equipment or resources that are not available when working remotely. I find that working in an office setting provides structure and routine for me, which helps to increase my productivity."
– – Michael Samuel Career Coach & VP, HR - CEOMichaelHR
Employees Are Pushing for Remote/Hybrid Work Options
Remote and hybrid work options are gaining popularity with employees who want more flexibility in their work schedules. Studies show that nearly three-quarters of employees believe flexible work arrangements make them more satisfied with their work -- and, thus, more productive.
The days of the 9-to-5 are slowly fading away, and it's clear that hybrid work is here to stay. Companies who embrace this trend now by offering their employees flexible working arrangements can expect to find success in the future.
"Working in a hybrid team is both empowering and refreshing. I believe that a hybrid work environment encourages a healthy work-life balance.
We have a loose schedule surrounding in-office time. Employees are allowed to come in when they choose. However, there is one mandatory time a week when teams meet in the office. This time is up to the team, but all members must attend this meeting.
Other than that mandated meeting, employees typically come on Mondays or Tuesdays, as well as Thursdays or Fridays. Many employees complete all of their work even if they only come in one day in addition to the mandated meeting time. I don't believe there is any correlation between in-office time and work completed; employees that have flexibility complete as much if not more work than solely in-office employees."
-- Kamyar Shah, Fractional COO - Fractional CMO
The Rationale for Employers to Promote In-Office Work
In-office work isn't meant to be a punishment for employees. A lot of times, employers have legit reasons to promote in-office work. It's essential to understand why employers encourage in-person meetings and projects, even when hybrid or remote options are available.
One of the main reasons is that it encourages collaboration and team building. Being at the office together can help build connections between coworkers, give employees a better understanding of each other's roles, and allow some teams to brainstorm and innovate more effectively.
Another reason employers promote in-office work is to ensure that employees stay connected and productive, especially if they are working on a project together. In-person meetings can also be helpful when it comes to onboarding new team members and introducing them to the company's culture.
Last but not least, there's the social component of in-person meetings. Being in the office together can create a better sense of community, help employees stay focused on their work, and give them an easier way to ask questions or get feedback from one another.
By understanding why employers are promoting in-office work, it's easier for both employers and employees to find balance and meet each other halfway between remote and hybrid working.
"The future of work will almost probably include hybrid models, but social engagement will precede concentrated labor in the office.
I feel alone in having enjoyed working in an office. In particular, an open office! You might stop by at any moment and talk to anyone! Invite others to join you for happy hour and little snacks...
Zoom cannot replace being in the office. They can miss opportunities when some of the interactions are taking place.
However, workers will spread their wealth and business expertise across a wider range of communities as more work is done outside of traditional offices, resulting in a more equitable distribution of economic rewards."
-- David Lewis, Owner at https://www.monegenix.com.
It's not just employers that need to understand the benefits of encouraging hybrid work; employees must know why this type of work arrangement benefits their career prospects and well-being. Hybrid work can help to create a more flexible, balanced lifestyle where employees have greater control over the hours they work, their productivity, and overall job satisfaction.
"Even though we're a mostly remote team at our Ecommerce agency I still physically go to an office at least once or twice per week. There are some situations where things can just be done much more effectively in person - especially collaborative work where I'd be speaking with one or more other team members for multiple hours in a day. Plus, getting face time with people is always nice as well. I do also sometimes see clients in our office space, either new potential clients or existing Ecommerce brands we already work with. It is a great way to strengthen a relationship."
-- Ryan Turner Founder at Ecommerce Intelligence Agency
"Whenever I have work that calls for my team's input or when I need to use specialized equipment or materials, I prefer to be in the office. Being in an office setting makes it much simpler for me to talk to and get advice from my coworkers on the many different projects we're working on. And because of the regularity and consistency it brings to my day, I am better able to maintain my attention and get things done. In addition, you won't have access to all you need to do your job outside of an office setting. Thanks to these tools, I can do certain assignments more quickly and competently than before."
-- Jamie Penney, Owner and Operator at MyHomeDwelling
Sometimes, the reasons people choose to go into the office are related to advanced technology they don't own at home too:
"One reason that I choose to go into the office rather than working from home is to be able to use our industrial printer and scanner. There are times when the volume of documents I need to print or scan is either too much for my home printer or in the case of scanning, too time-consuming. Our industrial machine is set up to handle huge volumes of both printing and scanning, saving me a lot of time and effort."
-- Mark Pierce, CEO of Cloud Peak Law Group
3 Things to Consider When Inviting Employees to Work in an Office
Inviting (or encouraging) people to work in an office can be a challenge -- primarily if everyone's used to working remotely. So, when asking people to come into the office, consider the following:
Set up an In-Office/Hybrid Work Policy
You know what they say; words fly, but what's written remains. Having a set hybrid work policy helps everyone get on the same page, eliminating potential confusion, uncertainty, and legal issues.
Assess Your Office Space Needs
Do you have enough room to accommodate everyone who wants to join? Think of the office layout, furniture, and other necessities they might need while in the office. Also, think of the environmental impact of having more people in the office, such as air conditioners and heaters running for longer hours.
Set up a Work Planning Mechanism
Planning who will be in the office, when they're coming and going, and how they'll use the space is a challenge. Setting up a hybrid work and desk management tool can help manage this effectively. Keeping track of all the employees' schedules ensures that no one feels left out and helps them focus on their tasks.
The Office Working Trends
A study by Owl Labs shows that more than half of people work more hours when they're remote -- and only a little over a third of the same pool of respondents think office work is suitable for individual work.
That said, globally, only 16% of all companies are fully remote. And at least when this survey was taken, 44% of organizations didn't allow remote work at all. Despite people asking for more flexibility, there's still some resistance to remote working.
Those who embrace hybrid work, however, have all the reasons to call themselves winners. Dissatisfied employees are a costly waste of resources, and having a hybrid work policy can help you retain a talented team that loves their job.
So, if you're struggling with the decision of whether to invite your employees back into the office or not, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. But by taking the time to create an in-office/hybrid work policy, you can make everyone happy -- yourself included.
And just in case you’re not sure which week days people are most likely to be in office, here’s a quick look at what Yarooms users do:
So, Does Working From the Office Have a Future?
In short, yes. Working from the office does have a future -- but its future is giving office work a makeover. Mostly, hybrids of in-office and remote work will dominate companies' strategies. It makes sense: if you want to make sure everyone is happy, you have to find a middle-ground between in-office and remote work -- and hybrid work models offer precisely that.
The traditional office setup will remain a tool to bring teams together, which allows for more creativity and collaboration. In addition, given the demands of specific tasks that require specialized equipment or technology, there is still an expectation that employees may need to come into the office when they need to use specific pieces of tech.
Ultimately, businesses must find the right balance between in-office and remote work that works best for their team and culture. No two teams are the same -- and adapting to who you are, what your organization stands for, and what your employees want and need is the best route from now on. That may mean allowing employees to work from home on certain days or offering flexible office hours that make it easier for people to get there when needed.
The future will give more people more freedom to choose how and where they work, giving them a greater sense of ownership and control over their careers. And we couldn't be more excited about it, really!