Is a Hybrid Workplace in Your Future?

April 9, 2021
Author: Mara Zemicael

Change is constant, and as it pertains to employment, one of the fastest changes has been how we work – or more specifically, where we work. The pandemic has proven that many jobs can be done remotely. This has forced many organizations to create a hybrid work environment that includes the ability to work remotely full or part time. Even so, is remote work right for you?

Many workplaces have shifted to a mix of remote and in-office employees working together.

The Pros and Cons of Hybrid Work

With hiring projected to increase significantly during the second half of the year, many people will be more apt to switch jobs or return to work. For those who work in skilled labor roles, it’s likely they may demand or be offered a flexible option in their working environment.

At the start of COVID-19, employers adapted quickly, and this trend is expected to continue. According to research by Gartner, 48% of employees will work remotely at least some of the time in the post-pandemic world, compared with 30% prior to the pandemic. Pre-COVID, many employees expressed interest in working remotely part of the time, now it has become expected. Since the pandemic began, PWC found that 55% of employees wanted to be remote at least three days a week.

Before you go on your next job interview, make sure you know what you want. While many workers crave more work from home, some employees may find they focus better with more time in the office. It may not be about focus or productivity. A fully remote position is different than a hybrid one. If you’re able to prioritize your time and stay focused for long periods of time alone, then remote work may be right for you.

However, many employers see the value of collaboration in their workplace culture as pivotal to their growth strategy. So, it’s important to balance your needs with those of the companies that you are targeting for employment.

Related: Essential Remote Work Considerations for U.S. Companies

The next step is to figure out what you need from your employer to be successful working remotely. Asking questions during the interview process will help you learn more about the company culture to determine best fit.

  • Does the employer have the software, IT assets and operational support for a productive hybrid or remote workplace?
  • In a hybrid environment, are remote employees offered the same career opportunities as those in the office? Note that when you are less visible, you may have less impact and influence. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • How does leadership maintain company engagement when some team members are working from home and others are in the office or when all team members are remote?
  • How does compensation planning differ for employees based on where they work?

While remote work is not new, not every hiring manager or HR team is prepared for a long-term hybrid work environment. A successful work environment – especially one where not everyone is physically in the office at the same time – requires clear expectations and communication. When does the workday start and end? Do employees feel comfortable saying they’re burned out from Zoom or Teams meeting?

In various forms, remote work may be here to stay. While employers in hybrid environments will need to figure out a fair compensation structure and management style for a mix of fully remote employees in various locations or employees working in the office on different days, employees and job seekers will need to determine what’s their new norm.

LaborIQ by ThinkWhy reports, forecasts and advises on employment conditions and the impact to jobs, industries and businesses across all U.S. cities.