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How to succeed at hybrid working in 2022

Hybrid working has been around for quite a few years, but it’s only in the last couple of years, since Covid19 happened, that we’re hearing the phrase everywhere. As a concept hybrid working is quite simple: a mix of different ways of working.

Hybrid working covers a range of working models. This could be set days for teams to be working from the office and home, or a more flexible arrangement where people work mainly from home and are called in when necessary. There are lots of different approaches, depending on the type of business you work in, but any approach needs management to make it effective. We’ve put together a list of tips on strategies, systems, policies and tools you can use to make hybrid working successful for your business and your staff members. If you’re an employee and about to try this new way of working, then hopefully you’ll get some good advice on how to make improvements to your work/life balance.

If you say the word ‘hybrid’ to people, many will think of a car. But more and more people are realising that the word hybrid not only applies to the next vehicle they may or may not buy, but also to their work situation. And hybrid working can be a really good thing! It can eliminate the daily commute, which saves fuel costs, helps the environment and gives you more quality time at home. And it makes life easier when you have deliveries during the day as you don’t have to go and search through your dustbins for parcels left by delivery services! There are lots of benefits to hybrid working.

But just as there are many positives to be had when working from home, it has also shone a light on the downsides too. Some of these include: feeling cut-off from colleagues, the distractions of a busy home environment and often issues with Wi-Fi. It seems that the best solution is a hybrid model that offers the best of both worlds. Some time in the office, and some time at home.

So, what are the pros and cons? And what exactly do you need to think about before you implement it?

Here’s a list of things to consider.

People generally prefer to be in the office for a part of the week, but the office needs to be a destination worth commuting to – if the experience isn’t great, then you’ll notice that staff members begin to leave. Research shows that most companies have four types of hybrid working types.

  1. The Adapter: This person prefers the office to be a mixture of co-working hubs and quiet areas where they can focus on their work.
  2. The Soloist: This person prefers working at home full-time but is happy to come in for face-to-face meetings when necessary.
  3. The Culturalist: This person sees the office as place for collaboration and socialising.
  4. The Traditionalist: The person who prefers being in the office full-time, sitting at their usual desk. Yes, there are still some of these around.

If you run a business, then understanding the mix of hybrid worker types will help you understand how to design your office space for maximum effect.

Chance Meetings

A positive working environment doesn’t mean that staff knuckle down to their work and achieve all their deadlines to a high standard – although that sounds great if you’re the owner. An office is so much more than a place to produce work. Time in the office is a worker’s chance to network, build relationships, socialise and establish bonds with their colleagues and managers. David Attenborough will tell you that this is a basic human need! And this need for interaction is so important that many people fear loneliness and isolation if remote work ever becomes permanent in the future.

It’s also worth noting that businesses with highly engaged employees see 41% lower absenteeism and much higher profitability. So, if collaboration and chance meetings are not happening in your offices then this is a poor workplace experience. But how do you fix it? Well, you need to encourage more opportunities: Catch-up meetings, social areas for people to mix, and even make sure that the layout of the office allows people to see who is in the office. Also create recurring team schedules to boost engagement and productivity.


Setting up an online video call is so easy that for many managers, it’s less hassle to do that then sort out schedules, desks and meeting rooms. This is one of the main reasons that managers struggle to get people back into the workplace. There is a solution, and that is to ensure that people’s work schedules are shared. Have recurring team meetings and make sure they are all visualised in one place to ensure all the team are aware of who’s working when and where. It’s pretty pointless coming in to the office thinking your colleagues will be around to discuss projects, only to find that they’re not in that day and you could actually have worked from home more effectively!

Ways of working will still evolve

Once you think you’ve got everything in place for effective hybrid working, it might be tempting to put your feet up and pour yourself a glass of wine for a job well done. Noooo! This isn’t the end! The way we work will continue to evolve – so as a business owner you need to be ahead of the game, and as a staff member you need to be adaptable. Some BIG companies put plans in place – only to see them quickly re-evaluating things. Microsoft discovered that more than half of its employees were spending less than a quarter of their time in the office, compared to their original plans.

Trivago, a travel agency, spent months testing different scenarios for hybrid working and office setup until they found the one which suits their employees the best.

What it comes down to is this: Often, people don’t know what they really want until they try it in practice. So things are likely to change as you go along.

The Pros and cons of hybrid working

Hybrid working is often described as the best of both worlds – in fact we used that very phrase earlier on in this piece. But, while the list of benefits is long, there are also downsides.

Laptops for home working. Click here.

The pros

Boost productivity

If there’s an option available to employees, they can select whichever environment enables them to work most productively. If you prefer peace and quiet and have a work project where you need to concentrate, then working at home could be perfect. However, if you’ve got three dogs and two demanding kids wanting your attention, then a corner of the office will seem like a perfect little oasis for you. The important thing is that workers have the flexibility to choose whichever suits them best.

Nicola Millard, a principal innovation partner at BT told MIT Sloane that she studied the most-mature home workers and found that their home office set-ups played a key role in their success. While each remote worker had fashioned a unique space, what made a real difference was having a separate room, a large computer screen, and a good chair. Rituals also were important, including dressing in work clothes and following a ‘getting ready’ routine as if they were leaving the house.

Increase job satisfaction

It’s no secret that a comfortable work/life balance is extremely important for good mental health and general wellbeing. A little flexibility goes a long way in making your employees feel they have a good balance. They can pick up their children from school, save money on commuting and even take breaks to do chores so they aren’t piling up at the weekend. All these add to a greater wellbeing.

When people are working in the office, it’s those little interactions and meetings for coffee breaks, at the water-cooler and on the stairs that play a positive part in the working week!

More talent in the pool!

You have a much bigger talent pool to fish from if you offer flexible working. A bigger commute is much more doable if you only have to go in for a day or two in the office each week, so your recruitment net can be cast much wider. It’s a key benefit to your staff.

Lower overheads

Depending on circumstances, fewer desks and less space may be required in the office. This means that many businesses will be able to operate with reduced office space, and that means lower overheads. Some businesses have changed to a hot-desking or desk hoteling system.

Easily manage social distancing

It stands to reason that with less people milling around in the workplace, social distancing is much easier to adhere to. With a good work-plan, desk spaces can be allocated.

The cons of hybrid working

The potential for inequality

This is something that perhaps you never thought about but is a really important consideration. Not everyone will have the luxury of a home office, or even an area in their house which can be used all day long. Some may have to work on the kitchen table and move things around to different area at different times of the day. Rather than living the dream, home-working from a shared house or a studio flat with little or no desk space can turn into a nightmare.

Those lucky enough to have an office setup at home could have an unfair advantage when it comes to performance and productivity. The other side to this of course is that those who work in the office more frequently because of their type of work may have a different sort of advantage…

Digital communications are really effective – how would we have got anything done without them? But you can’t beat face-to-face interaction. It’s so much easier to form bonds with people when you are working together and socially mixing in the office. Those who spend most time in the office could end up being favoured more as relationships they form with colleagues may be stronger.

It is also true that some who work remotely may miss out on the finer points of discussions, as screens and distance are not the same as being in the room. What remote workers see on the screen does not give the full picture or what’s going on in the meeting itself, as body language may not be experienced and those whispered asides just won’t be seen.

Making a hybrid working model work

Here are a few tips to consider if you’re a business owner and looking to have a hybrid working system in place.

Ask your staff how they would prefer to work. Consulting with your employees will help to settle anxieties. What arrangements work best for them? How many days would they like to come into the office? Which days? What type of work for your business can be done remotely?

There are lots of questions. For example, if your company works with overseas suppliers for example, do different working hours apply so that your staff are online at the same time? Discuss any concerns with your employees and you’re already halfway there.

Don’t forget your employees’ experience

Give your employees the option to sit with their friends and the people they need to work closely with. Also provide easy access to the amenities they require. If people and teams are able to reserve workspace together, employees will still enjoy the pleasure of working together in-person. And happy workers… are productive workers!

Communication with employees is absolutely vital. Employers need to ensure that staff are happy with new arrangements. Be prepared to listen, and make changes as required. Some things will work, and others won’t.

Equality in your work culture

This seems like common sense – and it is – but it is still an area that can easily be overlooked. Make sure everybody has the same opportunities when sorting out any type of flexible working arrangement. It may be that employees will need some extra equipment to help them work from home effectively, such as a laptop riser or ergonomic chair.

Be focused

If you have a meeting, ensure that everyone has all the information they need beforehand. This way you’ll make the most of the days in the office without wasting time.

Adjust expectations

Flexible working means that work colleagues may not be able to reply to you instantly. After all, you won’t know their work schedule, or what calls or meetings they may have lined-up for the day. A little bit of patience may be required.

Get organised

Make yourself a ‘to-do list’ by location, as it’s very easy to overlook what you need to do. So, what we mean is, do a list of things-to-do for when you’re in the office, and a separate one for when you’re working from home. A good idea is to spend time on a Friday planning the next week.


For many, hybrid working is quite a new concept, and if you’re about to experience it for the first time, then don’t expect it to work perfectly for you straight away. Changes will need to be made as you go along, when you get the right balance, you’ll hopefully feel more positive and content.

If you need any tech for hybrid working, take a look here.

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