Business Success


The short answer? Depends on the job, depends on the home. But for many of us that’s not a particularly helpful answer, is it? It depends? Well, let’s look a little deeper.

The Surface Level

A quick Google search using the words “Hybrid” and “Remote work” tends to bring up a massive array of articles dedicated to identifying the challenges and potential pitfalls of working from home. Most of these are then dedicated to coming up with solutions on how to deal with these issues promoting a rather dizzying number of options that mostly boil down to discipline and a productive environment. So long as your workers can manage that, hybrid work conditions is a dream scenario that everyone should do! Sounds simple right? Well…

Hybrid Working: A New Field of Study and Exploitation

The thing is, this is a brand new phenomenon and not everything has been ironed out yet. In many places workplace culture has been transformed by Covid and companies have been forced to change before they were ready. For others, the transition was flawless for the employers but for the employees worker protections and many laws are still struggling to catch up.

In fact, many companies still struggle to engage in hybrid work not because of any internal organisation issue, but because many countries have laws requiring foreign-owned businesses to employ local workers with a local office address, and if no one is turning up to the office, well, they might not be permitted to run their business at all. More than a few companies were forced to close their doors during the worst of Covid for this reason, and so long as these laws are in effect, many businesses are forced to engage with a hybrid model even if they can work better entirely remotely or entirely on-site.

So this all starts becoming very complex very quickly. In fact, this whole field has even been the subject of both industry corporate interests and university-level investigations into the matter, leading to the natural conclusion of a number of corporate consultancy firms springing up to act as corporate advisors on the matter, or specifically to take the lead on transforming the modern workforce into something more amiable for the workers.

Just take a look at the work of the Boston Consulting Group from late 2020 for just one such example of discussing the possibilities for the future, or this brochure of information from the Australian PwC group, a company dedicated to encouraging hybrid workplace conditions across all Australian industries. Or if you don’t trust corporate consultancy groups, try this study on Hybrid Workplaces coming out of Bahria University and St Petersburg Polytechnic and published by IGI Global.

The more you look, the more you see a flood of information from both corporate sources, university sources, and corporate-pretending-to-be-university-level sources, and you might ask yourself, can you really trust any of this? So many of these papers, consultants and policy groups popping up left-right-and-centre - many of them for-profit enterprises seeking to push their ideas into the mainstream - is any of it really trustworthy?

The Real Short Answer

The short answer, it honestly depends upon your job, your home, and who you are as a person. Let’s face it, some people just don’t or can’t work well from home, they need the office environment to feel anchored and to focus on their work. For others, such as those of us who are less social or have disabilities, hybrid work models are a dream come true and we are more effective because we’re able to work in the comfort of our own homes in the way that we actually work best and not be constantly monitored or under constant scrutiny from a manager who has their own idea of what works best. For some remote skill jobs hybrid models are actually a detriment compared to working completely remotely, but for other jobs working remotely simply isn’t permissible from a legal, accessible or legitimate quality-based standpoint.

The best way to answer this question for you is to take a look at what your most direct industry competitors are doing, and see what is or isn’t working for them. The next thing you should do? Ask your employees and your managers. The fact is that while something might look great on paper if your employees hate it or can’t work with it, that paper does not matter. So take a look at your competition, take a look at your own company, and come up with the solution that legitimately works best for you.

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