Published - 16th December 2022
In today’s professional landscape, hybrid working is an option many businesses and sectors have become keen to adopt, including us at Harris Creative. According to the Office for National Statistics, 84 per cent of people who worked at home during the coronavirus pandemic said they planned to carry out a mix of both working from home and from the office. For some, this high figure may come as a surprise, but as somebody who has started their career in a hybrid working environment, I understand why this could be the case.
The positives of hybrid working
There are a range of positives for hybrid working which have been highlighted over the past couple of years, and even some studies undertaken to measure productivity of this method, but let’s explore the most important benefits that I’ve learnt since starting my career with Harris in January.
Firstly, the mix of both the office culture and home environment means you get the best of both environments, for more extroverted and outgoing people their needs are easily met and nobody is left feeling isolated with simply one option.
Next, with the current and ongoing strikes in public transport and the general unreliability of some services, hybrid working can relieve the stress of commuters like me who can now work at home if faced with reduced means of attending the office. And with the cost-of-living crisis, many are looking to cut corners in their daily routines, with hybrid working providing this as there is less need to spend on expensive travel services and petrol costs.
The flexibility of this way of working is the most important factor for me. Not only can you do more with your time, whether that’s simply on your lunch break or the time you’ve gained back from not commuting that day, but this can also promote an improved work-life balance too. This flexibility can be especially important for a variety of people, from people with mental health needs who need a day to themselves at home, to busy parents who need to work around their kids.
The challenges with hybrid working
However, it is also important to acknowledge the challenges of hybrid working. For instance, in some sectors it is nearly impossible to implement successfully – although our client M-AR Offsite has found a balance that works for the staff but as an agency that works in the construction and built environment sectors, we recognise that it can sometimes be more of a hindrance in workplaces that require strict hours and daily in-person interaction.
Furthermore, not everybody has the luxury of a dedicated workspace at home. From obvious equipment such as a supportive chair to simpler needs such as a quiet room to work in, not everyone has access to these to be able to successfully work at home. So, if businesses are going to implement a hybrid model, it’s important to recognise the steps to take to support staff in this new way of working.
Also, it can become difficult to plan meetings and in person office appearances due to the constant changing of peoples’ schedules. Compared to the traditional in-office 9-5, more consideration has to go into planning in-person meetings to work around a variety of schedules.
Reflecting on my experience
After nearly a year of hybrid working, it’s important to reflect on what has and hasn’t worked. I’ve found that keeping to a similar schedule of the 9-5 has been the most successful working pattern, with some days deviating start and finish times by half an hour or so, for instance if I’m commuting which on darker winter days can be especially helpful. This also has helped me to keep similar office hours to my colleagues, and be able to communicate easier and more regularly with them.
Overall, the hybrid model has allowed me to understand my style of working and be introduced to the traditional ‘office’ environment at my own pace. At the moment, many companies are still adopting and improving how to implement this new way of working, alike Harris, however I’m confident that this style of working has benefitted me in starting my professional career.