What is hybrid working?


Hybrid working is a form of work arrangement that combines traditional office-based work with remote or home-based work.

Hybrid working is a form of work arrangement that combines traditional office-based work with remote or home-based work. It has become increasingly popular in recent years due to advancements in technology and changes in work culture driven, in part, by the Covid-19 pandemic.

History of hybrid working

The concept of hybrid working has a long history, with early examples dating back to the 1960s when companies began experimenting with allowing employees to work from home on a limited basis. However, it wasn't until the advent of the internet and the widespread use of personal computers that hybrid working truly took off. In the STEM industries, the use of hybrid working has been driven by the need for highly skilled workers and the ability for companies to access a global talent pool.

Recent trends in hybrid working

Recent trends have seen the use of hybrid working in the STEM industries rise rapidly. Many workers previously nervous to take the plunge for fear of giving the impression that they were not fully committed to their jobs, experienced its appeal for the first time. Not all STEM professionals have been able to take full advantage of the hybrid option, however, with those needing to work in labs or areas such as manufacturing often needing to be present on site.

Companies have found that many employees can work from home with no loss of productivity. Consulting firm McKinsey analysed the potential of remote working across more than 2,000 tasks used in some 800 occupations in eight countries. It concluded that between 20% and 25% of the workforces in advanced economies could work from home between three and five days a week with no loss of productivity.

There is strong evidence that workers also want flexibility to remain following the pandemic. The Microsoft 2021 Work Trend Index surveyed 30,000 people in 31 countries and found that over 70% wanted flexible, remote options to continue.

Advantages of hybrid working

There are several advantages to hybrid working for workers in the STEM industries. One of the main benefits is the ability to work from anywhere, which can greatly increase work-life balance and reduce the stress and costs associated with commuting. Additionally, hybrid working can also lead to increased productivity, as workers are able to create their own work environment and schedule. Moreover, it can also enable companies to attract and retain top talent from around the world.

 Disadvantages of hybrid working

However, there are also some disadvantages for those working in the STEM industries. One of the main challenges is the lack of face-to-face interaction, which can make it harder to build relationships and collaborate with co-workers. Additionally, hybrid working can also lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection from the company culture.

 Use case

One real-world example of a company in the STEM industries that has embraced flexible working options is Dell Technologies, which operates a work from home policy known as Connected Workplace. Around 65% of Dell employees work flexibly. The program has been a success, with the company reporting that it has led to increased productivity and job satisfaction among employees.

In conclusion, hybrid working is a model whereby employees work some of their time at their workplace and some at home. Its popularity has increased thanks to the evolution of communications technologies and the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic.