Amid the stress and logistical challenges of remote work that have emerged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of “hybrid” work has exploded in popularity. While some commentators embrace fully remote work and others lament the loss of in-office collaboration, hybrid work, which includes some time spent in the office and some spent working remotely, seems to be an ideal compromise.
However, as more and more organizations and workers try their hand at the hybrid model, the results aren’t universally positive.
Challenges of a Hybrid Work Model
“Emerging data is beginning to back up such anecdotal evidence: many workers report that hybrid is emotionally draining,” writes Alex Christian in an article for BBC Worklife. “In a recent global study by employee engagement platform Tinypulse, more than 80% of people leaders reported that such a set-up was exhausting for employees.”
It’s not just the managers that are feeling drained by hybrid work. Employees are also finding the arrangement can be taxing. “In Tinypulse’s And it’s not just managers who are feeling drained by hybrid work. Employees are also finding the arrangement can be taxing. “Workers, too, reported hybrid was more emotionally taxing than fully remote arrangements—and, concerningly, even full-time office-based work,” Christian adds. “In Tinypulse’s survey of 100 global workers, 72% reported exhaustion from working hybrid—nearly double the figures for fully remote employees and also greater than those based fully in the office. Voyles says the small sample size reflects a wider trend; she believes it’s the disruption to employees’ daily routines—and the staccato nature of hybrid—that workers find so tiring.”
Making Informed Choices for Your Organization
This data may be frustrating for organizations and their HR departments. Giving staff what they seem to want hasn’t necessarily translated into happier staff in many cases. The lesson here is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to work arrangements. While some staff and managers may readily embrace hybrid work—or fully on-site or remote—others may not find it so attractive. The key is “flexibility.” Where companies can, they should strive to embrace this concept.
Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.