The modern workforce has had a taste of what it’s like to sit in first class and they’re not going back to economy.

After three years of freedom and flexibility that remote and hybrid work has provided, the way work happens will never be the same again. 

So, what exactly is the difference between remote and hybrid work styles and how does each impact morale, productivity, and collaboration? 

Simply put, the difference between the two distributed models comes down to how much time is spent at home and/or the office. Hybrid work environments require splitting time between home and the office while remote work leaves the decision of where to log on in the hands of the individual. In a remote-only model, many chose to work at home, but they can actually work from anywhere as long as they have a WiFi connection. 

What is Hybrid work?

A hybrid work model is a work environment that is split by location with the employee spending some time in an office or co-working space and some time at home. It offers the most change of scenery, variety in your day, and arguably the faster track to corporate career growth of the two models. 

What is Remote work?

A remote model sees the employee logging on from anywhere but the office. While many employees log on from the couch or kitchen table, some choose to take full advantage of the freedom fully-remote work provides and take their laptop to a cozy mountain cabin or sit ocean-side on a distant sandy shore.

What are the Differences Between Hybrid and Remote Work?

Working in the new age of distributed teams comes with some exciting advantages. However, no system is perfect. Here are the hidden advantages and drawbacks of both hybrid and fully remote teams.

Advantages of Remote Work

  • Flexibility: Remote work provides autonomy over one’s schedule that hybrid work simply doesn’t have. Employees can accommodate individual healthcare and family needs, break away to make a nutritious lunch, walk the dog, or play with their kids during a break.
  • Psychological and Physical Safety: Whether it’s the knowledge that your meeting is being recorded or all parties have an opportunity to prepare for a Zoom meeting, there is something a little more professional about interacting with supervisors and peers solely through the screen. In a similar vein, workers cannot experience physical harassment when they are in another zip code. Of course, distance doesn’t stop all forms of harassment, but it certainly makes certain types more difficult.

Disadvantages of Remote Work

  • Loneliness and isolation: Fully remote workers must be intentional in order to overcome loneliness and isolation since the nature of the work environment is removed from their peers. 
  • Communication and information silos: As the old adage goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. In today’s professional setting, you don’t know what you weren’t tagged in or messaged. This means that there is a higher chance of knowledge gaps and misunderstandings. Workers could be faced with additional revisions or redos if work is completed without critical information.

Advantages of Hybrid Work

  • Rising the corporate ladder: When employees have that corner office in mind, there are some advantages of having face-to-face interactions with their supervisors and peers. Being in person at least some of the time means that meaningful relationships can be built faster and the team can observe and benefit from your in-the-moment creative problem-solving.
  • Learning key teamwork skills: For new office workers, joining in on productive, cross-functional meetings may come with a steep learning curve. Being in an office environment enables faster ramp-up for junior employees since they can experience first-hand how to manage projects, collaborate, and get exposure to the nuances of the ‘tricks of the trade.’

Disadvantages of Hybrid Work

  • Added stress: After three years of hybrid office environments, the cracks are starting to show. Juggling two different routines, one for in-office days and remote days, can be a challenge to maintain.
  • Restrictive scheduling: Hybrid workers may not be completely free to write their own schedule, with mandatory hours in the office. That can feel stifling for some.

Tips for managing hybrid and remote work arrangements

Projects and workers alike can thrive in either remote or hybrid work models. That said, good results take more than just throwing a meeting on the calendar. Facilitating productive and meaningful conversations with distributed teams takes a certain skill set. Here are some ideas to keep work environments productive and harmonious:

Communication Strategies

Maintaining a high degree of communication can make or break a deadline. Instead of waiting for a meeting to ask questions, consider sending questions to the appropriate team members ahead of time. This helps meetings to be functional problem-solving sessions rather than info dumps or project orientations. 

Technology Solutions

Most companies today run on video conferencing and some sort of project management software. From there, the tech stack depends on the industry and individual job functions. However, access to the best tools on the market doesn’t mean they’ll be used if employees can’t intuitively understand how they operate.

Perhaps just as important as the software itself, is the plan to properly train the team. This ensures company dollars are put to good use and teams can take full advantage of the tools at their fingertips.

Productivity Best Practices

Stand Up presentations are commonplace in the Creative industry, although technical professions should take note. These early-in-the-week meetings work well in both remote and hybrid work formats as team members briefly share their progress and roadblocks in their owned piece of an ongoing, cross-functional project. 

Having a regularly recurring weekly or bi-weekly touch base meeting can ensure team members remain focused, productive, and collaborative.

Examples of Successful Hybrid and Remote Work Models 

Apple, Microsoft, Spotify, and Slack, are just a few names in a growing list of companies that have adopted either fully remote or hybrid work environments. For those familiar with the agility technology affords, it may not be a surprise that the organizations leading the workplace revolution are in fact tech companies.

The workplace is changed forever, and other industries would be wise to evolve with the times. Employees are seeking safer, more inviting, and more flexible work accommodations. With proper planning and operations in place, any company can afford the priceless ‘luxury benefit’ that remote and hybrid work models provide their teams. 

How Industrious can help

Industrious is the workplace solution for remote and hybrid teams, providing a warm and inviting space that inspires professionals to produce their best work. Meeting companies wherever they are in their remote or hybrid journey, Industrious has dedicated and shared workspaces, as well as fully furnished offices and suites that are ready to welcome any large or small team. 

Our offices provide excellence in hospitality through anticipatory service, thoughtfully designed spaces, and technology and tools that make members’ lives easier. See why teams across the country are proud to come to the office here.