Hybrid work model: Space constraints, connectivity issues play spoilsport in Indian scenario

Narayan BhargavaUpdated: Saturday, February 26, 2022, 09:43 PM IST
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The only reason to have an office, say some, is to satisfy managers with vested interests in grouping people together/ Representational image | Photo credit: Bongkarn Thanyakij

The pandemic brought forth a lot of changes in all verticals of human life, especially livelihood. In just a couple of years, organisations worldwide have transformed their way of working in a drastic manner. Along with various government and non-government organisations, businesses too revamped the traditional working style and adapted to ‘hybrid mode’.

‘Hybrid’ working, as the name suggests, is an amalgamation of two styles of employee-hood — the affability of working from an office environment plus the independence of working from home.

The good part, there is no standard structure of hybrid module. Organisations can frame it as per their requirement. They can have a percentage of employees coming to office on alternate days based on their nature of work or everyone can work from home and be in office on important days like meetings or conferences. Or in a completely different scenario, the office managers can opt for a staggered roster system and call people only on specific days of the week.

Hybrid model allows for flexibility

Hybrid model allows a great scope of flexibility and this is the reason that there exists several theories that state— productivity and performance metrics having undergone considerable transformation in hybrid style of working.

According to the Nasscom Return to Work survey, close to 70 percent of organisations are keen on continuing the hybrid culture even after pandemic. The survey also points out that 66 percent of the respondents vouched for greater employee satisfaction, likely because of the additional independence and flexibility that this model offers.

Several employers also maintain that if planned tactically and systematically, the hybrid work model has the potential to upscale businesses because it enables employees to work to their strengths that further redefine productivity and performance.

When teams are co-located as well as work from their homes, the employees get a chance to experience a balance of creativity and collaboration.

Higher productivity, increased business

As per McKinsey, the organisations that experienced higher productivity and increased business during the pandemic have supported the ‘moments of engagement, ideation and mentoring’ among employees even while working on a hybrid model.

Hybrid working also offers autonomy to the employees’ further triggering a sense of responsibility. It is noted that when an employee is given a responsibility of completing a task and not instructed as to how he should do it, he become more cautious and makes it a point to complete it in a timely and proper manner.

In the longer run, hybrid model opens possibilities for constant learning for workers. Because when working from office, the employees are caught in a performance-driven routine, allowing no time to take trainings and learning session.

Challenges of hybrid model

Even though hybrid model is liked by employees and employers, implementing it can pose unique challenges because it requires an intentional approach on both ends. The biggest challenge for an employee is to maintain inconsistent workspaces, because they have to adjust to two different work stations— office and home. One should also make sure to tailor activities with respect to the space.

The key is to identify which task you like to conduct where and then assign different days to different tasks depending on the nature of the job. Sometimes, there is also a possibility of added infrastructure and set-up costs, if one has to maintain work from office as well as home, not forgetting the series of distraction while working from home. Few other disadvantages that employees might have to face is sharing of ideas, creative work and group assignment that might get hampered with quality issues and timeline. Working hours also get sstretched to indefinite times causing work-life balance of employees

Updated tech team

The other important aspect is to maintain the tech innovation because the employers will have to make sure of a robust and an all-time available IT team because a small glitch can lead to loss of productivity.

Even though there are some challenges, the key to maintain hybrid working culture is to have a mindful and well-thought-out approach. Despite challenges, the hybrid model signifies a holistic and well-rounded combination of remote and office work and seems to become the future of working life.

Hybrid model is fine, but in Indian conditions it is difficult to implement. One of the reasons can be smaller houses with no dedicated workstation available, nightshifts, etc. There should be definite process of measuring work hours of employees working from home. The success of this model is dependent on the ability to implement in Indian conditions i.e. connectivity or strong network in smaller cities, infrastructure, etc. The ideal solution is to have distributed workspaces. People can choose to work from nearby coworking space.

(The writer is Chairman and Managing Director of Calibehr,Business Solution Provider across industries)

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