Which Work Model is Best for Your Organization In 2023?
The modern workplace is changing faster than ever. In the last three years, most organizations have completely changed their work models, moving from office based work to remote opportunities. Each of which has several benefits and drawbacks.
With the workplace no longer being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, employers worldwide are debating which model is best for their business. This article draws key ideas from the 2022 Birkman Report, outlining the advantages and disadvantages of each model to help you decide which is best for your organization.
Remote work was popularized during the lockdown when the number of employees working from home increased from 5.7% to 43.1% in just four months. Remote work is when an employee works from their chosen location anywhere outside of the office, with most choosing to work from home.
Although a relatively new concept, remote work has already proven to have several benefits, including increased flexibility, higher productivity, and increased job satisfaction. Furthermore, remote work also has several benefits for the business itself. Firstly, businesses can hire remotely, which gives them access to a wider talent pool instead of relying on a single location. Secondly, the use of hybrid work can help businesses cut back on costs while also reducing the amount employees need to spend on commuting.
However, remote work also has several downsides. In Glassdoor's 2022 survey, one third of people who work remotely reported a feeling of loneliness and disconnection. Remote work makes it significantly harder to make real connections, which can create a divide between those working in the office and those working remotely. This can make collaboration more challenging, potentially slowing down productivity. As a result, it’s crucial that businesses implement clear communication channels throughout the business and offer regular virtual team-building activities to create and maintain a sense of community.
In-person work was the norm just five years ago and has a number of advantages. Firstly, collaboration is significantly more efficient. In an office or other working space, employees can enjoy the benefits of bouncing ideas off of one another, harboring a greater sense of community and building stronger relationships in the process.
Furthermore, team members working in person usually get more facetime with management and other team members. This could potentially have several advantages when it comes to career development.
However, an in-person model isn’t perfect for everyone. Employees will spend an average of 40 minutes commuting to the office every day, significantly decreasing how much free time they have. This can result in work-life imbalances, higher stress levels, and decreased overall job satisfaction.
Hybrid work environments appear to be the most popular trend in 2023. Recent studies show that 30% of full-time UK employees are working a hybrid working schedule, with this number increasing every month.
A hybrid work model lets employees come into the office for collaborative projects, while still having the opportunity to work elsewhere. This model has several benefits including higher productivity, job satisfaction and stronger workplace relationships than a remote work model.
However, for this model to succeed it's important for businesses to implement clear guidelines and protocols. Failing to do so can cause confusion and miscommunication amongst employees, disrupting teams and decreasing productivity.
Avoid The Personality Trap
When it comes to remote work, many business leaders make assumptions about which model employees would prefer. For example, some believe that introverts may choose to work from home, while extroverts may want to work in the office. Although this might apply to some employees, this assumption is too vast to apply to everyone.
Furthermore, some companies are making decisions based on the preferences of leaders. For example, choosing an in-person work model because it's what one director prefers. Much like assuming based on an employee's personality, this approach is rarely suitable to the entire workforce.
So what can businessess do? Instead of basing the decision on personality, leaders should consider the benefits and drawbacks of each option for their business. In general, it’s important to give employees the freedom to choose how and where they want to work. For example, an employee with children may want remote working opportunities during certain times of the year, while employees climbing the corporate ladder may want to work in the office to build relationships. By offering this freedom, employers can retain the most talented individuals while creating a workplace environment catered to its employees.
What Option is Best for Your Organization?
To find which work model is best for your organization, you need to consider three factors: job role, the purpose of each team, and management.
Some jobs are more suitable for hybrid work than others. For example, an engineer working at a manufacturing plant may experience difficulties working from a home office. A website designer, on the other hand, may work well in a remote environment.
Employees who experience greater flexibility in their schedules and require quiet environments with few distractions often work well in remote/ hybrid roles. In general, issues can be solved with a quick video meeting instead of a meeting in the office.
The Purpose Of The Team
Why a team was created is a crucial factor in what work environment they should be in. Ask questions such as:
- Is collaboration crucial for success?
- How often will this team need to interact?
- Does the team's success require feedback and innovation?
If a particular team works together occasionally but daily collaboration isn’t essential, then a hybrid model may be the best option.
How Are Managers Working?
Good leaders lead by example. If a manager is allowed to work remotely but employees must work in the office, this could send a mixed message. However, if managers show a willingness to follow the businesses main work model, employees will be much happier to follow them.
There’s No “Perfect” Model
While hybrid working models have become more popular in the last three years, there is ultimately no perfect model, just the one that applies to your organization. Certain workplaces require specific work environments to thrive, and conducting an analysis of your organization can help you to determine which is the best option.