From the film, The Karate Kid (1984), Mr Myagi said if you walk on one side of the road, safe, walk on the other side of the road, safe, but if you walk in the middle of the road sooner or later you get squished just like a grape. Now let’s imagine that working from home was one side of the road and working in the office was the other, we don’t want to become the grape! So let’s consider, how will hybrid working work?
For some, working from home had significant advantages. Whether it was saving commuting time as well as money, getting more done with less distractions or even keeping on top of the washing pile. But with this new-found-freedom there was also more pressure to be organised and committed to getting the work done.
From surveying hundreds of employees, working from home was not great for everyone. Some had young children that required attention and others didn’t have suitable desk areas to create a work space. For those people, going back to the office would be their preference.
So there are now lots of people who are either desperate to return to the office, don't want to return, or perhaps a bit of both.
From our research, those who have a significant concern over a full return to the office, it seems that this isn’t always related to fiscal concerns or about time; rather many have reported that there are heightened social anxieties relating to feeling safe in the workplace and what the new normality will look and feel like.
For most, people want to do a fantastic job and want to feel safe in their office environment. The majority of work-places have taken this onboard and have reduced capacity to allow more space and given people more flexibility to allow them to do what they are comfortable with. Over time we suspect that there will be a gradual balance created between getting work done and ensuring we are all safe within the office environment. HR and business leaders are working hard to create that balance to give people the chance to spend some of their week at home and the rest in the office.
In summary, there are indeed many advantages and disadvantages of hybrid working. However, if one is able to extract the positives from each situation and mitigate the areas where there are potential downfalls, hybrid working is a sustainable model for the future of office-based working.