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AWA's Guide to Hybrid Working

Having tasted the freedoms that come with remote working, many knowledge workers are now reluctant to return to their offices and their old ways of doing things.

This is no surprise, but from the perspective of employers, virtual working comes with certain perceived challenges. Some believe that virtual working limits opportunities for serendipity. Others claim that organisational culture and social cohesion may be unsustainable in a virtual workplace.

What is Hybrid Working?

Hybrid working is a broad term describing any way of working that includes some combination of remote and office working.

Hybrid working doesn’t refer to one specific working model; instead, it’s more reasonable to think of it as a spectrum. These models range from primarily office-based work with a random home-working day thrown in, to entirely remote with the occasional trip to the office for meetings or team socials.

While Hybrid working itself is a relatively new term, the idea is not. Most commonly referred to as agile working, activity-based working, flexible working, hotdesking, etc., hybrid working is an umbrella term that encompasses all of these and more.

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The Hybrid Working Spectrum

Hybrid working covers a wide range of working arrangements, with unlimited possibilities for variation.

We can, however, break it down into four distinct typologies:

Office Based

Most familiar, as most organisations were working this way pre-pandemic, office-based hybrid models require their employees be present in the office most days, to facilitate learning or to meet regulatory requirements. Only occasionally, or due to a specific functional requirement, will they work remotely.

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Office Centric Models

Office centric models are seen by many organisations as a reasonable middle-ground between traditional, office-based ways of doing things and the more distributed, remote working that many employees are calling for. Organisations adopting an office centric model typically require their employees to be in the office three days a week, allowing them to then work from home for the remaining two. While teams working within office centric models split their time evenly between the home and the office, they are still very much psychologically based in the office.
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Home Hybrid

Home hybrid models differ from office-centric models in that they come with a much stronger emphasis on home working. Teams using home hybrid models are set up to work at home, but they come in as a team once a week or once a month to work on tough challenges and connect socially. While such models combine remote and office-based work, team’s using home hybrid models are psychologically based at home.
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Home Centric Models

Home centric models of hybrid working allow employees to work from home all the time, except on rare occasions – maybe for meetings, socials, etc. – when they are required to come into the office

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What is a Hybrid Working Consultant?

A hybrid working consultant helps organizations transition to hybrid models of working and provides them with the means to maintain this model of working well into the future.

Hybrid working consultants marry workplace strategy, workplace transformation, and change management to deploy a process that addresses people, leadership, technology, and real estate challenges in a holistic, integrated way.

As hybrid working consultants, we at AWA are trained in a range of disciplines, with expertise in business strategy, culture, technology, information management, psychology, cognitive performance, design, and change management. We use these skills, combined with an acute understanding of hybrid working models and the challenges they present, to understand your organization and to help design and implement the bespoke hybrid working strategy that best suits your organization’s needs.

Final Thoughts

Hybrid working promises to change the world of work for the better and can help organisations navigate a path towards more effective people, leadership, technology, and real estate strategies. As we dive deeper into new ways of working, including hybrid, we explore ways to bring the norms and practices associated with the physical office to bear on the virtual workplace.

Hybrid working is a doorway into a happier, greener future – now’s your chance to step through it.

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