What is hybrid working and what are the benefits?

Explore hybrid working - what it is and its main benefits. And find out why more Australian workers and businesses expect a hybrid workplace.
· 28 March 2024 · 4 minute read

What is hybrid working?

Hybrid work is the name given to a way of working where employees split their time between working remotely and working from the office.

Not all businesses can operate while working remotely. But for those that can, hybrid working is a great option that can help increase productivity, attract and retain top talent, and reduce costs.

Let’s breakdown six benefits of hybrid working.

 

6 key benefits of hybrid working

1. Increase team productivity

Research shows that employees who have the flexibility to work from home or another location can be more productive than those who work exclusively in an office environment.

A study by the Society for Human Resource Management found 77% of people who work from home say they are more productive than when they work in the office.

There are several reasons why this might be the case. When employees work from home, they are often able to avoid distractions and interruptions, and focus on their work.

They may also be able to set their own hours and work at a pace that is comfortable for them. For example, some people are naturally more productive at the beginning of the day. Others may be night owls and prefer to get their work done later. Allowing people to choose when they work enables them to work when they are most efficient.

Working from home can also empower employees with a sense of control and autonomy. This can help increase their motivation and productivity.

 

2. Attract and retain talent

Hybrid working can be an important part of your employee value proposition, and help you attract and retain top talent. The Harvard Business Review found that companies offering remote work options experienced a 22% increase in employee satisfaction.

With today’s talent market being so competitive, offering people more flexibility over when and where they work can help you find the right people for your business.

 

3. Improve work-life balance

Hybrid working can help people achieve a better work-life balance. As there’s often more flexibility to manage their personal commitments, such as childcare or their doctor's appointments in their local community.

Another big factor to consider, is how hybrid working can help reduce people’s commute times. Studies show that longer commutes lead to decreased job satisfaction and increased risk of mental health issues. Meanwhile, shorter commutes have the opposite effect.

 

4. Promote inclusion and diversity

Flexible work arrangements can help promote inclusion in the workplace. Remote work removes traditional barriers, such as location and accessibility. Hybrid work can benefit many people with a wide range of disabilities, caregiving responsibilities, and other life circumstances that can make it difficult to work in a traditional office environment.

Hybrid work can also open up opportunities for people living in underrepresented, rural, regional or marginalised communities. This is because individuals who reside in these locations, may not have easy access to office locations.

 

5. Reduce office space costs

You may be able to save money on office space, utilities, and other expenses associated with maintaining a physical workspace if your embrace hybrid working. 

Office space was typically one of the largest costs associated with running a business. This is why practices such as hot-desking and activity-based working have been common features of the workplace for many years.

With fewer people coming into the office on a daily basis, you can reduce the space devoted to workstations.

 

6. Reduce your environmental footprint

Hybrid working may be able to help lower your business’ overall carbon emissions. 

The Australian government says transport emissions have been rising every year in Australia since 1990. With the exception of 2020 due to the emergence of the pandemic.

Passenger cars and light commercial vehicles alone were responsible for 10% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2022. Reducing the amount of commuting to and from work can help you play an important part in reducing carbon emissions.

Smaller offices may also help to reduce your environmental footprint. And let’s not forget about energy bills.

 

Learn more about how to thrive while working remotely.

 

Hybrid work has become an expectation rather than a perk

There’s a clear appetite among individuals wanting to work in hybrid workplaces. Recruitment agency Randstad reported that Australian employees place a high value on flexibility, both in terms of working hours and location.

Randstad’s research found over half (56.6%) of Australian employees wouldn’t accept a job if they thought it would negatively impact their work-life balance. And nearly half (48.3%) would quit a job if it was preventing them from enjoying their life.

There’s also an apparent appetite for businesses wanting to enjoy some of the benefits that hybrid working brings to business operations. A recent study by the Australian HR Institute found that 80% of Australian companies plan to keep remote working as a long-term arrangement, while 60% of companies plan to introduce more flexible work arrangements.

Hybrid work may not suit every type of business, but there’s no doubt it’s here to stay and has become a norm in our working culture. As for how to do it well, we cover that in our article Finding balance with hybrid working.

 

Originally published May 2023, updated March 2024.

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