REMOTE WORK AND HYBRID
You wake up in the morning, leisurely enjoy a delicious cup of coffee and a wonderful breakfast while listening to your favorite music. You change into comfortable clothes, turn on your computer, and start working. The scent of coffee you made in the morning still lingers in the air. You don’t have to endure morning traffic jams and waste time and money on commuting to work – everything happens in the comfort of your home. You’re in a good mood and have a positive outlook for the day. For many, working from home all or selected days of the week is an invaluable comfort they were missing when performing their professional duties in a traditional office setting. What do employees really think about remote and hybrid work? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these solutions? We decided to take a closer look at this.
Revolution in the Job Market
The global job market has undergone a significant revolution in recent times. The pandemic has disrupted old routines and habits, leading to a drastic change in how employers and employees approach their work responsibilities. In many companies, hybrid or remote work has become the new standard. Interestingly, over 70% of Polish workers believe that the changes in the way work is done will remain with us permanently. Is this a good thing? Both models have their proponents and opponents. Some value them for their comfort and flexibility, while others see them as a significant challenge and a guarantee of decreased efficiency. What is the reality? What are the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid and remote work from the perspective of employees?
A few words about remote work.
Remote work is the performance of professional duties from a distance (e.g., from one’s own home), often during non-standard working hours. Jobs that typically operate on a home office basis include programmers, copywriters, computer graphics designers, individuals involved in the operation of online stores, some bank employees, and office workers.
Employers who assign tasks in the form of home office work usually provide their employees with the necessary equipment. Some also cover the costs of electricity or mobile phone subscriptions. Instead, employees are often paid a cash equivalent for using their own devices.
Remote work in 2023
Interestingly, since the beginning of March 2023, a new amendment has come into effect in Poland that regulates the rules of remote work. The Labor Code now includes a detailed definition of remote work, the responsibilities of employers and employees, and guidelines regarding who can take advantage of the privilege of working from home.
Not too long ago, the remote work model was considered inefficient and unprofessional. The pandemic situation turned everything upside down, revealing the previously unseen advantages of working from home. Employers who opted for this model unanimously point to cost reduction and increased efficiency in the company. But what do employees think about it?
Remote work – comfort, a sense of freedom, and flexibility
In today’s highly developed and ever-advancing world, remote work is inevitably associated with the highest level of comfort, independence, and flexibility. An employee performing corporate duties in the form of home office work has a certain degree of freedom. Working from home gives them a sense of freedom. Typically, they do not have to work during specific hours and can take a break for lunch or a short walk at any time. The lack of constant supervision from superiors enhances psychological comfort, satisfaction, and motivation to work.
Remote work can be done from home or from any other place on Earth. It can be combined with a passion for traveling, allowing professionals to perform their job duties in the most wonderful corners of the world. Surrounded by exceptional nature that relaxes and puts them in a fantastic mood. The key is to ensure good equipment and access to a secure and fast internet connection. Then, anything is possible!
Home office can have a positive impact on family relationships. When working remotely, we have more time for our loved ones.
Remote work means saving time! Commuting to and from work can take up to an hour or two each day. This is especially true in large, crowded cities. An employee working from home doesn’t have to wake up much earlier and waste time on commuting. They can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee or aromatic tea in the comfort of their own home before work, calmly escort their child to school or daycare, or take the dog for a walk. Additionally, they save money they would have spent on fuel or tickets. They don’t have to worry about being late. All they need to do is turn on the computer and log into the system at the right time.
One significant advantage of remote work from the employees’ perspective is undoubtedly the absence of office distractions. Loud conversations of colleagues, the sound of typing on keyboards, or constantly ringing phones can quickly disrupt concentration, making it much more challenging to work efficiently. Research conducted by Catalyst clearly shows that the opportunity to work from home translates into increased employee efficiency and boosts their engagement in daily tasks.
Remote employees have a chance for better employment
The last but not least advantage of the remote work model is the opportunity to find employment in a prestigious company. This is especially valuable for people from small, less promising towns. By working remotely, we can apply to companies from other cities – not only in Poland but from all over the world.
Home distractions and other inconveniences of remote work
The biggest disadvantage of home office mentioned by employees is the lack of direct contact with colleagues. This was pointed out by as many as 44% of respondents in a survey conducted by HRstandard. Extroverts who enjoy spending time among people may feel particularly uncomfortable. Alienation can reduce their effectiveness and lower their well-being.
Many people also struggle with home distractions. These can include noisy family members, the need to prepare meals, neighbor’s renovations, or a persistent mail carrier. Even the smallest inconvenience can make it difficult to fully concentrate on tasks and, in turn, reduce an employee’s productivity and satisfaction. Remote employees often have to work longer hours than their colleagues in the office.
Lack of work-life balance
Some employees struggle to find a balance between work and personal life. It can be challenging to separate professional duties from domestic ones when your dining table becomes your office, and you send morning emails from your bed. Home should be a haven of peace, a place of relaxation where you can escape from the outside world. That’s why it’s essential to establish clear boundaries, such as creating a dedicated workspace and setting remote work rules that won’t disrupt your home life.
Other downsides of remote work include:
- The need for better work organization.
- Reduced motivation to work.
- Procrastination throughout the day.
- The absence of a home office.
Hybrid work model – definition
The hybrid work model combines remote and on-site work. This means that employees are required to be present at the company’s office at specific times, such as once a week or for a week in a month.
The hybrid work mode has emerged as a response to the challenges of bringing employees back to the office after lockdowns. Has it been adopted successfully? What are its advantages?
Hybrid work – advantages of this form of employment
Employees can work in the comfort of their own homes while maintaining contact with their colleagues. Hybrid work is flexible, efficient, and allows for better time management. During remote work (home office), employees can fully focus on tasks and carry them out effectively. On the other hand, days spent in the office can be used for matters that are difficult to handle in a home environment. The absence of a daily commute to work generates additional savings, not only in terms of money but also time. Moreover, it provides an opportunity to establish a boundary between work and personal life, achieve a work-life balance, and enjoy better well-being.
The hybrid work model under scrutiny – what do research studies say?
The benefits of the hybrid work model are supported by the findings of numerous research studies. The EY 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey revealed that hybrid work enhances employees’ creativity and helps them solve emerging problems and conflicts. Respondents in a survey conducted by pracuj.pl also admitted that after transitioning to the hybrid model, they spend less time commuting to work and save on expenses, such as fuel and meals. Among the advantages of hybrid work, they also include greater flexibility, higher efficiency, and the ability to independently arrange and choose their workspace.
Disadvantages of hybrid work
Similar to remote work, the difficulty of separating professional and personal life can be a drawback. In the previously mentioned pracuj.pl report, employees consider the following as disadvantages of hybrid work: the need to use private space for work purposes, lower efficiency, and infrequent contact with coworkers.
Extended working hours, reduced productivity, and limited interaction with other employees can lead to a decline in well-being. In the worst case, it can even result in burnout. That’s why it’s crucial to find a balance in the hybrid mode, similar to remote work, that ensures comfort, well-being, and enables the efficient completion of professional tasks.