Remote Work vs. Hybrid Models: Which Tech Solutions Are Best for Your Team?

It’s no secret that demand for remote and hybrid work has been steadily increasing for a while now. While workers had been asking for their employers to adopt these models previously, acceptance of both models was kicked into overdrive by the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. After the dust has settled, remote and hybrid models seem to have serious longevity, as over 56% of workers with remote-compatible jobs only go into the office one to four days out of a week.

Such a dramatic shift in working life has leaders like you worried. Sure, remote and hybrid employees typically enjoy the flexibility and better work-life balance of these models, yet other employees report feeling disconnected, ill-supported, and missing in-office culture. How can your organization switch to a remote or hybrid model that supports your employees adequately, instilling a status quo of culture, cooperation, and productivity?

In this article, we’ll briefly dive into both models’ pros and cons, helping you isolate which of the two is better for your team. We’ll then explore line items that will empower your employees to do their best work in both models, including infrastructure requirements, cybersecurity measures, and engagement tools.

Pros and Cons: Remote and Hybrid Models

For clarity’s sake, let’s start by defining both models in clear, concise terms. The remote work model is one where your employees are allowed to perform their duties at an alternative site, usually their home. They aren’t required to come into the office except on rare occasions and must maintain certain levels of productivity to keep that arrangement intact.

The hybrid work model is an attempt to merge the best of both in-office and remote work, requiring employees to be present in-office regularly while still allowing them to work from an alternative site a few days out of the week.

Both remote and hybrid models allow employees to have a greater degree of flexibility in their day-to-day lives, cutting commute time, allowing them to more thoroughly customize their offices, and providing greater autonomy in their time management. On the management level, embracing remote work can lead to lower resource costs, a wider talent recruitment pool, and increased employee satisfaction and retention. Hybrid workers tend to enjoy balancing the benefits of both models, having in-person meetings with their managers, water cooler talk, and face-to-face collaboration with coworkers on some days – and on others, enjoying the increased ability to focus, telecommuting, and other remote benefits.

However, both remote and hybrid work can create significant challenges. Working in different time zones and co-workers stepping “away” from their computers creates issues with collaboration, and the lack of in-person interaction may lead to feelings of loneliness. Effectiveness in these models is highly contingent on employees’ living spaces, with factors like high-speed internet access, living near avenues of transportation, and a secluded place for meetings making or breaking their ability to do their jobs.

Productivity can also dip as employees encounter distractions at home or misuse their autonomy – and managers’ attempts to curtail that effect through spyware may engender distrust. There’s a give-and-take with either model. If you want to construct a model that empowers your employees to enjoy the benefits while mitigating the consequences, employing technological tools that support your remote/hybrid framework is your best bet.

Constructing a Supportive Infrastructure

In constructing an infrastructure that supports your employees, your first step should be to encourage employees to audit their home’s Wi-Fi. Depending on the bandwidth requirements of their job, they may be able to get by on DSL or satellite internet; but if they require a connection with higher speeds or faster download times, they may benefit from a fiber optic or cable network.

Next, you need to consider what hardware your employees will need to work from home effectively. If you’re transitioning to a fully remote environment, you can save on costs by transitioning office hardware, like personal computers, monitors, and the requisite appliances to employees’ home offices. If you’re going with a hybrid model, a one-time investment in company laptops is probably your best bet. With either option, you restrict your employees’ network access to company assets, and can further bolster cybersecurity with VPNs, antivirus software, and frequent network patching.

Once your employees have the framework needed to perform their duties, you can provide additional support with tools designed to support remote and hybrid working models. Tools like remote desk software facilitate smooth employee training, while applications like time zone monitoring, reminder automation software, and collaboration platforms bridge the gap between employees working outside the office.

You can also leverage technology to boost productivity – and we’re not necessarily talking about spyware, though that is an option if you feel it necessary. Project management software allows stakeholders across the company to see individual steps in processes, align on project progress, and hold each other accountable for deliverables. You can also use cloud storage options to provide a centralized location for employees to access and collaborate on company assets, whether they’re in the office or outside it.

Whether you choose to implement a remote or hybrid working model, you can create a supportive, culture-driven, and productive environment. Using tools that are designed to add structure to and facilitate the roles of employees in these frameworks, you’ll be well on your way to creating a working model that drives retention, satisfaction, and collaboration.

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