In the wake of the initial lockdowns of COVID-19, where governments required offices to send workers home in droves, many companies had to adapt quickly to continue trading. Thanks to the connectivity enabled by the Internet, it wasn’t long before most businesses were still able to function through remote working.
Video calling technologies such as Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, or Microsoft Teams made it possible to hold meetings and make decisions virtually, and cloud computing allowed individuals who lived miles apart to work on the same documents simultaneously. In this way, businesses were able to progress through some of the most challenging months in recent memory.
However, as coronavirus becomes less of a pressing concern for many, offices have reopened, and a debate has sprung up around whether or not employees should be returning to work in offices at all. For some employers, remaining entirely remote has been the solution to many former problems. Other companies have insisted on their staff coming back into office in order to return to what feels like a normal state of business.
In between these two approaches to returning to work post COVID-19, another model has sprung up: hybrid working. In this blog, we’ll explore what hybrid working means for both employers and employees and look at some of the pros and cons of this new working life model.
What Is Hybrid Working?
Hybrid working has a relatively loose definition but generally refers to the practice of giving employees the flexibility to split their time between working at the office—that is, physically showing up for the duration of the working day—and working remotely. For many, working remotely means working from home; however, employees could also choose to log in and work from a coffee shop, library, or shared office space that is local to them.
This approach has become increasingly popular among employers and employees alike. According to the Office for National Statistics, the proportion of individuals in the UK working the hybrid model rose from 13% in early February of 2022 to 24% in May of 2022. A separate study indicated that 85% of working adults were interested in using the hybrid approach of home and office working at some point in the future.
But what are the benefits—or drawbacks—of hybrid working for employers and employees? In terms of mental health, this new work model has extremely interesting positive and negative implications.
Pros: Flexibility and Efficiency Are Key
One of the most obviously beneficial elements of the hybrid working model is its flexibility. This is excellent for most people who have busy schedules and occasionally need to organise a work day around their children, a social event, a medical appointment, or other commitment, but it is especially beneficial for those who have additional responsibilities as carers or who live far from their offices. In this way, hybrid working is beneficial to mental health and provides an opportunity to address geographic and economic inequality and improve diversity and inclusion.
Hybrid working can also promote a better work-life balance (though it has to be managed carefully) and offer employees more time to focus on family life, friendships, relationships, and community engagement. For employers, hybrid working has been shown to significantly increase productivity, according to a report by Forbes.
Cons: Isolating Individuals and Blurring the Work-Life Balance
Of course, hybrid working is not a perfect solution. While working from home is appealing for many, it can also cause individuals to forget to draw boundaries around what constitutes a workday. Forbes calls this ‘The Remote Work Paradox’: employees may be working more efficiently and ultimately being more productive, but it can come at the cost of their quality of life.
While an office provides a clear distinction between work time and personal time, those who choose to work from home—even for a few days a week—may struggle to feel those distinctions. This can result working extra hours and being on the clock all the time. Working from home also isolates employees from the social culture of working life, which can lead to increased stress and feelings of loneliness.
According to the World Economic Forum, considerably more remote workers reported high-stress levels. What’s more, those who worked from home in an environment where office work was still an option reported feeling left out and mistreated and less able to deal with conflict between themselves and colleagues or management.
Whether you work hybrid, remotely, or in-office, work-related stress and isolation are often the issues at the root of anxiety, depression, burnout, or substance use disorders. If you are struggling with any of these issues, Revoke are here to help. Our outpatient programmes are designed to provide tailored therapeutic treatment alongside your daily responsibilities, so you can begin your recovery journey without disrupting your life.
 Shilling, C. (2022) The Future of The Workplace: Is Hybrid Working Here To Stay? Simply Business, 18 May. https://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2022/05/what-is-hybrid-working/
 Office for National Statistics. (2022) Is hybrid working here to stay? https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/ishybridworkingheretostay/2022-05-23
 Office of National Statistics. (2021) Business and individual attitudes towards the future of homeworking, UK: April to May 2021. https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/businessandindividualattitudestowardsthefutureofhomeworkinguk/apriltomay2021
 PwC. (2022) The rise of hybrid working: How to transform your organisation for our changed world. https://www.pwc.co.uk/issues/transformation/case-studies-and-insights/the-rise-of-hybrid-working.html
 CIPD. (2021) Planning for hybrid working. https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/flexible-working/planning-hybrid-working
 Rozentals, A. (2022) In-Office Vs. Remote Vs. Hybrid Work Two Years Later: The Impact On Employee Efficiency. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/03/18/in-office-vs-remote-vs-hybrid-work-two-years-later-the-impact-on-employee-efficiency/
 World Economic Forum. (2019) Remote working could harm your mental health, study says. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/10/remote-working-from-home-increase-stress-anxiety-mental-health/