The Hybrid Work Model – Is it Right For Your Small Business?

Thomas Hughes
March 27, 2024

In today’s rapidly changing work landscape, the hybrid work model has become a popular choice for small businesses. Having experienced it firsthand as an employee, I can speak to its benefits as I feel it’s the ideal blend of in-person collaboration and work-life balance. While it may be perfect for some, it’s important to recognize it does come with its own set of challenges and considerations. While the hybrid work model might not work for every small business, the question remains – is it the right fit for yours?

The Rapid Rise of the Hybrid Work Model 

The rapid rise of the hybrid work model can be attributed to a number of factors, primarily technological advances and the need to quickly adapt to remote work because of a worldwide pandemic. 

In recent years, technology has continued to advance at a swift pace. With high-speed internet now accessible nearly everywhere, it allows people to work from the comfort of their home office or a local coffee shop without worrying about internet connectivity or their video calls being dropped. Additionally, cloud-based software has diminished the importance of paper. In the past, important documents and information were shared on paper and stored in file rooms necessitating an in-person presence. However, improvements in cloud-based software have made storing and transferring data much simpler, rendering paper nearly obsolete.  Asynchronous communication tools like Slack and Google Drive have made it easy for remote teams to communicate while in different countries, but still be productive.

In addition to the remarkable technological progress we’ve witnessed, the onset of a devastating pandemic forced our hand in early 2020, compelling many businesses to embrace remote work. For months, employees were relegated to working from home which yielded positive results overall. While most employers have called for employees to return to some form of in-office work to foster collaboration, evidence demonstrates businesses can continue to thrive while offering employees a more flexible work arrangement.

Benefits of the Hybrid Work Model 

Hybrid Work is often seen as the ideal blend of work-life balance, offering employees flexibility while sustaining in-office collaboration and fostering a thriving organizational culture. According to The Pulse of the American Worker Survey, 68% of Americans feel the ability to work remotely and on-site is the perfect work model, often leading to increased productivity and efficiency amongst the workforce. Granting employees the ability to choose their in-office days and have some control over their schedule is instrumental in helping maintain balance and preventing burnout.  On the flip side, the in-office experience is irreplaceable, particularly for industries where collaborative thinking and teamwork are critical to business success. Achieving this harmonious work model can serve as a compelling factor in both attracting and retaining top talent.  

From a practical perspective, hybrid work often results in tangible cost savings for both the employee and employer. For the employee, the ability to work from home multiple times per week results in reduced expenses on gas, tolls, and vehicle maintenance. For employers, this model lends itself to a reduced likelihood that the entire workforce will be present in the office on the same day. This allows for potential reductions in overhead costs related to office space and utilities. 

Another advantage of opting for a hybrid work model is that it significantly expands your potential talent pool. While geographic constraints may limit you to some extent, candidates who were previously hesitant to explore career opportunities with your company due to being on-site full-time might now reconsider.  The flexibility to work remotely, even occasionally, is a phenomenal perk that will instantly make your company more attractive to job seekers. According to Crain’s Future of Work Survey, nearly 8 out of 10 HR professionals believe flexible scheduling is a cost-effective way to improve retention efforts. These factors lead to increased access to top-notch talent, undoubtedly leading to greater success for the business.

Drawbacks of the Hybrid Work Model 

The same advantages offered by the hybrid work model can also pose potential drawbacks depending on each individual’s circumstances. For individuals capable of establishing clear boundaries between work and home, this model is extremely beneficial for achieving an ideal work/life balance. However, for workaholics inclined to work excessive hours, it provides them the opportunity to start work earlier and end work later. While this may begin as an advantage for the company, it will ultimately lead to employee burnout. Additionally, many assume that working from home provides employees with a dedicated quiet space separated from the distractions of your traditional office environment. This is not always the case. Some may have a distraction-free home office, while many others may find themselves working in chaos, surrounded by crying babies or noisy roommates. 

Although switching work models may offer cost-effective solutions in certain aspects, there is also the potential that it could bring significant expense to the business. If your current office setup relies on desktop computers, transitioning to laptops may be necessary to provide your workforce with the appropriate technology for remote work. Other costs associated with adopting a hybrid model could involve supplying employees with company-issued cell phones or offering a monthly cell phone reimbursement, providing printers and scanners, and issuing stipends for the purchase of home office furniture.  Additionally, one of the biggest motivators behind the current “return to office” movement is long-term leases and companies’ struggle to rationalize paying for office space if no one is using it.  But, they can’t break the lease, so the CEO’s philosophy towards work models is influenced by the bottom line of company finances.

How to Determine Whether the Hybrid Work Model is Right For Your Small Business 

When considering whether the hybrid work model would be suitable for your small business, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can your employees thrive in a hybrid business model, or is on-site presence necessary?
  • Does your business have the technological infrastructure required to support this style of work?
  • Will it impact your customer relationships?
  • Do you have the essential policies, procedures, and workflows established to support hybrid work?
  • Have your employees shared their views on whether they would actually endorse a transition to the hybrid work model?

The answers to these questions should help you deepen your understanding of how difficult transitioning to this work model will be and whether the juice will be worth the squeeze for your small business. 

An Outsourced HR Consultant Can Provide Guidance 

Whether it’s establishing the necessary infrastructure, conducting a needs assessment, or designing the framework for an experimental trial period, expert guidance is key to success. With Red Clover’s proven track record of assisting small and mid-sized businesses, we’ll provide you with all of the tools needed for a smooth transition to the hybrid work model. Reach out today to get started!

Photo Credit – Chris Montgomery on Unsplash!

Related Articles

The Results

Construction and Contracting

A commercial roofing contractor was in hyper growth mode. They had goals to increase their field workforce to expand their service area to additional states and geographical locations. If they were to grow their field workforce, they would also need to increase their administrative, operational and sales headcount to support the additional workload created by increased field work. Additionally, they were challenged in workforce retention and development, experiencing high turnover, and did not have a dedicated Human Resources professional to manage employee relations and compliance issues that come with trying to scale a business.

See The Full Case Study

For News and Events

Sign Up For News and Insights on HR, Change Management and Strategies.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.