How Can Hybrid Work Models Affect Employee Training?
Remote work is pretty much everywhere you look these days. It’s not at all uncommon for executives at Fortune 500 companies to work from an office in their homes. Why? It saves money, helps out the environment, and it’s just comfortable. But as the professional world slips further and further into this paradigm, it’s sensible to wonder if anything is being lost along the way. How does a hybrid work environment impact employee training and productivity? Read on to find out!
What Is A Hybrid Work Environment?
When people refer to hybrid work environments, they are usually talking about companies that allow their employees to divide their time between remote and in-person work. Some may mandate that a specific amount of time be spent in the office, while others will allow the employees to decide for themselves how they spend their time.
As a result of this arrangement, businesses all over the country have begun to downsize their leases. Companies that used to rent or own entire buildings may reduce their physical location to a single floor—sometimes a shared floor space at that. Not only does this arrangement help them to save an enormous amount of money on overhead, but it has also served to put a big dent in the carbon footprint that is produced by commuting. It’s a big boon, but is there a downside? How is this arrangement impacting productivity and training potential?
The Impact Of Hybrid Work Models On Employee Productivity
People have been interested in working from home for decades. Ever since the internet became a household phenomenon, remote work has felt possible. Now, with a whole slate of collaborative tools, it’s easier than ever. The workforce has been moving in this direction for years, but the pandemic sped things up considerably. When COVID-19 regulations mandated remote work, no one knew exactly what it would be like. Millions of people were surprised to find out that it was approximately the same. They could accomplish just as much as they ever did in person and still have time for other things, like dropping their kid off at school or getting in a run. Why are people able to work faster from home? There are a few reasons.
1. No Commute
The average American commute is about half an hour. That means that the average person spends an hour a day just driving to and from work. That’s a lot of time that could be better put to more fruitful activities.
2. Fewer Meetings
Of course, it is possible to have remote meetings, but, as everyone quickly found out, they can be a bit of a drag. Internet connections lag. There’s always one person who can’t really figure out the microphone situation. And personal lives splash around wildly in the background. Consequently, people decided to be sparing with how and when they held their meetings. If something could be summarized in an email, that’s usually what happened. Excessive meetings have long been considered an enormous waste of time and resources, and thanks to COVID-19, they are now largely extinct.
3. Lunch At Your Desk?
Remote work also eliminates the need for long lunch breaks. That hour that used to get spent scrolling on your phone in the breakroom can now go toward finishing work early. Alternatively, you can use some of the time you saved from the above-mentioned activities to have a leisurely lunch out with a friend or partner. It’s that level of flexibility that so many people mention as being their favorite thing about working from home.
4. Fewer Coworker Interactions
You can actually chalk this one up as a pro and a con. On the one hand, people have found that they can get more done without constantly chitchatting with the people around them. Just a few conversations a day can eat away at your productivity time. Tucked away at home, it’s much harder to waste time in this way. That said, it’s also harder to make friends. Workplace relationships are frequently cited as the most important factor a person takes into consideration when they think about if they want to change jobs. Often, it outranks salary.
People who struggle with remote work frequently mention this as their chief complaint. They enjoy their coworkers and want to spend time with them. Still, from a strictly utilitarian perspective, it’s a worthy sacrifice. Add up everything we’ve mentioned so far. You could potentially shave hours off your working day just by working from home. Does it shake out quite so cleanly? Maybe not always. There are distractions at home, just as there are at work. But the flexibility is there. Remote work gives people the option to pivot into the workflow most conducive to the lifestyle that they want. For many people, this is an enormous boon.
The Impact Of Hybrid Work Models On Employee Training
If there is one feature of remote or hybrid work life that has hit a snag, it might be training. It’s not so much that companies have a harder time training their employees remotely than they did in person. Communication technology continues to make collaborating remotely easy, even with new hires. However, the onboarding experience as a whole has changed. For the new hire, it can be harder to acclimate to their new place of employment remotely. One of the reasons may be that it simply doesn’t feel different than it did before.
If you used to work from home as a copywriter for Company X, and now you are doing the same work for Company Y, what has really changed? Sure, you’re emailing people with different names, but the work is similar, and the room you are doing it in is the exact same. To that end, it can help to lean into the in-person side of the hybrid work environment when it comes to onboarding a new hire. This gives them a chance to meet new people and get a firmer grasp of what it feels like to work for you.