What is ‘Hybrid working’?

‘Hybrid working’ describes a working environment
in which an organisation’s employees split their
work between office-based locations and home
or other remote locations. Several publicly visible,
global businesses have announced their intention
to continue this indefinitely, allowing employees
to work how and where they choose, including BP,
Twitter, Capital One and Microsoft.
While there are many benefits, many businesses are
now discovering that the transition to hybrid work
isn’t without challenges. Continuing to utilise the
existing technology stack that they already had in
place may not be sufficient to provide a seamless
experience when some employees are in the office,
and some are remote.

Commercial benefits

Hybrid working presents organisations with new
challenges, but it also offers them opportunities
that may not have been considered viable in more
traditional office-based work environments, also
encouraging the adoption of cloud services as part
of accelerated digital transformation projects.
Looking at it from the point of view of a business,
hybrid working creates an environment in which
organisations can potentially get the most out of
their workforce. Every employee is working in their


office will be painless and simple, but in some
cases, workers have become used to their new
routines, and the benefits brought about by
working in such a way.
Saved costs, and the time gained by removing
the need to commute, leading in many cases to
a better work–life balance through allowing more
time for family, friends, and exercise are the most
tangible benefit of remote working. However,
additionally, many workers cite a greater ability
to focus with fewer distractions, IT upskilling and
higher levels of motivation as further benefits.
A good hybrid working policy will make it seamless
for employees who will likely benefit from these
benefits, and for whom a role is suitable for remote
work at times. However it is also essential to
consider those who are keen to return to the office.
Ultimately this will lead to higher levels of employee
job satisfaction and reduced absence rates.
Lastly, a hybrid working policy should allow
businesses attract new talent, driven to find an
employer with flexible working options, or who may
otherwise have been geographically unsuitable, or
perhaps would not have been able to commit to a
full-time commute to an office location.

Challenges to consider

While there are many benefits associated with a
hybrid working policy, there are several decisions
businesses need to make before implementing.
These are everything from how to overcome legal
and HR challenges, through to technology related
From a legal standpoint, if a business is considering
formally introducing a policy, there may be
contractual updates required for updated policies
including, for example, managing travelling and
other expenses, IT usage, homeworking, and data
In more human terms there must be thought
given to how new policies affect the wellbeing
of the most important resource within a business
– employees. It is essential that organisation

preferred way, in their chosen environment. What
we’re seeing is businesses looking at the technology
solutions they need to enable this.
From a commercial standpoint, the introduction
of the cloud-based technology solutions
required for effective hybrid working can actually
save cost and increase efficiency if correctly
implemented. Reducing on-site hardware for IT
and telecommunications and switching to monthly
subscription-based services will allow a transition
from CapEx to OpEx, meaning no upfront expenditure
and improved cashflow, while compliance, resilience
and scalability are improved.
As well as the improved agility, it is possible that
hybrid working can reduce costs in other ways,
perhaps through a lower demand for office space, or
through simplifying IT requirements for a business.
While it may seem complex to have remote workers
utilising cloud-based tools, often your provider
should be able to provide all the necessary training
for your employees, meanwhile the responsibility for
hosting, servicing, and upgrading your services will
also fall to the vendor.

Employee benefits

Employees of many businesses have now either
worked in part or entirely from home for 12-18
months. It would be easy to assume the return to

build a culture that is suitable for hybrid working.
Managers should develop skills to ensure effective
communication, performance management, team
and relationship building and collaboration in hybrid
teams, while training on any new systems is essential.
With that in mind, how does your technology stack
encourage relationship building and collaboration?
Does your business use instant messaging or
collaboration tools such as Teams to promote
‘ad-hoc’ discussion, and if so, are they setup for
online meetings by default and do they also allow
employees to make external phone calls from the
same system? Considering a unified communications
strategy could be central to ensuring many other
challenges are easily overcome.
One final challenge for operating hybrid working
practices is security. Once outside of a well-protected
office network, and instead reliant on their own
connectivity, employee devices could be vulnerable
to security breaches. This can be easily overcome
by implementing suitable IT and mobile policies, and
with the implementation of threat defence software,
but is important to consider.

Hybrid working can bring commercial and
employee benefits when implemented well.
Reduced office space and demands on IT and
other services can save businesses costs, while
cloud migration increases efficiency and agility.
Meanwhile reduced time commuting, better worklife balance and increased flexibility can improve
well-being for staff.
However, in a hybrid work environment,
businesses continuing to rely on their existing
technology stacks and business policies may
struggle to adapt. Employees need to be able
to work seamlessly between workplace and
home, and there needs to be ease of connectivity
between people in the office and those working
remotely. Older solutions may not translate
seamlessly into hybrid work environments, while
business culture may need to adjust to maximise
the new opportunity.