Technology is changing, so the working environment has also been changing, seeing some companies embrace remote working. During the Covid 19 p pandemic and in adherence to the WHO regulation of social distance, companies had to adopt remote working. However, such an approach to the working environment is a good reflection of a hybrid working environment that has been advantageous and with challenges at times (Brocke et al., 2018). Usually, having strategic human resource management is key in ensuring that workers all work towards attaining the goals and objectives of the company. As more and more people in the workforce split their time between the office and remote locations, managers must find innovative ways to keep their teams productive and cohesive. Designing efficient hybrid models need consideration of several elements. Each model can be tailored to the requirements of individual departments (Mras et al., 2017). Over time, it became obvious to many companies that are increasing employee flexibility, including enabling some employees to work from home, either sometimes or permanently, improved staff morale and productivity. The essay examines the specific challenges associated with a hybrid work plan in the working environment.
2.1 Benefits of Hybrid Work Plan System
Strategic human resource management, which is essential in the management of employees, plays a crucial role in ensuring that the responsibility of employees is well structured to ensure that they meet their goals and objectives. A hybrid work plan has been one of the major improvements that have been made to ensure that such strategies work effectively and efficiently (Raghuram et al., 2019). According to Brocke et al. (2018), a hybrid work plan adopted by most companies has been beneficial. For instance, the approach has been crucial in ensuring the employee’s well-being. Evidently, staff members were exposed to the benefits of working from home during the epidemic. Working from home, whether full- or part-time, has been increasingly widespread in recent years (Cherubini et al., 2021). Many workers value the company’s emphasis on their health and family life as a major benefit.
Furthermore, the hybrid approach is better for workers’ well-being in terms of health and safety because fewer people are in the office. When there are fewer people in a smaller space, the chance of an outbreak is diminished. The likelihood of workers contracting an illness from a co-worker is low. The convenience of having one’s own home means that unwell people can stay there and recuperate in peace.
The benefits of hybrid work would also be argued to enhance productivity and reduce overhead costs. Having workers who can occasionally or regularly work from home has the potential to cut costs in areas like electricity and office rent. Many companies have adopted hot desking rules and relocated to smaller quarters to save money on rent. Furthermore, a hybrid work plan enhances the expansion of talents. The opportunity to adjust recruiting standards is offered with hybrid work models (Brocke et al., 2018). Companies would be at a disadvantage in the war for talent if they did not offer hybrid work arrangements to employees. This also makes it easier for businesses to hire people who require flexible hours due to child care or other commitments. Employers may win over and keep the best new hires by giving them the freedom to establish their work schedules (Verma & Singh, 2022). Due to the flexibility of hybrid work arrangements, many candidates can be considered for open positions (Konovalova et al., 2022). The flexibility of hybrid work arrangements also allows companies to use the talents of people in different time zones.
2.2 Challenges Facing Hybrid Work Plan System
Collaboration fosters creativity, strengthens bonds, and creates happier employees and a more pleasant workplace. However, remote communication and collaboration might become disconnected with so many Zoom sessions and in-person meetings. The digital technologies required for hybrid work may make some people anxious or unfamiliar. Clearly, reliance on technology leads to severe problems with communicating with others. Although many of us overcame technological obstacles when we first converted to remote work in March 2020, the transition to hybrid working can be rocky
initially (Capgemini, 2020).
Besides, the difficulty of coordinating a group’s efforts increases dramatically when its members are dispersed across geographic distances and/or time zones. Researchers have warned of the potential of “faultlines” developing in the workplace between face-to-face co-workers and those who do not. Due to the time and effort required to connect with co-workers in different places, those working remotely may feel excluded from regular office conversations and decisions. As people become accustomed to being on the outside looking in, they are more easily dissuaded from participating in important deliberations and decisions (Ali et al., 2018).
2.2.2 Infrastructural Hurdles
Technical difficulties are the most obvious difficulties of any remote or hybrid work arrangement. This could be because of a lack of internet connection or an insufficient power grid. Organizations running on a restricted budget would struggle to equip each employee with cutting-edge computers and programs. When working with a Remote Desktop Infrastructure, employees can become very frustrated due to issues like latency.
Within the framework of the hybrid model, firms have a wide range of options for how they can function. Today’s employees have a special issue: they often have to divide their time between the office and their homes or other locations (Capgemini, 2020). For instance, before hosting a face-to-face and virtual meeting, the organizer should ensure sure everyone involved has access to the necessary materials.
The happiness of an organization’s employees is significantly affected by its culture. Having employees from different backgrounds can be challenging since it might hinder efforts to develop a strong, united business culture. When members of a global team are located in different parts of the world, it can be difficult to pull everyone together under a single set of guidelines. In-house and remote workers often interpret an organization’s values and norms differently. The dynamics of meetings, office parties, and other forms of workplace interaction and communication change significantly when conducted digitally compared to in person. The challenge is keeping workers invested in and committed to the company’s mission (Raghuram et al., 2019).
This is a predicament causing top leaders great concern as the pandemic persists and the prospects of getting everyone back to work look dim. After the initial days and months of working from home, many companies were relieved to find that their employees remained productive and invested in their work (Raghuram et al., 2019). The personnel had presumably worked closely together in the years before the pandemic, giving them a wealth of expertise in working together efficiently and a deep acquaintance with the organization’s values, norms, and expectations. One of the most pressing issues in today’s businesses is how to quickly and effectively integrate new hires, whether interns, entry-level workers, or seasoned executives, into the organization’s established norms and values. Further, in talent-scarce industries like technology, consulting, or finance, a company’s culture can be crucial in communicating the company’s USP to prospective workers (Joshi et al., 2020). If workers seldom or rarely come into the office or spend time together, the company will lose its distinctive “feel” and will have trouble competing for talent with other companies.
Strong personal and social interactions at work are crucial to feeling accepted and safe in one’s work environment. The effectiveness of a team is crucial to its overall performance (Cherubini et al., 2021). The benefits of hybrid teams are enhanced by their members’ ability to maintain open lines of communication and build trusting relationships regardless of whether they meet in person or digitally. However, the difficulty of combining remote and in-office workers depends not on the size of a company’s team but on the nature of the work. Teamwork is essential; it keeps an organization running smoothly and inspires breakthrough innovations. It may not be realistic to expect workers to develop ideas independently (Joshi et al., 2020).
Numerous studies have shown that an employee’s excitement for their work directly correlates to their productivity and, ultimately, the success of their firm. Gallup found that disengaged workers are 17% less productive than those who were engaged. The study also found that a rise in employee engagement is correlated with a 21 percent rise in profits (Raghuram et al., 2019). However significant they may be in dissolving distinctions between introverts and extroverts, distance and time zone differences have a much more direct bearing on the phenomenon of passive disengagement (Konovalova et al., 2022). Often, stronger, more organic ties are formed when people gather together in person for a common purpose. It has been shown that both formally established routes and more casual means of spreading information inside a corporation are equally effective. Face-to-face communication between co-workers has increased efficiency (Brocke et al., 2018).
Communicating problems does not only involve technological obstacles and poor planning. The even more significant problem is how working remotely may strain or even destroy personal connections. Women and minorities face additional challenges when building and maintaining professional networks and mentoring links (Raghuram et al., 2019). According to research, supportive social networks are linked to better mental health (Brocke et al., 2018). Consequently, this can make employees unhappy, decreasing their dedication to their professions and increasing their propensity to look elsewhere for satisfaction.
2.2.5 Business Process Compliance
Businesses are placing a greater emphasis on business process compliance to enhance efficiency and meet the requirements of government authorities. Under the hybrid work plan, employees may be too preoccupied with their tasks to ensure that each step of the hybrid process is carried out properly. If this happens, the company may struggle to meet the regulations vital to its operations (Konovalova et al., 2022). Hence, the quality of data collected is negatively impacted when procedures are not followed. As a result, businesses should also consider the contexts in which they gather internal output measures. This integrity can only be maintained if employees strictly adhere to their superiors’ policies and procedures.
2.2.6 Other Challenges
The other challenges arising from a hybrid work plan are the lack of safety when working from home, privacy, internet challenges, and lack of sufficient infrastructure. According to Capgemini (2020), working from home has had many challenges, and one of the ever-experienced challenges that have made it challenging for the strategic management team is how to manage the infrastructural system. Often home working staff might lack sufficient furniture to help them conduct their responsibilities. This might include a lack of quality working office such as appropriate chairs. To some extent, the long-term effect of lacking, for instance, good office chairs are back pains, a factor expected to influence the health and safety issues of the employees.
On the other hand, the other issue expected to affect the hybrid work plan is the privacy of working from home. Working from home exposes the company’s privacy issues as a staff is forced to log in and use company services and privacy structures away from the office, which might expose the company to cybercrime. This can be based on the different sources of the internet used at home, which further exposes the company to security issues. The other major issue of great concern in the hybrid work plan is the lack of work-life balance. It is highly expressed that staffs working from home never tend to have a work-life balance as they might opt to work throughout (Cherubini et al., 2021). The expected outcome of such a lack of work-life balance is poor performance.
The hybrid work plan system adopted by companies has shifted towards enhancing productivity and ensuring freedom in the working environment. However, issues have been associated with communication, connection, adherence to organizational policies, cultural adherence, and infrastructural challenges with the hybrid work plan system. Often, larger companies can solve these issues by implementing all worker-requested infrastructure upgrades. Companies should also invest in digital adoption technology to solve the challenges. There are a lot of unanswered questions about hybrid work, but many of them can be addressed. Maintaining an open dialogue between management and staff and developing new approaches to employee empowerment and motivation are essential for any successful business. Besides, companies should be willing to invest in the company’s culture and create a hybrid work environment based on the values that the company’s brand stands for. Companies should also provide employees with technological resources for simple, convenient remote collaboration. The success of a hybrid workplace depends on its employee’s ability to stay connected at all times, making it crucial to use effective conferencing and communication solutions.
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