Hybrid working: clarity is key

Hybrid working now has a significant role in the labour market. Many employees value the flexibility of working from either home or the office. It is important though to make clear agreements with your employees. Learn more about the various types of hybrid working and the pros and cons of each. 

Hybrid working is a model in which employees mix in-office and remote work. There are different ways of organising hybrid working and it is good to take the time to find the method that fits your business needs and your staff’s preferences the best. A report by the Dutch Foundation for Psychotechnology (in Dutch, pdf) highlighted 5 versions of hybrid working models. 

1. Full-staff, part-time approach 

One approach is to ask all employees to come into the office on selected days. Whether you want office days every other day, every week, or every month is up to you. Companies opting for this approach create a lot of clarity at the cost of flexibility. You will not be able to take the individual needs of teams or employees into consideration. 

Pros and cons: 

  • Lower heating and electricity costs on days when the office is empty 
  • Presents team-building opportunities because everyone meets in the office on the same day
  • Offers opportunity to rent out or share the office on vacant days 

2. Half-staff, full-time approach 

If you are glad that busy office days are a thing of the past but prefer having someone in the office at all times, you can split your workforce into two groups that alternate every other day, week, or month. 

Pros and cons: 

  • Allows you to move into a smaller office 
  • Less crowding means more concentration 
  • Splitting the workforce up into 2 groups can hurt team-building 

3. Activity-based approach 

With the activity-based approach, you work in the office when your daily activities demand it. As a result, your schedule can vary from 1 week to the next. If you have a lot of collaborative work, like meetings or brainstorming sessions, the office is the place to be. For tasks that you can easily do alone from behind a computer, staying at home is better. Whereas employees will tailor their calendar to office days or working from home days with the first approach, this approach does exactly the opposite. By determining in advance what activities will take place where, you still create clarity. 

Pros and cons: 

  • Every activity happens in the ideal place 
  • Number of office days and working-from-home days can vary for different roles 
  • Requires clear coordination between employees regarding availability 

4. Role or team-based approach 

You can also opt for a hybrid approach based on specific roles or teams. Suppose you have 2 teams in your company led by the same team leader. Team 1 does more work that requires a great deal of concentration, which means they only need to be in the office 40% of the time. Team 2 does more work that requires collaboration and brainstorming, which means they need to be in the office 60% of the time. The team leader who leads both teams is in the office even more often, because of their role. 

Pros and cons: 

  • All team members work in the office at the same time 
  • You can estimate office occupancy in advance 
  • Creates imbalances between teams 

5. Preference-based approach 

The final approach does not revolve around your company or your employees’ duties, but around their personal preferences. Employees are free to choose where they want to work depending on their own needs and wishes. To avoid chaos, it is essential that you make clear agreements. You can either make individual agreements with each employee or allow teams to coordinate among themselves. 

Pros and cons: 

  • Autonomous employees are often more productive and happier 
  • Better work-life balance for employees 
  • If your employee's preferences change, you need to make new arrangements 

Important: employees may legally request to work from home at any time. As an employer, you must agree unless you have compelling grounds not to. This is set out in the Flexible Working Act.