More and more businesses are shifting from 100% in-office work to hybrid and remote offerings.

The question is: which of these options is best for your business?

In this post, you’ll learn all about hybrid vs remote work. You’ll discover the advantages and disadvantages of each and gain inspiration from companies who’ve made the shift to one or the other.


Quick Summary:

  • The hybrid work model is flexible, with employees balancing working remotely and working in the office. Employees are often free to set schedules based on individual work needs, productivity, and company goals.
  • The remote work model allows employees to work from anywhere. Fully remote teams don’t access a shared office or workspace.
  • Determining whether to shift to a hybrid or remote work model depends on your business goals, your ability to maintain the level of quality your customers expect, and how you can appropriately support your employees.

Hybrid vs Remote: All About Each Work Environment

The hybrid and remote work models have some clear distinctions.

hybrid and remote work models

In the hybrid work model, employees work both remotely and from the office — often setting their schedules based on their own or the company’s needs. For example, the need to access materials and opportunities for in-person collaboration or meetings will bring them in.

The remote work model allows employees to work from anywhere. Employees who are fully remote don’t access an office or shared workspace.

Now that you know the basics, let’s dive into the details of each of these work models.

Hybrid Work Model

The flexibility of the hybrid work model has made it increasingly popular over recent years. In fact, about 5 in 10 employees have hybrid schedules.

Hybrid Work Types

There are different naming conventions for the various hybrid work model arrangements but in general, there are four main types:

  • office-centric
  • flexible
  • remote-friendly
  • remote-first

4 types of hybrid work models

Choosing the best option will depend on how much flexibility you can offer your employees based on your business type and organizational goals. Shifting to a hybrid work model may make sense if you can maintain high quality and productivity standards.

Here’s a brief rundown of each hybrid work type:

Office-centric

The office-centric model requires employees to work in the office for most of the work week. Managers usually officialize this with hybrid work policies.

However, the employees may have some flexibility regarding their in-office hours and which days they work from home each week.

Flexible

The flexible hybrid model lives up to its name, offering employees schedule flexibility. This means the time they spend working in and out of the office is entirely up to them.

Remote-friendly

Remote-friendly businesses set clear guidelines on when and how employees work remotely. For example, employees may not be remote on certain days of the week or have restrictions on which tasks can be done remotely.

Remote-first

The remote-first model allows most employees to work remotely most of the time. In some occasions, empoyees still can gather in the office for the moments that matter.

Keep in mind that any of these hybrid models can be applied company-wide or specific to a department. If you need to maintain a physical presence to sell your product or provide your service, some workers won’t have the choice. However, employees in HR or accounting, for example, might make sense to shift to hybrid.

If you want to find the right hybrid work model for you, then take this short quiz.

Advantages of Hybrid Work

Hybrid businesses enjoy some clear benefits over fully remote work, including the following.

  • A better work-life balance – setting their schedules (here’s an example template) allows employees to take advantage of their most productive time. They adjust hours as necessary to enjoy events in their personal lives or schedule appointments.

Alternating hours is viewed as a critical benefit with increased employee job satisfaction.

That’s beneficial for their mental well-being and for employers, that means stronger employee engagement and increased workplace integrity.

  • Improved engagement and collaboration with colleagues. Employees who spend at least part of their work lives in the office enjoy the proven benefits of in-person communication.

Studies also show that being in the office two to three days per week is linked to positive employee engagement and improved well-being.

  • Access to office materials and work spaces is another perk of adopting a hybrid work model. Successful hybrid offices have spaces for team members to meet in large groups, interact one-on-one, and work at individual workstations.
  • Increased productivity – there are many studies that show that employee productivity flourishes when they have flexibility in their work schedules. Read more about that here.

And here’s a more extensive list of the most prominent hybrid work advantages.

Disadvantages of Hybrid Work

While the hybrid model offers some excellent benefits, you’ll want to be aware of some disadvantages, too. These include the following:

The three most prominent hybrid work challenges, as outlined in the article from OfficeRnD, are:

  • Transitioning to hybrid work might be tricky: Adapting to a hybrid model from traditional office or remote setups can be challenging. It requires balancing new work dynamics and managing initial productivity fluctuations. It requires the right software.
  • Difficult onboarding processes: Onboarding becomes more complex in a hybrid environment. It lacks the spontaneity and ease of in-person interactions, necessitating a more structured and well-planned approach.
  • Hybrid meetings present a challenge: Conducting effective meetings with both in-person and remote participants is tricky. It’s essential to ensure remote employees are equally involved and heard, which can be challenging in a hybrid setting.

Here’s an extensive article outlining some of the most important drawbacks and challenges of hybrid work.

Going hybrid also means you’ll have to factor in the costs of maintaining an office space for your employees. This includes the office’s physical location and the furniture, materials, and utilities you need to keep the space running.

However, if you already have an office space and you’re planning to go hybrid, this could save you money in the long run.

Determining how much office space you need requires knowing who is working in the office and when.

Without the right tools, this is no small task. With OfficeRnD Hybrid’s space management software, you can easily see what’s being used, what’s not, and where you might be able to reduce facilities costs.

Let’s look at an example of a business that has shifted to hybrid.

Hybrid Company Example

Microsoft embraces the hybrid work model by providing employees with various options regarding their work site, physical location, and working hours.

They reject the “one-size-fits-all” approach to the workday and instead are committed to offering flexible work for the long term. Many other companies have also successfully made this switch.

While hybrid work is a great option for many companies, you might wonder if an entirely remote workforce would better suit your business’s needs. Read on to learn more about this style.

Remote Work Model

Like hybrid, remote work is a popular model.

remote work model

The fully remote work model allows employees to work from wherever they choose. Remote employees don’t access an office or shared workspace.

About 3 in 10 U.S. workers are fully remote, with most HR in Fortune 500 companies reporting no plans to reduce remote work options in the foreseeable future.

Remote employees may also be referred to as work-from-home (WFH). While this is technically true, people with remote jobs can work from anywhere in the world.

If you’re interested in making your organization fully remote, there are benefits and drawbacks to remember.

Advantages of the Remote Work Model

Remote-only businesses have some distinct advantages.

  • Remote employees have the most flexibility regarding their schedules. Given the opportunity, 87% of employees would opt to work flexibly.

working remotely

Remote employees typically set schedules for when they are most productive and to suit their personal lives.

  • Businesses with a primarily remote workforce have eliminated or reduced office and overhead costs. No physical location means no rental or mortgage payments, monthly utility fees, furniture, or office supplies. Check this article to see if having remote employees actually saves money.
  • If you plan to hire a remote team, you’ll enjoy a much larger talent pool. You can recruit more broadly since you don’t have to hire locally.
  • One study found a boost in creativity among remote workers. Their ability to craft their jobs ultimately led to performance improvements.

Disadvantages of the Fully Remote Work Model

Here are some possible drawbacks to consider for your business as you determine whether to go fully remote:

  • Collaboration may be challenging due to the reduced — or complete lack of — in-person communication. While video conferencing platforms and virtual team building activities offer team members face-to-face time, it may be difficult to schedule these sessions, especially if they’re spread across different time zones. Plus, remote employees are more difficult to engage.

Fully remote colleagues also miss out on the benefits of having “water cooler” conversations, often making it more difficult for them to develop and strengthen interpersonal relationships at work.

  • Establishing and maintaining boundaries may be difficult without purposeful intent. Remote team members may find it harder to set and stick to certain work hours if laptops or other work tools are always readily available under their noses.
  • Remote businesses must also know the higher IT security needs associated with a distributed workforce. Not only are there more considerations to make, but the cost of preventing breaches can be substantial.

Here’s an example of a company that has embraced its remote workforce:

Remote Company Example

Zapier has been a remote-based company since its founding. The founders couldn’t afford the necessary office space or align their work schedules initially.

As the company grew to scale, they found they could hire whomever they wanted, maintain a quality product, and keep their customers and their workforce happy by remaining fully remote.

Understanding the nuances between hybrid and remote work models is the first step. The second is deciding which model makes better sense for your business.

Hybrid or Remote: Which Is Best for Your Team?

Here are some things to consider if you’re trying to decide whether to transition your business to hybrid or fully remote work.

hybrid or remote sign

What Makes Sense for Your Company/Industry?

Your company mission, goals, and objectives should be your first consideration. Who are you, and what do you want to accomplish?

Will teams be able to flourish in a remote setting? Will you be able to sustain a quality service or product if you make the shift?

Determine your budget and whether a physical office space would make sense. Some positions or office responsibilities may also require an onsite presence. Some services may require a physical location to deliver quality service or goods.

Evaluate your talent pool. You’ll have access to the best available talent if you can sustain a remote workforce since you can hire from anywhere. Consider whether there are parts of your business that could go hybrid or remote and still thrive.

How Will You Support Hybrid and Remote Workers?

Both hybrid and remote work models can offer a positive workplace experience.

Consider how you will engage your workers if they are in a fully remote setting or only in the office part of the time. For instance:

  • Establish clear channels for communication, such as email, chat spaces, or video conferencing.
  • To support a hybrid work setup, consider deploying hybrid work software that will take care of the tedious task of booking office resources such as meeting rooms and desks.
  • Ensure remote teams have opportunities to collaborate and work together, whether in person or remotely.
  • Provide opportunities for hybrid and remote workers to give and receive feedback, ask questions, and raise concerns through surveys, project management tools, and regular check-ins.
  • Consider how your customers will be affected. Will you be able to maintain a high level of customer service if teams are working remotely?

What Do Your Employees Want?

Don’t forget to take your team members’ wishes into consideration when you can. More and more people need flexibility in their work lives to achieve an optimal work-life balance.

Many businesses have found that overall productivity is enhanced when workers can choose their optimal location to work from.

If you’re considering the hybrid work model, use strategies for boosting engagement, such as fostering strong communication and interpersonal connections.

Remote or Hybrid: What do the Studies Show?

Recent data from research done by Forbes shows a significant and growing trend towards remote and hybrid work models, with a strong preference for these arrangements among employees.

As of 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home, while 28.2% work in a hybrid model. This indicates a significant portion of the workforce is engaged in some form of remote work, with a notable lean towards hybrid arrangements.

While remote work offers benefits like higher earnings, flexibility, and work-life balance, it also presents challenges such as potential burnout and difficulties in maintaining coworker connections. Hybrid work seems to strike a balance, offering the benefits of both in-office and remote work.

Let OfficeRnD Hybrid Improve Your Hybrid Workplace

Selecting a hybrid or remote-only workforce comes with some considerations. Once you’ve settled on your business’s top needs, you’ll be better able to determine which model is right for you.

If you’ve decided hybrid is the way to go, make the process easier with OfficeRnD Hybrid – a powerful, yet easy-to-use hybrid work enablement and management software.

With OfficeRnD Hbyrd, you can create collaborative workspaces where both people and work thrive.

Don’t wait to implement a seamless working model. Get started for free today with OfficeRnD Hybrid or book a live demo with one of our workplace experts to see how OfficeRnD Hybrid can transform your workplace.

FAQ

Do People Prefer Hybrid or Remote Work?

Individuals who enjoy some in-person interactions but want the flexibility to choose their work schedules prefer hybrid. Those who opt for fully remote positions want complete flexibility in not only their work hours but also their work locations.

That said, there’s a clear preference for hybrid work arrangements. Check out the following statistics for more information.

Is Hybrid the Same as Remote?

Hybrid work and remote work are not the same. Hybrid work combines elements of both in-office and remote work, allowing flexibility in where and when employees work. In contrast, remote work refers exclusively to working outside of a traditional office environment, typically from home or any other remote location.

Is Hybrid Better than Remote Work?

Whether hybrid work is better than remote work depends on individual and organizational needs. Hybrid work offers a blend of in-office collaboration and remote flexibility, potentially balancing structure and autonomy. Remote work, on the other hand, provides full flexibility and autonomy but may lack in-person interaction, which can be crucial for some roles and company cultures.

What is the Difference Between Hybrid and Remote and Onsite?

The difference lies in the work location and structure. Remote work is conducted entirely outside of a traditional office setting, often from home. Onsite work requires employees to be physically present in the office. Hybrid work is a blend of the two, allowing employees to split their time between working remotely and working onsite, offering a mix of flexibility and in-person collaboration.

Does a Hybrid Work Environment Work?

Absolutely. Businesses thrive with a hybrid work model, especially when establishing clear processes for balancing home and in-office time.

Platforms like OfficeRnD Hybrid simplify scheduling meetings and office spaces and encourage collaboration and connections among team members.

How Do I Balance In-Office and Remote Work?

Balance in-office and remote work by keeping your job responsibilities and productivity level in both locations in mind. Managers may also have some guidelines for specific jobs, including mandatory days in the office.

Talk with your team members about their optimal work schedules to help them achieve the perfect balance.

Asen Stoyanchev
Senior Content Marketing & SEO Specialist | OfficeRnD
Asen is passionate about flexible working and the future of work. He firmly believes that work flexibility directly impacts one's health and well-being. When he's not writing, Asen spends his time devouring business literature, hiking, and parenting.