Employee engagement
Remote work

Introducing: The Complete Guide to Hybrid Work Strategy

Connie Du
September 28, 2021
Table of Contents
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To return to the office, or not to return to the office? That is the question! 🎭

It’s buzzing in the minds of CEOs, HR departments, and employees everywhere. In-office work vs. remote work has been debated since the shift to software-based work, and the COVID-19 global pandemic has certainly forced a turning point in the conversation.

Hybrid work is a new frontier for many companies. In our latest resource, The Complete Guide to Hybrid Work Strategy, we aim to provide thoughtful, balanced, and practical guidance for what we’re calling the Hybrid Work Movement.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • A crash course in definitions you need to know—like, what is hybrid work? How is it different from remote work? What are mixed modalities? Why is knowledge equity important? 
  • Discussion of the benefits of hybrid work—excellent if you need help addressing hesitations from your team!
  • Considerations to think about when implementing a hybrid work strategy. Of course, it’s not a perfect solution, but here’s what you can do to mitigate areas of tension.
  • When and how to start planning your transition to a hybrid workplace strategy. 
  • And when it’s time, how to put your plan into action.
  • Of course, it doesn’t just end there! We’ll discuss gathering feedback, iterating on your strategy, and next steps.

Want a sneak preview, first? Here's a sampling of the kind of information you'll get in this guide. Let's talk about definitions!


In-office work

For a long time, office work was considered the norm of most employees’ lives. From business complexes to campuses, cubicles to open floor plans, we’ve seen many iterations of what “office life” looks and feels like. 

What we consider office work’s benefits and challenges vary from employee to employee, but here’s where folks typically land:

For a long time, office work was considered the norm of most employees’ lives. From business complexes to campuses, cubicles to open floor plans, we’ve seen many iterations of what “office life” looks and feels like. 

What we consider office work’s benefits and challenges vary from employee to employee, but here’s where folks typically land:

Benefits for employees

  • Opportunities for spontaneous collaboration and communication 
  • Ability to socialize and build a central company culture
  • In-office perks like snacks, childcare, gyms, and catered meals 
  • Separation of work and home

Challenges for employees

Benefits for employers

  • Opportunities for positive employee branding (in-office perks like games and snacks, workspace design, events, having a central space for building a company culture)
  • Management and supervision occurs in-person

Challenges for employers

  • Costs, from real estate to supplies to providing in-office perks
  • Reduced talent pool due to location-specific employment

Remote work, distributed work

In contrast to in-office work, remote and distributed work typically refers to working outside of a centralized space, whether in a home office, coffee shop, coworking space, or from the beach.  All you need is a WiFi connection! 🏝

“Changes in society, such as a more mobile workforce and workers' demands for flexibility, have fueled the development of portable office equipment. Laptop computers, cellular phones, and facsimile machines now equip a growing telecommuting workforce and, in some cases, have eliminated the need for central offices altogether. The option of telecommuting has become a valuable tool for companies competing for skilled employees who are tired of commuting long distances from the suburbs.”
–The Smithsonian, A Short History of the Birth and Growth of the American Office

Benefits for employees

  • Flexible hours and increased autonomy 
  • Increased productivity
  • Eliminated or reduced commute 
  • Increased health and wellness (ability to take breaks when needed, less time spent sedentary during a commute, flexibility to go to appointments as needed)

Challenges for employees

  • Less opportunities for spontaneous socializing and collaboration
  • Blurred lines between work and home, difficulty unplugging from work
  • Feelings of loneliness and isolation, lack of belonging
  • Lack of work visibility and potential for siloes 
  • Upfront costs to supply a productive working environment

Benefits for employers

Challenges for employers

  • Potential security risks (unsecured WiFi, accidental data exposure, external breaches)
  • Difficulty in establishing a central company culture 
  • Decreased visibility of day-to-day accomplishments

Hybrid work

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many employees to consider what is actually important to them. Is it flexible scheduling to allow for childcare and household errands? Or are they struggling to unplug at the end of the day? 

It all comes down to employee preferences—making the hybrid work model appealing to the largest number of people. According to Glint, LinkedIn’s people-success platform, 56% of employees (out of 30,000 surveyed) prefer a hybrid work model, compared to 31% of employees that prefer an entirely remote approach, with only 13% wanting to go into the office. 

Although the pandemic has intensified the discussion around the pros and cons of working from home, and what working without an office means, it is safe to conclude that the best alternative is not to opt between one or the other, but to give employees the option.
–Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Harvard Business Review, Thriving in the Age of Hybrid Work

Luckily, the hybrid work model is the opposite of a one-size-fits-all approach. It incorporates aspects of both in-office and remote work—making it the most flexible of the workplace strategies discussed in this guide. 

According to a PwC survey conducted in early 2021, just one-fifth of executives said they thought it was necessary for employees to be in the office five days per week. While there was disagreement on exactly how many days employees should be physically present, 62% of executives said either two, three or four days would make the most sense. Remote work is an even bigger priority for young employees, with almost half of Millennial and Gen Z workers stating that they would even be willing to forfeit future earnings for the ability to work remotely.
–Josh Millet, Forbes, How Companies Can Thrive In The Emerging Era Of Hybrid Work

Here are some examples of what a hybrid work model can look like:

Company A

Company A (50 employees based in a central location) has employees come into the office on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with team lunches being catered on Wednesdays. Employees can decide to come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays on an ad hoc basis.

Company B

Company B (200 employees, with 85% of employees being local) surveys their team, with 70% of employees preferring to continue to work remotely. The remaining 30% prefer to work together in person. Company B allows their office lease to expire and obtains coworking space memberships as necessary.

Company C

Company C (500 employees across the globe) allows each department to decide on their preferred workplace model. Depending on the outcome of those decisions, Company C will reassess office space needs and invest in hybrid meeting tools.

There are countless ways a company can implement a hybrid work model. Are you thinking this strategy would be a good fit for your team?

You guessed it—hybrid work is the main star of this guide. Download the resource today for a deep dive into the benefits of the hybrid work model, what you need to consider before implementing a hybrid work strategy, and more!

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