What does hybrid work mean?

Modern work has changed the structure of how and where employees work. For many organizations, the conventional, office-based model has evolved to a hybrid approach,…

Cassandra Tilson profile picture
Cassandra Tilson

August 2, 20235 minute read

Female professional on a laptop working in a hybrid work environment.

Modern work has changed the structure of how and where employees work. For many organizations, the conventional, office-based model has evolved to a hybrid approach, intended to balance employees’ desire for more flexibility with needed business performance. For organizations that can master hybrid work in a flexible work environment productivity benefits follow, with 19 percent more employees rising to the level of high performers than in a traditional office environment.

But what exactly is a hybrid work model, how does it compare to remote work and what’s needed to make it easy for people to work from anywhere? Let’s explore.

What is hybrid work?

A hybrid work model typically equates to flexibility for employees, involving a mix of in-person office and remote work. What that mix entails and how it’s mandated varies greatly by organization—scheduling in-office days for certain teams or the entire organizations, requiring a minimum number of days in the office or giving employees the option to go into the office, but with no set mandates.   

Regardless of the structure, a hybrid work approach can have a positive impact on employee productivity, minimize burnout and build trust. Findings from Forrester debunk common anywhere-work preconceptions, including three results that might surprise you:[1]

  • Hybrid work drives up productivity by three to four percent and fully remote work raises it by 10 percent.
  • Hybrid employees consistently have the highest organizational trust, likely because these workers develop slightly better relationships compared to workers who are fully remote but at the same time, enjoy a greater degree of trust from the organization to work flexibly.
  • Hybrid, remote and in-office workers show comparable levels of intrinsic motivation. Despite common misconceptions, remote, hybrid and in-office workers share similar scores tied to job satisfaction, finding meaning and purpose at work and feeling proud to work for their employer.

What is the difference between hybrid and remote work?

Providing flexibility tied to work location is a key element of employee autonomy and plays into the difference between hybrid work and remote work. Remote work typically means that employees can work from anywhere and as we know, the model became much more common during the pandemic. According to The Economist, before the pandemic, Americans spent five percent of their working time at home. By spring 2020, the figure jumped to 60 percent.[2]

Employees aren’t shy about preferences to work remotely (whether 100 percent or as part of a hybrid model), with McKinsey finding that seeking out flexible work environments is one of the top reasons employees across industries search for new jobs (only better pay/hours and career opportunities ranked higher).[3] In fact, the same survey showed that remote work is such a large priority for workers that 87 percent of the respondents said that when offered the chance to work remotely, they would take it. Yet, adapting to a flexible model work for both the employer and employees doesn’t happen overnight.

Let’s look at a few hybrid work model best practices to allow employees to be more efficient, no matter where they choose to work.

What are hybrid work model best practices?

Distributed teams must be connected and armed with the information they need to complete their daily tasks, requiring organizations to ask: How easy is it for remote workers to access the information they need? How many separate applications and tools do they use? Do they receive a consistent experience wherever they are?

Friction—digital or otherwise—in business operations can impact both customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX), leading to weak business outcomes and disengaged employees[4]. This highlights the importance of creating experiences to help employees master modern work. Here are three areas to focus on:  

  • Remove technology barriers: Employees expect the same intuitive digital experiences at work that they have grown accustomed to in their daily lives, with the onus on organizations to enable fast, easy access to the information and systems needed to do their jobs well. By leveraging an integrated digital workspace, organizations can provide employees with tools and information within a single, web-based environment, delivering the type of user experience employees expect and the control that organizations need. Plus, a shared, digital workspace allows teams to more easily engage and collaborate, whether for hybrid or remote models and across locations, devices and time zones. By creating integrated digital workspaces, employees can save time and access current data even if employees must use many different applications to do their job.
  • Solve content challenges: To put information at the heart of employee experiences, content services platforms offer the flexibility to personalize information interactions for unique use cases at the employee and team levels. By connecting information to people and processes, organizations can power employee productivity regardless of the data format or applications being used. When content services are seamlessly integrated with key applications, the right information is always available at the right time, whether for marketing, sales or HR role.
  • Adopt the cloud: Making a move to SaaS content services provides an agile infrastructure that can adapt to evolving needs quickly, while maintaining secure and reliable access to information and workflows, particularly important for hybrid and remote employees. With the right content services platform, organizations can improve end-to-end content management to integrate business processes for improved information access, use and governance.

Ready to give your employees the tools, information and access needed to elevate hybrid productivity? Discover how to shift hybrid work from temporary to intentional.

[1] Forrester, Don’t Let These Three Anywhere-Work Preconceptions Hold You Back, December 2022

[2] The Economist, The rise of working from home, April 2021

[3] McKinsey, Americans are embracing flexible work—and they want more of it, June 2022

[4] Gartner® Innovation Insight for Operational Experience, Tim Nelms, Jason Wong, 26 April 2022

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.    

Share this post

Share this post to x. Share to linkedin. Mail to
Cassandra Tilson avatar image

Cassandra Tilson

Cassandra Tilson is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at OpenText. As a former Customer Success Manager, she is passionate about developing content to educate customers about OpenText products and services. Her areas of expertise include cloud-based content management, digital transformation strategy, and customer success. Before pivoting to the technology sector, Cassandra worked in museums for more than ten years coordinating public programs and managing sponsorships and partnerships. She is based in Ottawa, Canada.

See all posts

More from the author

What’s new in OpenText Core Content

What’s new in OpenText Core Content

OpenText™ Core Content is a fast-deploying cloud content management solution that delivers simple, agile and secure cloud-based content management. It integrates into crucial business process…

9 minute read

Collaboration tools are critical for digital workplace success

Collaboration tools are critical for digital workplace success

The adage ‘two heads are better than one’ is just about always true. Enabling people to work well together is just smart business. Companies continue…

5 minute read

The next digital transformation move for midsized companies

The next digital transformation move for midsized companies

As the world becomes increasingly digital, midsized enterprises (MSE) are plotting their next moves to maintain momentum with company-wide digital transformation. It’s a smart strategy,…

4 minute read

Stay in the loop!

Get our most popular content delivered monthly to your inbox.