Productivity has increased working from home during the pandemic and more business are utilising the new WFH hybrid model of working.

So, we are all finally moving on with our lives. Face masks, social distancing, PCR tests, vaccines are all parts of the new normal for now. Some of these may well become our new personal ID’s however, what do we do with this hybrid mode of working which we have created during the past year or so?

Is hybrid the new normal or was it just a temporary solution?

So, what exactly is the hybrid model?


Pretty much like a hybrid electric car, where you can use, electric, petrol or combine both to run your car.

Similarly, the hybrid is a mix of both working-from-home (WFH) and the office where the key aim is the increase of productivity. The last year various companies have evidently stated that productivity has increased considerably, whilst people were working from home during the pandemic.

Within this structure you may have some departments and teams working remotely whilst others are only in office. For example, you’re marketing or finance department may start working hybrid – for example 2-3 days from home and come into the office for important meetings or to have 2 days working in office. Your sales and help desk team may not work hybrid at all.

For some businesses, some positions or leadership roles may be a completely off site and hybrid. They only come into office when they really need to.

One point to note here, there two different connotations forming about hybrid and flexible working philosophies. On one side there is a group of companies and people who are using the hybrid and flexible concepts interchangeably whilst others refer to them being different in nature.

The first group basically state they are both the same thing, nothing different except semantics. However, the other group clearly state there is a difference. They opine that the hybrid model refers to workers being based either predominantly at home or permanently at home and going into office when required only. They draw the line there for hybrid and believe that flexible working policy is one where the employee has the choice to choose where he works from week-to-week and day-to-day whilst still reporting directly to his management.


Some businesses are increasingly encouraging their employees to choose where they feel comfortable working from. Office or home, as long as employees can sustain the levels of productivity that were showcased within the last year.

This won’t be blanket approach for all industries and companies, however there is a growing indication that several businesses are favouring this model as opposed to being employee led and advocated. However, it’s a model that just simply can’t cater for some industries – heatlhcare and gyms are prime examples in addition to many service lead businesses such as dentists, hairdressers, opticians as well as retail only led businesses.

Just this week ,Santander and Nationwide, two of the UK biggest and popular high street banks have announced they are closing a number of UK offices and have asked office staff to work from nearby branches instead and for some for the branch staff to split time working from home and the branch.

Nationwide the UK’s largest building society is allowing 13,000 staff to choose where they work in a new flexibility scheme. Dubbed as the ‘work anywhere’ plan, it would allow their employees to have more control of their lives. They are closing 3 regional offices shifting some 3000 staff into other office or branches. They are putting employees in control of where they work from.

Nationwide, which employs 18,000 staff, is also trialling an initiative in five sites where traditional office-based employees can work alongside branch colleagues.

Santander is closing 111 branches across the UK and has asked staff to work from home more often or travel into remaining offices. They are also significantly decreasing office rental space within the city of London and have already planned to move their head office out of London to Milton Keynes.

The tech giants have already had their say and most of them are much more enthusiastic about working from home, as Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook all have stated staff will have the option to work from home permanently.



Google, however, has announced that they have changed their WFH policy for its employees and expect them back in office once we all transition back to normal working life post COVID-19. The new google policy allows an employee to work from home for no more than 14 days in a calendar year and even that, they must apply for.

Initially the tech giant was one of the first to implement a WFH policy when the pandemic struck last year but it seems they are hoping to revert back to normal instead of aiming to incorporate the hybrid model.

A number of big companies are still planning to test so called hybrid working arrangements, where employees split time between work and home. Facebook have stated that ‘companies are still figuring it out’.

David Soloman, CEO of Goldman Sachs is one of those who has rejected remote working as the ‘new normal’ and claims it is an ‘aberration’ instead.

For him, it was a temporary solution for a problem that nobody could control and stated that the investment bank operated 2020 with less than 10% of staff in their office.

Mr. Soloman suggested it doesn’t suit the working culture for Goldman Sachs.

“I do think for a business like ours, which is an innovative, collaborative apprenticeship culture, this is not ideal for us. And it’s not a new normal. It’s an aberration that we’re going to correct as soon as possible,” he told a conference back in February 2021. (Source – BBC)

JP Morgan’s Chief Executive, Jamie Dimon has also stated that the WFH has had a negative effect on productivity.


Global Talent Market

Many businesses were restricted to hiring people that were only willing to travel within a certain geographical area or radius, so would usually try to find people locally. Now that most of us have worked from home for the past year it has clearly opened the floodgates for much more collaboration with people thereby removing that restriction. If you now wanted to go and hire a specialist that was at the complete other end of the country or even in another country, the barriers to that have disappeared. There is nothing to prevent you as business from doing exactly that.

Now that won’t work for all companies, but if you needed to find a cheaper accountant, outsource your customer service or even hire specialised niche marketers – it’s all possible now.

Cost Saving

This will be huge incentive for businesses now that the world is moving at an extremely fast pace with technology very much the driving force. The ability to manage staff from home reduces so many substantial overheads for office spaces and its associated costs, both for companies and employees. Businesses can use that money and reallocate resources where there is a greater need and workers can save the cost of travel and save all that journey time to be utilised on more productive things like spending more time with the family.


The interesting psychology for both employer and employee is that employer usually controls the time and skills for an employee for those designated hours of work. Now that relationship would take on a different form and ultimately what has happened in the last year when line managers have noticed their team members fulfilling the same objectives and deadlines, possibly even quicker and in a more focused manner. The end outcome is being achieved where before our managerial culture was to ensure the employee is at arm’s length. This not only liberates the relationship but takes a lot of unnecessary opportunity cost of time away to be better used in focusing on your actual job and role. If someone can hit the same deadlines and produce great work from being at home, this will build trust.


The by-product of that trust being built is empowerment. Employees will feel much more comfortable and relaxed to do their jobs within their own comfort zones – their homes. When trust is won, you want to repay that trust and that is one of the reasons why productivity has gone up for many people during the past year. People have realised that you can now manage successful teams virtually and still achieve desired results, if not better. Another aspect to consider is that positivity amplifies positivity. By being empowered, workers may start to develop furthermore easily and also bring out other skills and traits they previously didn’t showcase.

Productivity & Mindset

The main reason and metric that has made this model a possibility. Workers are judged not ultimately on just productivity, but it has allowed founders, heads of departments and line managers to identify that this model may aid greater efficiency, freedom, quality of work and ultimately a sustainable manner to grow the business in the long-term. Combine that with a happy employee and that may result in a better employee. Happy people produce better work and that is what each organisation is after. If its achieved through this hybrid model, then so be it!



One of the most previous commodities of mankind. Everyone only has a limited amount of time to offer and one of the adverse effects that could potentially have on an employee’s morale and confidence could be huge. Getting a manager or team members time isn’t as simple as walking over to their desk or office under the hybrid WFH model. If a person’s time is already constrained and their may very well be times or instances where you feel disconnected from your organisation, team and managers.

Communication & Time Zones

Another drawback combined could be communication. If you have now employed people due to accessing the global marketplace of talent, which time zone do they operate in. If it’s a 8hr time difference it could really restrict your ability to have regular meetings and communicate to ensure work and projects are being done in line with expectations.


Companies will need to come up with a suitable plan to incorporate more interaction amongst team members and ensure they are not neglected. An example maybe line manager have a daily or weekly allocated slot for that specific colleague, as well as team meetings to incorporate the virtual team spirit.


Employees working remotely at home may feel left out and disconnected in comparison to the office-based employees. They can no longer stop by each other’s desks to chat or joke about the water cooler or air conditioning. Plus, hybrid WFH employees may miss out on perks like catered lunches, birthday parties, and company happy hours.


Office based employees may receive preferential treatment or faster promotions simply because managers can interact with them and see what they’re up to all day. Due to the increased interaction and better insight into their work and commitment they may be at an advantages step to moving up the corporate ladder more efficiently. Off-site workers may not get enough direct time with higher-ups and key decision-makers to prove they deserve the chance progress.


The last year has taught many of us that 'how' we do our jobs is much more important than 'where' we do them from.

This is the mantra that is being pushed and circulated post COVID 19 and more and more companies are businesses are advocating this whilst others are not for it.

The hybrid WFH model is great for some and not for others. It caters for some industries and for some it simply won’t be possible. The current hybrid model still needs to be tried and tested over a longer suitable period and it certainly will need fine tuning to ensure that it can become a viable business model for the mong-term.

What are your thoughts on this hybrid WFH model? Is your business looking to implement it? Or would you prefer to go back to normal working practices?

Let us know your thoughts…

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