As of December 2021, Kenya is at an impressive position as far as the use of technology for work is concerned. Working from home is no longer surprising; some companies have been doing it for months and have fully embraced it. Others have gotten rid of their fulltime offices and only meet physically when it is necessary. Others have introduced an option of working from home and in the office and left it to the employees to choose.

In this article, we will look at this trend of work deeply.

Hybrid work culture: how it looks like

Generally, hybrid work culture is where people can work remotely and in the company offices. It does not have to be an all or nothing model. Also, not all organizations or people will be able to embrace the hybrid model because of the nature of work.

As this trend is gaining popularity, varieties of it have appeared. They include:

  • Some people work remotely fulltime and others from the office fulltime.
  • Everybody works from home some days and from the office in the rest.
  • Employees choose where to work from, remotely or from the office.
  • Everybody works from home and only comes to the office for meetings, team building, orientations, and other tasks.
  • Employees rotate on working remotely and from the office.

Benefits of the hybrid work model

  1. Options to ensure productivity

The options of working remotely and from the office allow workers to choose the most conducive working environment. Before the pandemic, the office was considered the one and only and most suitable working space. People were afraid of what working from different places could bring such as loads of disappointments and lack of proof that the person is working.

But thanks to the many tests of the hybrid model, many companies seem to have revisited their definition of a workplace. At the core, we are quite different and will be productive while working in different environments. A hybrid working model allows employees to choose an environment that they will be most productive in.

  1. Safety against every-day challenges

Whether you have a certain group of people working remotely fulltime and only come to the office when it is necessary or everyone switches between home and office, a hybrid model can come in handy in case of challenges in one side. Take for instance disruptions in the workplaceor unfavorable weather.

Without a second option, employees would be out of the office for a couple of days until everything is restored, which can ultimately slow down some activities.

  1. Low operating costs

Some employees can propose to work remotely fulltime, which ultimately reduces the office space and everything that goes into keeping the work running. This is happening in many workplaces that have Generation Z in their workforce. A large number are boldly saying that they want to work remotely and lack of it can make them consider work in other companies. The money can thereafter be used for other growth activities.

  1. Better work-life balance

Not so long ago, work-life balance was considered an impossible dream. Those who craved a both were constantly reminded by the work trends that they could not have both and would have to give up one to get the other.

The hybrid working model has come in to allow people to thrive in both personal and professional lives. Thanks to an opportunity of working from home, many people have had a chance of reconnecting with their families frequently, something that was missed as many hassled to commute home in the evening. The model has also pushed many to see people beyond their professional titles. For instance, being involved in parental duties is no longer seen as a hindrance from progress in some workplaces.

Better work-life balance then means more happiness amongst the employees.

  1. Welcomes diversity

After witnessing the effects of the pandemic, some people have become quite adamant about the place of work and personal lives and very few are willing to loosen their grip on the matter. Some want to be able to travel as they work. Others want to spend quality time with their families.

Many people have already taken to quitting their jobs in search of companies that have a hybrid working model. Choosing a model that does not place great value to both means losing great talent and missing out on potential candidates.

A hybrid working model is quite attractive. It will attract suitable candidates from all walks of life and assuming everything else is in a good state, then retaining such candidates will not even be a matter of debate.


Challenges posed by the hybrid work model

While the hybrid model is jam-packed with benefits, there are various challenges that it is presenting. They include but are not limited to:

  1. Properlybudgeting for the needs

If some employees work fully from the office and others remotely, then how much do you really need to keep the office running? Or, if they can work from wherever they please, how much do you need to maintain the office?

In our last article about hybrid working model, we emphasized on how important it is to clarify on who will be working remotely and from the office. If for instance both options are open and left to the employees to choose, then it might be challenging to budget for office maintenance. Some days or weeks may have few people in the office, which can make you think of giving up some of the space while others might be packed to capacity making you think of getting additional space to ensure social distancing.

The best thing is to clearly state how the hybrid model will look like for your company and do the maths because this is not a one-size fits all type of a thing.

  1. Disconnection between employees

No matter how successful remote work proves to be, the element of human touch and connection that was felt when working from the office will always be missed. It is very easy for some employees to forget those who are not working from the office or not include then in the plans following the assumption that they might drag some activities behind.

The most effective solution is to encourage communication amongst teams in spite of the distance.

  1. Mental health struggles

The idea of working from home is still new to some people and they are yet to adapt to it. Some would still choose the office over and over.

Some of those who are used to being in groups suffer from mental health challenges such as anxiety, loneliness, and depression due to isolation to the extent of not being able to concentrate in their jobs. Others are unable to work from home due to disruptions.

This is a likely problem in Kenya where many neighborhoods are crowded and noisy and working from home seems impossible. Although there is rising trend of finding a co-working at a fee, this may not be option for some people.

  1. Management

Managing employees who are working remotely is also a new concept for some leaders and they may struggle with it. How do you ensure they are working and not using computer tricks to fake it? If working from home is an inevitable choice and some employees are struggling to embrace it, they may have an even harder time wondering how to handle the situation.

What to do to make the hybrid model successful

Depending on how the model looks like in your company, the factors to consider to ensure success will vary. But at the very least, you should consider the following:

  • Have everything ready: Depending on the nature of work, you will realize that the model demands different things. While working from home, some people may have to carry their working tools or buy a new set for home use alone to avoid the hassle of transportation and possible damages. While considering the model, see what you need when you keep both options open.
  • Communication with everyone: Whether you are giving a minor update or very critical information, ensure everyone who is supposed to hear about it hears at the same time. Do not split the in-house team from the one working remotely when delivering news as that will encourage division. As it has been said before, communication is vital for success.
  • Explore options: Some companies have had success by having some people working from the office all the time and others working from home. Others have had success by working from home and the office on specific days. This is a clear indication that you are at liberty to experiment and see what works for your company.
  • Monitor the results and use them to make evidence-based change: Experimenting is not enough. You must also look beyond the data and implement the findings. This will keep you on track towards success.

As mentioned above, hybrid working model has its list of benefits and challenges. The best thing about it is that it is considering varying needs, which is essential for everyone to develop a sense of belonging in the company.