Musicians often refer to performing at a place as a ‘gig’. The gig economy works the same way. Gig workers work for a short term, as temporary or as independent contractors for a specified period of time or on project basis. The term ‘gig economy’ is relatively new but these work arrangements are not. The gig economy is sometimes referred to as freelance economy, agile workforce or part timers. A hybrid workforce on the other hand is a team of employees that have flexible work structure. Some team members may work remotely and some from an office. It may also involve some of the team members spending half their time working remotely and other half from an office. A hybrid workforce usually splits their time between working remotely and working from an office. Hybrid workforce are employees on full time basis just their work structure is different from a traditional 9 to 5 employees.
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Challenges of hybrid workforce
Communication problem: Communication is one of the biggest concerns of any organization. Especially when part of your team is working remotely and part of your team is in-office. Collaboration in projects can be very difficult in this kind of hybrid arrangement. Remote employees do not have the opportunity to bond in person with other employees, something that happens during breaks in offices. People in an office setting tend to bond with each other better and become friends sometimes outside the office as well. Remote employees may feel excluded from the rest of the company.
Cyber security issues: There are various cyber security issues that can happen in a hybrid workforce arrangement. For example:
- Employees can fall prey to phishing schemes. It is when a person or an entity tricks the employee into giving various sensitive information like login details, other important passwords, etc.
- Sometimes hackers can even successfully hack weak passwords set by employees.
- Unencrypted file sharing can lead to valuable secret information getting leaked.
Tips to overcome the challenges
Promote clear communication and workplace equality: Clear communication is very important for the overall functioning of the enterprise. Various video conferencing applications and tools are now available in the market that can be used for communicating with remote employees. Also many messaging apps are available for instant messaging that can help in communicating things that do not need face to face interaction. Treating one group differently than the others can cause tension between remote working and in-office employees. So make sure that workplace policies do not benefit one group more than the other.
Manage cyber security: Manage cyber security both at the workplace and for the remote employees. Few steps to better manage cyber security are:
- Training employees to detect and avoid phishing emails.
- Implementing strong password policies so that employees have to use various special characters, numbers, upper and lower case letters to have a valid password.
- Providing each remote worker with a firewall to protect the home Wi-Fi.
Benefits of hybrid workforce
- Increased productivity: Hybrid workforce model allows employees the freedom to work from home or anywhere and only come into office when necessary. This improves the employee experience and leads to greater productivity. The increased productivity is caused by various factors like the freedom to work at a time and place when the employee feels most comfortable and attentive. No time being wasted in the daily commute from home to office and back when working remotely.
- Savings: Hybrid work model leads to saving for both the employer and the employee. Employers save money as they can rent smaller offices or shared office space. They can also save money on office supplies, utilities, etc. Employees are able to save a lot on commuting expenses as they do not have to be at the office every day. Employees can also choose to live at a more affordable home that might be further away from the office.
- Health and safety: With hybrid work models, companies can have a smaller team that works from the office so that they can maintain social distancing which is very important to stop the spread of Covid-19. Also, as the team will not have to commute every day on public transport or from crowded areas that will also help keep employees safe from Covid-19.
- A mix of an office team and a remote team: Having a hybrid workforce allows employers to have an office team as well as employees who work remotely. Some companies need to have an office team because if they have walk-in clients who need to talk to a consultant face to face then it is important for these kinds of businesses to have some employees present at the office at all times. Also, office space can be a good place to connect and share ideas, so to continue that tradition, some employers may have an in office marketing team and a remote HR team.
- Employee retention: Most employees value flexibility greatly, so offering them a hybrid work arrangement will boost their morale and satisfaction. Which will then lead to greater productivity, reduced absenteeism and ultimately increased employee retention rates. This way firms can avoid recruiting and training new employees all the time.
Efficient remote working models will give a strong boost to both gig economy and hybrid workforce. According to the 2021 Talent Technology Outlook study by SCIKEY, only 20% recruitment will be done through external vendors and HR agencies, while 80% of the leaders will prefer internal hiring in the future. 67% of the leaders feel that versatility in workforce is critical while recruiting new employees or retaining old ones. 87% of the leaders feel that critical thinking is important. 93% of the leaders feel that business acumen is the most important skill to have for the future. The workforce of the future will be expected to possess business acumen skills. As there will be a focus on learning and development of core skills and leadership qualities, the remote access to the talent through gig economy and hybrid workforce will greatly improve the quality of hiring in 2021.
- Hybrid workforce shall be a reality, boosts Gig economy in 2021: Study | Economic Times | Sreeradha Basu | January 8, 2021
- What Is A Hybrid Workforce? (Benefits, Challenges, And Strategies) | Time Doctor
- What Is the Gig Economy? Definition, Pros & Cons, Jobs | Robin Madell | January 17, 2020
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