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Knowledge workers with a hybrid work profile have two workplaces to maintain – one in the office and one at home. It involves planning and a stop-start routine: taking the laptop to and from the office every day, and remembering what important things are left where.
The problem is the psychological shift – the change of setting every day – the constant feeling of never being settled, always stressed and the earlier productive 'always at home, working' routine being disrupted.
Hybrid can also come with a greater risk of digital presenteeism, compared to fully remote jobs which imply employer trust from the get-go. If an employer sets up hybrid without trusting their workforce, it can become little more than a token gesture: workers feel pressure to show their boss they’re not taking advantage of home working.
That could lead to overwork and burnout, the effects of which can be devastating but take a long time to show up.
For some workers, frustrations with hybrid mean they’re gravitating towards jobs that allow them full control over their schedules. It comes down to what organisations mean by ‘hybrid’.
It’s a broad definition that can be interpreted in many ways: from going into the office three days a week, to once a month. Hybrid can still be the future of work and represent the best of both worlds – but it still needs refining.
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