The COVID-19 pandemic completely changed the face of the modern workplace. Before the virus outbreak, only 20 percent of the American labor force worked from home, compared to 71 percent just after the pandemic. Today, about 60 percent of employees with jobs that can be done from home are working remotely all or most of the time. There is no denying that hybrid work is the new workplace norm.
Although most employees started working remotely due to the pandemic’s restrictions, COVID-19 was just the tipping point for the mass exodus to hybrid work. Most employees had long wanted flexibility in the workplace and, having sampled the freedom of remote work, became reluctant to return to the 9-to-5 grind. The unexpected pandemic made the perfect grounds to push for change. In fact, 99 percent of HR leaders expected employees to work in a hybrid arrangement in the post-pandemic return-to-work phase. And many employers already have or are planning to support permanent hybrid work.
Hybrid work and software/web development
Hybrid work has been a long time coming — for employees that can work both remotely and on-site anyway. One of the professions that perfectly fits the hybrid work model is software/web development. If you’re looking to hire developers, you’ll have better luck with outsourcing or freelancing than traditional employment.
According to The State of Remote Engineering 2022 Edition, more than 60 percent of developers already work fully remote, while 75 percent work remotely at least three times a week. The respondents pointed out that they did more meaningful work and enjoyed better work-life balance and mental health when telecommuting.
On the downside, fully remote developers reported suffering from a lack of regular social interactions, loneliness, and feelings of isolation. Some also said that working in isolation made it difficult to collaborate with other developers.
What’s the deal with hybrid work?
Clearly, hybrid work is quickly taking over the traditional workplace. And it’s safe to say that hybrid work is not just another fleeting trend; it’s here to stay. But is this even a good thing? Let’s take an in-depth look at what hybrid work means to both developers and employers.
What’s in it for developers?
The hybrid work model seems tantalizingly attractive to many employees, including developers. Some will even consider switching jobs just to work in a flexible hybrid workplace. How do developers stand to benefit by alternating between on-site and remote work?
Better health and well-being
Employees working in a hybrid environment are definitely happier than their office-based and fully-remote counterparts. There’s plenty of evidence to back this up. Research shows that 89 percent of workers generally feel happier in a hybrid workplace. Meanwhile, 83 percent said they felt less lonely and isolated after joining a flexible co-working environment. Additionally, a hybrid workplace designed for optimal work-life balance reduces the risk of burnout and work-related stresses.
On the same note, a recent survey conducted by Microsoft revealed that the overall definition of “worthwhile” employment has changed among workers. Fifty-three percent of employees are now more likely to prioritize health and well-being over the job itself. In fact, for younger job seekers and employees, mobility, flexibility, and freedom in the workplace are non-negotiable.
More opportunities for growth and learning
The “work anywhere” principle gives employees the time and freedom to explore personal and professional growth opportunities. Employees have enough wiggle room and just the right atmosphere to learn new skills, find new side-job or entrepreneurial opportunities, and expand their professional networks. This is very important in the rapidly evolving, skill-demanding tech industry. Tech developers, designers, and engineers have to continuously add value to their trade in order to remain relevant in the labor market.
Happier employees are more productive. And research such as Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work Survey validates this rather obvious claim. Owl Labs found that hybrid and remote workers were 22 percent happier than office workers, less stressed, and more focused on productivity. Surprisingly, 55 percent of the respondents said they worked more hours while at home than in the office, and another 67 percent said they were more productive away from the office.
What about the employers?
It’s no surprise that by the end of 2020, 63 percent of high-growth companies had already adopted hybrid work. Many employers are just as excited about hybrid work as the labor communities. And it’s not just an attempt to meet employee expectations or stay in tune with the trends. Accommodating hybrid work is uniquely beneficial to employers as well. Here’s why you should consider restructuring your HR with mixed teams in mind:
More value from your labor force
The most surprising benefit of hybrid work is that workers can be more productive than they’d otherwise be in a fully remote or in-office workplace. It turns out that autonomy is a great productivity factor. The three main productivity drivers among hybrid work teams are increased flexibility, more focus on work, and zero absenteeism.
The beauty of the “work anywhere” approach is that it focuses on output rather than where and how employees work. This freedom cultivates self-drive, commitment to work, employee trust, and accountability in ways that the traditional workplace can’t. All this means that even without close supervision, you get a lot more from your workforce — that is, more bang for your labor spend.
Switching to the hybrid work model is an effective way to reduce direct and indirect labor overheads. For starters, mixed work reduces the need for physical office space, supplies, equipment, and furniture. So, you can downsize your business premises and narrow the employee accommodation footprint. Plus, the developers won’t have to spend as much time and money commuting or prepping for work. Hybrid work also minimizes the risk of absenteeism and employee turnover while boosting productivity and business continuity. The sum of all this is reduced labor costs and more gains.
The Global Workplace Analytics and Design Public Group (DPG) estimates that a single employee working remotely half the time can save their employer as much as $11,000 a year. With such savings, working with hybrid developer teams can drastically lower your overall IT expenditure.
Better employee retention
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average turnover rate in the information sector stood at 38.9 percent in 2021. Employee turnover rates are worryingly high across all commercial industries, not just IT. Work Institute found the lack of career growth opportunities, health and family-related issues, and work-life imbalance to be the top three reasons employees quit. Conveniently enough, these are the very problems that hybrid work solves.
With the hybrid structure, employees have the freedom and time to juggle personal life and work responsibilities without dropping a ball. Also, employees can easily explore growth opportunities while still working and sort out family or health issues without severely affecting their work.
More labor sources and hiring options
A hybrid workplace gives you access to a much wider labor pool of diverse and qualified engineers, coders, and designers. We have already established that most developers prefer to work remotely or in a hybrid environment. So, it’s much easier to fill IT labor positions in a dedicated hybrid team. Additionally, you can work with independent freelance developers or outsourcing agencies through a hybrid work arrangement. In short, your IT workforce won’t be limited to the confines of your premises or local talent pools. Your HR can incorporate developers from all over the globe.
Getting the most out of hybrid work with WeDevelop
The idea of permanent hybrid workplaces was born out of necessity during the pandemic. And since then, HR managers and VPEs have been toying, somewhat skeptically, with the concept to see if it’s really worth it. Many employers and managers never expected hybrid work to be this rewarding, especially regarding productivity and labor scope.
However, a hybrid workplace will only be successful if properly structured to strike the perfect balance between employee expectations and the company’s labor or development needs. Several factors can determine hybrid work’s success, including the organizational culture, employees’ mindset, synchronization between on-site and remote workers, and the facilities enabling hybrid teamwork. With that in mind, here is a list of useful tips for ensuring the success of hybrid development teams:
- Design a hybrid work policy customized for your company; hybrid teams are not one-size-fits-all.
- Provide your hybrid team with all the digital tools and resources they need to collaborate when working remotely and on-site.
- Avoid counter-productive rifts between remote and in-office workers — for example, by favoring one group over the other.
- Stop micromanaging and focus on trust-building instead.
- Track employee performance, experience, wellness, and productivity closely.
- Provide as much work flexibility as possible but within reasonable limits.
- Keep the team members closely tethered to the company through constant communications and engagements.
- Set clear goals and expectations from the start.
One of the easiest and fastest ways to create and work with a hybrid team of developers is teaming up with a staffing or outsourcing agency such as WeDevelop. We help businesses, including start-ups, software development companies, SMBs, and even other IT staffing agencies, access highly skilled and qualified developers through our dedicated teams, staff augmentation, and web development solutions.
WeDevelop is a firm believer in hybrid teams and workplaces, especially in development and general IT roles. Hybrid teams enable you to tap into diverse labor pools far beyond the reach of traditional hires. With our help, you can incorporate exceptionally-qualified developers from the LATAM region into your HR or development projects. That’s right — we source our developers and engineers from Argentina, Peru, Uruguay, and other Central and South American countries. And we vet each and every developer against strict professional, ethical, and qualification standards.