The Future of Work: Is it Hybrid, Remote, or In-Office?

This may sound like a cliché, but our first-hand research and interviews with small businesses shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has radically transformed the way companies think about work. Long gone are the days when employees would be shackled to their desks five days a week, and would need to ward off rush-hour rage to get into the office.

What is definitely not cliché is the direction the conversation around hybrid work is heading in. As new priorities, such as mental health and staff retention during a recession enter the stage, employees are increasingly reconsidering the relationship they want with their job. Therefore, as an employer, it’s crucial to think about switching from seeing remote work as a temporary reaction to the pandemic, to a permanent structural change that has long-term spill over benefits.

As the trend continues to grow, it’s important to remember that hybrid or remote work is not a cure-all for all businesses. What works for one company may not necessarily work for another.

During our discussion with numerous local businesses, we found that there are certainly lots of trends that speak loudly in favor of hybrid work. And, importantly, many of these trends seem to offer a solution to some contemporary business challenges, like finding ways of slashing expenses as inflation continues to rise.

So, whether you’re considering hybrid work as a short-term arrangement, or as a structural change to the way you approach work, it seems that hybrid work is here to stay.

Hybrid and Remote Work: What Do The Numbers Say?

What do employers and employees think about moving away from traditional in-office work? Here is what we found:

  • 74% of US companies are using, or plan to, implement a permanent hybrid work model
  • 63% of high-growth companies use a ‘productive anywhere’ hybrid work model
  • 55% of employees want to work remotely at least three days a week
  • 59% of employees are more likely to choose an employer that offers remote work opportunities over one that doesn’t
  • 83% of workers would prefer a hybrid work model in the future
  • On average, companies see a 12% reduction in turnover when they allow their employees to do at least some remote work
  • The number of online job searches for remote positions increased by 460% from June 2019 to June 2021
  • 48% of businesses we spoke to stated they had introduced flexible or remote work in order to support short and long-term absences, according to our Employee Absenteeism study

What does this reveal about the bigger picture? Workers like and want the option to work remotely. Considering that 60% of employees would consider quitting without a new job offer, employers need to start thinking about the quality of their employees’ experience, and how this can be elevated to keep staff motivated and satisfied with their job. When we surveyed 150 businesses about their experience with hybrid work, we also found that:

  • 76% of them have adopted a hybrid work style
  • 43% of them reported improvements in productivity
  • 60% have reported increases in their profit margins due to slashing overhead costs

Therefore, meeting your employees halfway by offering the chance to work remotely has invaluable spill over effects that are manifested in improved productivity and wellbeing of your employees, and in wider profit margins.

Why Should You Hop on The Hybrid Work Bandwagon?

When speaking to small businesses across the country, the verdict on hybrid work was overwhelmingly positive. From cutting down on overhead costs, to improvements in mental health and boosts in productivity, we found that business owners are largely advocates of hybrid work. Here is what they had to say:

Small Businesses on Hybrid Work

We used to have a very labor-intensive process that required many employees to be present in the office at all times. We would have to pay for office space, equipment, and supplies, as well as new hires who would need training before they could work independently. This led to high overhead costs for our company. Now that we’ve switched to a hybrid setup, we’ve been able to reduce these costs by outsourcing many of our tasks and automating others. This allowed us to save money on overhead expenses while still maintaining quality and service levels for our clients” (sic)

Bonnie Whitfield, Human Resources Director
Family Destinations Guide -
Small Businesses on Hybrid Work

I’ve personally kept track of how employees respond to this new working culture. To my surprise, employees told us that they felt refreshed. They also told us they looked forward to working because completing tasks became much easier. We’ve been able to get more work done since we switched. And this has resulted in a major rise in our profit margins. It was tough to adjust to the hybrid mode at first. A lot of things had to be shifted to make it work. But ever since we got used to it, it has changed the entire outlook of our business” (sic)

Brandon Walsh, Founder
Marketing Agency Interly -
Small Businesses on Hybrid Work

I will say, from a recruiting standpoint, more flexibility is better. You’ll attract more and better qualified professionals in most fields if you’re able to offer some kind of work-from-options. This is particularly true for those hiring into in-demand roles, particularly those in the tech industry that are often fairly independent and easy to do remotely.” (sic)

Jon Hill, CEO and Chairman
The Energists -
Small Businesses on Hybrid Work

There’s been an increase in retention and a higher volume of responses to our job ads, and even out-of-the-blue inquiries about job openings since we enshrined our hybrid working policies. Even though we already have great retention, with multiple employees having 10+ year tenures with us, it seems like even our stalwarts and in-office-preferring-diehards have become re-energized because of their hybrid weeks. So, we expect our retention levels to at least be maintained, and to have a continued increase in interest from candidates when we’re both passively and actively recruiting.” (sic)

Theresha Aird, Co-Founder and CMO -

MD Energy Advisors – Doing Hybrid But Better

When talking about the different types of work, there are usually three go-to terms: hybrid, remote, and in-office. However, as our way of thinking about work continues to evolve, MD Energy Advisors have taken this a step further and offered a slightly different arrangement – work from where you’re most productive.

Expert Market spoke with Jason Schwartzberg, Co-Founder of MD Energy Advisors, a business that seeks to better inform companies make energy choices simple and accessible to everyone. Jason revealed that during the pandemic, they were able to grow their team to over 40 employees and “found that many of [their] team members were actually more productive working away from the office and that [their] culture was impacted positively.”

For us at MD Energy Advisors, productivity takes precedence over face time – Jason Schwartzberg

As the pandemic subsided, the company continued to use a ‘work from where you’re most productive’ format, but chose to re-evaluate their office lease.

“We decided that we still wanted to have office space, yet we did not need as large of an office, so we downsized into smaller square footage,” says Jason. “Being that our team members were experiencing success as individuals and as a team, we didn’t want to mandate an in-office policy.” He adds, “For us at MD Energy Advisors, productivity takes precedence over facetime.”

When asked whether he thinks more businesses should adopt the ‘work from where you’re most productive’ model, Jason says, “We understand that there’s not a one-size-fits-all model as all industries are unique. I do believe, however, that we need to see a shift in mindset from employers in clearly communicating to colleagues that they are trusted to make decisions that are in the best interest for them as individuals and as part of the team.”

While it’s unclear whether this model could overtake all others and become the gold standard of hybrid work, Jason tells us, “If we continue to show the team we appreciate them in ways that impact their quality of life, then that is what we are going to continue to do. At MD Energy Advisors, we often say ‘we want our people to win at life so they can win at work’.”

Hybrid Work Is Here to Stay – Next Steps To Change Your Work Model

Although hybrid work is not a business cure-all, there’s no doubt that it’s married to a ton of benefits. From enhanced work-life balance, to giving your employees the trust and ownership they need to be motivated, hybrid work has convinced plenty of businesses to make the jump away from the traditional nine-to-five job. As you go back to the drawing board and ponder what your work arrangement should be, remember that hybrid work:

  • Slashes overhead costs: less people come into the office, which means you require a smaller space to host your team and you can stop paying big numbers for real estate
  • Keeps your employees smiling: with more time to spend with their families and less time in a sea of strangers, packed in public transport, employees have more time to invest into their well-being as well as their jobs
  • Gives you access to unfound talent: with less of a need to be in the office, you can expand your reach into larger pools of applicants who are not based in your area

Whether you still have hesitations about hybrid work or not, there’s no doubt that the in-office work model is no longer the norm. Although transitioning to remote work can be a learning curve, based on what small businesses told us, it’s definitely worth the push.

Written by:
Fernanda is a Mexican-born Expert Market writer, specialising in providing in-depth insights about business software to help businesses of all shapes and sizes thrive. From VoIP systems to project management software, she’s passionate about helping businesses find the tools and methods that will help give them an edge over their competitors. Fernanda has ample journalistic experience, having written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to cryptocurrency.