Hybrid Remote Work: Meaning, Models, Examples, and Challenges in 2024

Exploring a hybrid remote work model? I researched it and share the hybrid remote meaning, challenges & examples of hybrid remote jobs and work.
Daan van Rossum
Daan van Rossum
Founder & CEO, FlexOS
I founded FlexOS because I believe in a happier future of work. I write and host "Future Work," I'm a 2024 LinkedIn Top Voice, and was featured in the NYT, HBR, Economist, CNBC, Insider, and FastCo.
October 21, 2023
min read

Confused by the ever-evolving terminology of flexible work models?

You're not alone.

But there's good news: I've spoken to countless experts on hybrid remote work over the past years. And I learned a lot.

It's exactly why I wanted to write this comprehensive guide to decode Hybrid Remote work.

Let’s dive in and explore:

  • What is hybrid remote work?
  • Why do employees favor hybrid remote work?
  • The various models of hybrid remote work.
  • Understanding the essence of a hybrid remote job.
  • Key considerations for transitioning to hybrid remote.
  • The role of space and time in hybrid models.
  • Creating a network of spaces and fostering inclusivity.
  • Learning from other companies’ transitions to hybrid remote.
  • The multifaceted benefits and challenges of hybrid remote work.
  • Practical tips for managing a hybrid remote team.
  • Getting started with hybrid remote work.

What does hybrid remote mean?

So, what does hybrid remote mean? Hybrid remote work, more commonly referred to as simply hybrid work, is a flexible work model that blends in-office and remote working days.

Organizations practicing this model maintain physical offices for certain days, while letting teams work remotely on others.

A hybrid work schedule can mean teams come in on fixed days, flexible days, or a mix.

And this model is very popular:

According to Flex Index data, as of May 2024, 63% of companies now embrace a hybrid work model – by far the most popular model.

Why do employees want hybrid remote work?

Return to Office Means Resignations

Hybrid remote work offers employees a balanced and flexible approach, combining in-person and remote work.

It appeals to people who like their focused time away from the office, but also value face time with leadership, to collaboration with teammates in real life, and want to avoid work-from-home loneliness.

Our team's recent hybrid work research shows that people feel more productive, enjoy reduced commuting-related stress, and improve their work-life balance.

Managers also positively highlight the ability to attract and retain top talent with access to an expanded talent pool with diverse skills.  

As I shared with Poarch.com, this is why companies who offer flexibility perform better than those who don't:

One of the main benefits is increased flexibility. With hybrid and remote work, employees can choose when and where to work, allowing them to balance their personal and professional lives better. This flexibility leads to improved job satisfaction and a better work-life balance.

In fact, another study we did found that 43% of employees would consider quitting if requested to be in-office full-time.

Hybrid remote work compared to other models

The hybrid work spectrum

Hybrid remote is one of the working models in the hybrid remote spectrum, which ranges from fully remote to this hybrid work model to mostly office-bound.

The full hybrid remote spectrum consists of: 

  • Fully Remote: In a true remote work model, companies don't have an office, and each team member is free to live and work anywhere they choose. Everyone, including executives, is remote, as there are no offices to visit.
  • Remote-First: in remote-first working models, people primarily work at home or elsewhere, but offices are available. The company or team doesn’t have a minimum number of days to come to the office. Some companies like Spotify also call this Work from Anywhere.
  • Hybrid Remote: is a balanced mix of in-office and remote work that comes in three common variants:
  •      Hybrid Choice: people choose which day to go to the office within a minimum number of days required, set by your or the company.
  •      Partial Choice: besides on or more fixed days, people choose which day to go to the office within a minimum number of days required.
  •      Fixed Days or Organized Hybrid: you or the company decide which days employees must work in the office.
  • Mostly Office-bound: means that you will be mostly in the office but have allowance to work from other places every now and then. This reflects the pre-pandemic way of working.
For even more types of schedules, check out our detailed guide to hybrid work schedules.

While there's a lot of noise about return to office, most companies choose hybrid remote work (or simply 'hybrid work') as 'the best of both worlds.'

These hybrid jobs give people face time, but combats the challenges of remote work, such as isolation and lack of community at work.

Research shows that a hybrid job significantly benefits vulnerable groups including women, people with disabilities, parents of young children, millennials, and Generation Z employees.

As Dave Cairns, a Future of Work strategist at desk booking software Kadence, shared with FlexOS following the 2024 Running Remote conference:

"Most companies HAVE to be hybrid—it’s not a choice… They can’t return to Office-First—it’s a major talent risk. And I don’t think any meaningful percentage of companies have returned to being fully in office."—Dave Cairns, Future of Work Strategist, Kadence.

What is the meaning of a hybrid remote job?

Did you get offered a hybrid remote job, or are you (considering) interviewing for one? Then be ready to commute again! 

A hybrid job means that you will work partially in the office and partially remotely.

This setup offers the flexibility of working from home for some days and being physically present at the office for others. It can balance the convenience of remote work and the collaborative benefits of in-person interaction.

How to find a hybrid job?

If mixing in-office and at-home sounds like a good fit for you, then you can find hybrid remote jobs on popular sites like FlexJobs, Flexa, FlexOS Jobs or the websites of the best hybrid companies.

When you're looking for a hybrid job, consider:

  • Whether the ratio of in-office and at-home time is right for you
  • Whether you have flexibility in choosing your office days
  • What the policy is for taking additional work-from-home days
  • If partial days are possible, for optimal work-life integration

If you want to work from home fully, then consider a work-from-home job. 

Job boards like FlexJobs, Remote Jobs, WeWorkRemotely, and our remote jobs section are perfect for this. (I have some tips in my guide on how to get a remote job.)

What are the benefits of hybrid remote work?

Hybrid remote work has numerous benefits for both people and their companies.

To browse all benefits of flexible working models, check out our guide to 100+ hybrid and remote work statistics.

Focusing specifically on hybrid, these benefits stand out:

Increased productivity

One benefit to highlight is that flexible work helps boost productivity.

Recent FlexOS research about hybrid and work-from-home productivity shows that 98% of managers report increased or maintained employee productivity.

Additionally, most managers themselves also reported increased productivity. 

Hybrid Remote Work is proven to drive productivity

Better work-life balance

For employees, more flexibility means better balancing work and life.

Hybrid-remote employees enjoy the freedom to balance personal commitments, family responsibilities, and hobbies, making their daily lives more manageable and fulfilling.

With the ability to choose when and where they work, they can seamlessly integrate work into their lifestyle.

Less sick days

Especially relevant in a post-pandemic world, hybrid-remote work enables employees to balance on-site and remote work, giving them control over their exposure boundaries and health considerations. 

In a fascinating interview, Rory Sutherland noted that hybrid and remote work may mean the end of ‘one-day sick leave,’ working from home still works perfectly fine when you’re not feeling too well, while a trip to the office may have been a bridge too far. 

Larger talent pool

Few people want to work in an office full-time. By offering hybrid work, you'll be able to attract more and better talent.

Cost savings

It may sound too good to be true, but research shows that adopting hybrid work can create cost savings for both employees and employers.

Employees benefits because they save money as they commute less.

And companies save money because they can downsize offices and save on additional usage costs like electricity, pantry supplies, and facilities teams. Global Workplace Analytics calculated that organizations can save $11,000 per year for every employee who works remotely half of the time.

As Liam Martin, CEO of Time Doctor and founder of Running Remote, shared in his interview with me

"Forget about how happy it makes workers. It makes workers really happy, but forget about that for right now. It makes you more money. Yes, it produces a better return on investment for you as a business owner.” – Liam Martin, CEO, Time Doctor

Who wouldn't want that?

Companies wanting optimal cost saving should use hot desk booking software and room scheduling software. I've researched and ranked them for you.

Improved job satisfaction

Hybrid Remote Work: Increased Employee Satisfaction

Companies offering entirely flexible schedules empower employees to create work routines that accommodate individual needs, enhancing overall job satisfaction and accommodating unique situations, such as disability-related work preferences or tight deadlines.

Indeed, in our research, 6 out of 10 managers mentioned that improved job satisfaction is the key benefit of hybrid and remote working models. 

Reduced turnover rates

The increased flexibility and work-life balance provided by hybrid-remote work lead to higher levels of employee satisfaction, contributing to reduced turnover rates and becoming an attractive aspect for recruitment and retention efforts.

Enhanced sustainability

Reducing office spaces and commuting due to hybrid-remote work fosters a more sustainable future with lower carbon footprints and environmental impacts. It aligns with the global focus on eco-conscious practices, making businesses more socially responsible.

What are the challenges of hybrid remote working?

Hybrid work and remote work isn't without challenges

FlexOS research shows that most managers don't experience hybrid and remote work challenges.

On the other hand, company leadership, HR teams, and organization designers often discuss the challenges of hybrid work models.

As Manager Method founder Ashley Herd told us, managing remote teams is hard, and it's important to overcome key challenges.

From information accessibility and career opportunities to cultural integration and physiological stress, navigating hybrid challenges is crucial to ensuring the success and well-being of hybrid-remote teams: 

Access to Information

Hybrid-remote employees may face challenges accessing crucial information as they are not physically present.

This could result in incomplete data, leading to confusion, frustration, and potential underperformance. To address this issue, companies should improve documentation practices and ensure seamless team communication channels to keep all team members well-informed.

Career and Development Opportunities

Being out of sight in a hybrid-remote setup may lead to remote employees being overlooked for promotions, career advancements, and lateral organizational moves. Not being mindful of this one of 5 common mistakes remote managers make.

To overcome this challenge, employers must create equal growth opportunities for in-person and remote team members, ensuring remote employees are not disadvantaged in their career progression, especially in leadership coaching.

Connection With Colleagues and Company Culture

Hybrid-remote employees might experience feelings of isolation or being treated as secondary to their in-office counterparts.

To mitigate this, organizations need to prioritize remote onboarding, inclusion, and fostering a hybrid culture that values the contributions of all team members, regardless of their work location.

This is easier than ever with the many virtual team building activities available.

Demands for Overperformance

Some hybrid-remote employees may face subtle pressure to deliver beyond expectations compared to their in-office counterparts, stemming from a misguided belief that remote employees have it easier or can use time saved on commuting for work. Yeah, it doesn't work like that.

Leaders should emphasize performance based on outcomes rather than work location and ensure equitable expectations for all team members.

Office-Centric Culture

Companies relying heavily on physical perks and in-office experiences to define their culture may struggle to extend those experiences to remote employees.

Remote workers might feel disconnected from the company's culture, affecting employee engagement and team cohesion.

Leaders should intentionally create a more inclusive and remote-friendly culture, incorporating virtual experiences that foster collaboration and camaraderie.

Legal and Compliance Challenges

Especially when you're hiring global remote team members, payroll, benefits, and compliance can become a nightmare pretty quickly.

This is why a swatch of Employer of Record services have popped up over the past years, all promising to take care of these challenges.

EOR platforms like Deel, Remote, and Remofirst can take over your remote employee management completely. Deel has even launched an entire HRIS to integrate all your global employee HR tasks.

If you're looking to reap some of the Employer of Record benefits of and want to support FlexOS' mission of a happier future of work, consider checking out Deel.

Physiological Stress in Office Environments

In hybrid-remote setups, some team members may be required to work in open-plan office environments, which studies have linked to increased physiological stress.

Employers should prioritize employee well-being by providing flexible workspace options, supporting remote work arrangements, and promoting a healthy work environment for all employees, regardless of their work location.

What to consider when rolling out a hybrid remote work schedule

If you're a company that's rolling out a hybrid remote model, then first of all, on behalf of all employees: THANK YOU! The era of full-time office must come to an end.

So where to start?

Find the Right Hybrid Schedule

As mentioned before, there are many ways to do hybrid. Choosing the one that fits your company and employees best, is key.

Check out our quiz and find the best hybrid work schedule for you, and then write a hybrid work policy that reflects this.

Creating An Office That Supports Hybrid Work

Hybrid Remote Work Demands Better Offices

Hybrid work also changes the requirements for your hybrid office.

After all, if work can happen at home, why would people still come to the office? According to our research, socializing, collaborating, and focused work is key.

The answer is to hybrid office design with spaces accommodating social, meeting, and focused work activities. The best companies also include spaces for balance & well-being, totaling four types of spaces.

It’s also important to activate the space as more than just an empty box. Companies that successfully return to office efforts often actively build community at work through events and activities.

Offering a network of spaces

You can also offer a network of spaces.

As reported in HBR, Fujitsu wanted to support their team in Japan to get into a flow state to be at peak productivity. To accomplish this, they created an ecosystem of spaces that formed the “borderless office.” It includes hubs that maximize cooperation, satellites that facilitate coordination, and shared offices that enable focus.

Atlassian does something similar, and uses data to constantly assess the effectiveness of its locations.

According to their head of Team Anywhere, Annie Dean, this led to them closing and opening offices throughout 2023. In 2024, Atlassian reported that teams can now work from 10,000 locations. Not bad for a 'remote' company.

Platforms like LiquidSpace and Radious Pro allow companies to build a network of working locations without any upfront investment by tapping into existing flexible offices and coworking spaces – giving employees access to a nearby workspace.

Embracing Technology for Equitable Experiences

One of the main downsides of hybrid (and remote) organizations is that they become inequitable. The experience and the opportunities for (part-time) remote workers can be less than those in the office. Zillow’s CEO, Rich Barton, warned of this last year.

“We must ensure a level playing field for all team members, regardless of their physical location. There cannot be a two-class system. Meaning that those in the room are first-class. And those on the phone being second-class.” – Rich Barton, CEO, Zillow

Gitlab, the fully remote company that just went public for a 15 billion dollar valuation, used even strong words. Their CEO, Job van der Voort, called a hybrid model “the worst of both worlds.”

Research shows that people who spend less time in the office get fewer promotions. And that they are perceived to be less productive. They also received less information – the very information they need to work well and grow in their career.

Hybrid Remote Software like Virtual Meeting Platforms

Technology can ensure a more equitable workplace.

Many hybrid and virtual meetings are held in conference rooms with a long table and one big screen.

This means that all remote participants are shown together on the screen. And that they don’t have the same amount of ‘real estate’ as the in-person participants. Giving everyone their own screen, placed on the table or mobile carts, can be a great solution.

Audio is very important too. Often, it’s hard for people to join remotely, or vice versa. Having the right microphones and speakers in the room reduces this issue.

Collaboration software can further solve the ‘divide.’

Think, for example, about whiteboard solutions like Miro, or working from shared documents through Google Workspace or Microsoft 365.

The virtual meeting platforms you choose also impact the remote experience: tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom allow more and more collaboration online. These improvements make meetings much more equitable.

Casual conversations deliver a lot of value to in-office workers. It’s not always the meetings but the chatting before and after. The best hybrid and remote companies focus on finding ways to replace this. Using open “social” channels on collaboration tools like Slack or Workplace by Facebook recreates this online. 

Best-in-class hybrid remote companies find the best HR software to support their teams. HRIS Software platforms like HiBob, Gusto, and Rippling were designed to support hybrid teams' needs from paying out the right benefits to sending laptops to remote locations.

They often also adopt hybrid-ready employee management software, employee engagement tools, time management tools, team communication tools, virtual workspace, and use specialized tools like desk booking software and room scheduling software.

A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion benefit of Hybrid Remote Work

Rethinking Process & Policy

Beyond technology and platforms, process and hybrid work policy can help achieve a successful hybrid workplace. This is not about old-school “HR policies” but rather rules of engagement that create clarity for everyone.

One essential way to ensure equity for non-office workers is by making information available online. Rather than having a spoken meeting, meetings are run by creating a live working document that can be accessed by those who weren’t there. Any conversation is recapped and documented for that same purpose.

For larger changes in a company, practice a “handbook-first” way of working.

This idea, coined by Gitlab, means that all changes are documented in near real-time. This means that onboarding someone is as easy as sharing the handbook. It also allows employees to have one source for all information, whether they’ve just joined or have been there for years.

For office workers, it’s easy to forget that their work from home-counterparts are human too. Training and fostering empathy, therefore, becomes important. Ensure meetings start with a genuine “how are you.” Or schedule time for more friendly conversations after the official part of the meeting. This keeps human connections alive – key for making workplaces equitable.

Leaders can help build a more equitable company by modeling hybrid behaviors. They can work outside of the office for a few days a week. This signals that people don’t need to be in the office to be productive or to get ahead. 

Best-in-class hybrid remote companies over-invest in employee listening and employee surveys, including working with employee engagement survey providers.

Considering Not Just Place, but also Time

Lynda Gratton, a management professor at London Business School, shared in Harvard Business Review that companies should consider place and time.

New research our team did shows that more flexibility in when to work is the most popular way to improve hybrid work schedules, a new concept called asynchronous work.

Investing in rethinking when people will work pay off handsomely, as it delivers on the biggest desire hybrid employees have.

How other companies are handling the transition to hybrid remote

As Austin Kleon’s book “Steal Like An Artist” poses, nothing is original, and the best work is built on others’. 

Reinventing the hybrid remote wheel is unnecessary. While hybrid remote and other flexible models are relatively new, you don’t have to start from scratch.

Whether it’s Dropbox’s Virtual First Toolkit, Atlassian’s Team Playbook, or Herman Miller’s Future of Work Insights collection, there’s plenty human resources teams can be inspired by and learn from.

You can also browse Scoop’s FlexIndex to see the hybrid remote policies for thousands of companies.

And, as Dave Ulrich said in our recent interview, in our modern world of work we need to both be good to people, and make it work for the company.

And as Gayane Hakobyan writes in her great article "a 2023 guide to hybrid remote work in tech:"

"Generally, hybrid remote roles balance employee-centric and company-centric work models. (...) As long as a sufficient number of hours are completed on-site during a set period — such as every week or each month — that’s enough to keep the employer satisfied."

With the many benefits of hybrid remote work, this is the right way to approach the topic.

More tips for managing a hybrid remote team

Overcoming these challenges requires 12 strategies for managing remote teams, including clear communication, establishing boundaries, supporting employee well-being, implementing feedback loops, fostering trust and collaboration within teams, and embracing a positive mindset toward change:

Build Psychological Safety 🤗

  • Prioritize psychological safety within your team to foster creativity, productivity, job satisfaction, and employee retention.
  • Encourage open communication and active listening to create a safe environment for sharing ideas and feedback.
  • Recognize and reward individuals who speak up and contribute to building confidence and trust.

Set Your Team Rules 📜

  • Establish clear team agreements and guidelines for remote and hybrid work to ensure clarity and productivity.
  • Address key working hours, communication platforms, office attendance, and productivity measurement questions.
  • Use tools like Notion, Google Drive, or Blissbook to document and share the team rules.

Power Up with Technology ⚡

  • Assess your team's technology needs and provide essential tools to support their work.
  • Team communication tools, virtual workspace, and task trackers can be invaluable assets.
  • Familiarize team members with the software and offer training resources for better adoption.
  • Measure and optimize the use of technology to improve the employee experience.

Meet Less, Meet Better 🤝

  • Have clear meeting agendas and choose appropriate meeting formats (video, audio, messaging, etc.).
  • Swap your old-school Zoom for one of the modern virtual meeting platforms
  • Encourage engagement from all participants (our tips for a great virtual meeting is here) and respect different time zones for hybrid teams.
  • Follow up after meetings with meeting minutes and action items to keep everyone informed and accountable.
  • For fully and mostly remote teams, ensure you get together frequently, for example during a company retreat.

Over-invest in One-on-Ones 👥

  • Schedule and prioritize regular one-on-one meetings with team members for building trust and addressing concerns.
  • Communicate expectations in advance and actively listen during the meetings.
  • Use one-on-ones for goal setting, personal development, and ongoing support.
  • Tools like one-on-one questions generator, Would you rather questions, or AI Icebreakers.

Create Intentional Office Days 🥳

  • Define clear objectives for in-office days, focusing on collaboration, team meetings, and fostering community.
  • Use hybrid work scheduling tools or group polls to effectively coordinate and plan office days.
  • Prioritize interaction and team engagement during in-office days with co-working activities and team-building exercises.

Foster Team Collaboration 🧩

  • Emphasize psychological safety within your team to encourage creativity, diverse perspectives, and shared ownership of goals.
  • Utilize collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, or Notion to facilitate easy information flow between in-office and remote team members.
  • Train the team on the importance of transparent collaboration, setting clear outcomes, and building trust in hybrid and remote work settings.

Set Clear Performance Expectations 📈

  • Prioritize outcomes over hours worked to manage the performance of hybrid and remote team members effectively.
  • Provide frequent feedback and informal performance reviews to keep team members motivated and aligned with goals.
  • Set balanced targets that challenge employees while remaining attainable to foster a sense of autonomy and trust in remote work.

Invest in Learning & Development 🎓

  • Prioritize personal and professional growth for all team members, regardless of location, to support engagement and retention.
  • Offer a blend of on-the-job learning, collaboration-based training, and formal education to cater to diverse learning preferences.
  • Utilize technology and e-learning platforms to provide remote-friendly training programs and workshops for continuous development.

Create an Inclusive Onboarding Experience 👋

  • Design a comprehensive onboarding program covering organizational, technical, and social aspects to integrate new team members successfully.
  • Engage new hires in pre-boarding activities to introduce them to the company culture and values before their start date.
  • Create and assign a top-notch 30 60 90 day plan for your new team members.
  • Assign onboarding buddies or mentors to provide support, answer questions, and facilitate integration.

Promote Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 💕

  • Expand hiring efforts to attract diverse talent from various locations, enhancing perspectives and experiences.
  • Implement inclusive practices to promote equitable treatment across in-office and remote team members.
  • Provide diversity training and cultural sensitivity programs to enhance understanding and empathy among team members.

Champion Employee Well-Being 🥗

  • Set clear boundaries and expectations to prevent burnout and maintain work-life balance for remote and hybrid teams.
  • Offer flexible work arrangements that accommodate individual needs and promote employee well-being and job satisfaction.
  • Provide resources and support for mental health and wellness, recognizing the unique challenges of remote work.

Don't forget employee recognition including that very important happy work anniversary!

Getting started with hybrid remote work

With many challenges and required changes, you may wonder whether to stick with a hybrid remote work model.

But the simple fact is that companies offering hybrid work are more attractive to employees. This will help you when recruiting and trying to retain your top talent. 

Hybrid remote work is not just a policy that benefits employees; it signifies a profound cultural shift in how organizations operate. To fully harness the potential of hybrid remote, companies must transition from a controlling work environment to a more democratic one.

This means empowering individuals and team leaders to create fluid schedules and flexible arrangements that align with their passion and purpose. A one-size-fits-all approach, where employees must adhere to strict in-office schedules, falls short of realizing the full potential of hybrid remote work.

Instead, thriving hybrid remote organizations set broad guidelines for effective engagement, collaboration, productivity, and work satisfaction while allowing individuals to choose their work locations and schedules. By fostering a culture of trust and empowerment, companies can unlock the actual benefits of hybrid remote work models.

To successfully implement hybrid remote work, start by taking these three crucial steps: 

1. Understand Your Key Stakeholder’s Appetite

Just because hybrid remote work is great, doesn’t mean that everyone will be equally excited.

Before starting a big transformation project, perform a ‘temperature check.’ with all your key stakeholders.

What is their appetite for hybrid remote work? Are they looking to make changes in flexibility around space only? Or time as well? What would hybrid work mean to them? And what would and wouldn’t motivate them?

2. Survey Your Team

Survey your team to decide how and to what degree you will adopt hybrid remote work. Getting first-line insights into what they want is critical.

The most important information to gather is:

  • Do you need (dedicated) working space in our HQ, and how often?
  • How many days would you ideally work from home or work near home?
  • How far would you ideally travel (maximum) to get to work?
  • Do you have requirements that tie you to a physical office, like document storage?
  • What are any concerns about hybrid work you may have?

3. Get Ready To Measure, Learn, And Optimize

You’re about to embark on a big and new journey. How do we ensure you’re successful? (lean) startups have always embraced the build–measure – learn – (and optimize!) mindset. 

Start by setting goals and picture what success looks like. Then align metrics against that. Ensure you measure those items and review them. Constantly. This will allow you to see what is working and adjust where it isn’t.

Stay in the know

Now you learn all the essentials to get started.

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Hybrid Work

Hybrid work (or hybrid remote work) lets people combine in-office days with focused work-from-home days. How does that work? Read all about it on flexos.work.