Hybrid Work: Everything You Need to Know in 2024

Hybrid work is here to stay in 2024. But how to run an efficient hybrid work model? And how to take great care of your people? This guide tells all.
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.
March 24, 2024
min read

Just a few years ago, hybrid work was an exception.

In 2024, it's the norm: according to the latest hybrid work statistics, most companies now practice hybrid work.

As someone who's been studying hybrid work since the pandemic, I'll answer the most common question company leadership and HR teams have.

What Does Hybrid Work Mean?

So, what does hybrid work mean? Hybrid work is a flexible model that blends in-office days with remote work.

Organizations implementing a hybrid work model maintain physical offices for some days while allowing teams to work remotely for others.

With this model, teams can work in the office on fixed days, flexible days, or a mix of both.

The decision on which days people work from home depends on the chosen hybrid work schedule, which is is usually captured in a hybrid work policy.

The Benefits of Hybrid Work

Our team's hybrid work research shows that people practicing hybrid work experience a slew of benefits:

  • 66% of managers saw increased productivity, and 48.5% said productivity has ‘significantly improved.’
  • Managers said their own productivity has significantly improved (38%) and not decreased (96%.)
  • 98% say they trust their teams to be productive on non-office days.  
  • 77% of managers find it easy, and 62% find it enjoyable or very enjoyable to manage remote teams.
  • Employee satisfaction and morale (60%) is the major benefit of remote work, alongside a reduction in commute time and stress (54%), improved work-life balance (53%), increased productivity (35%), and an expanded talent pool (30%.)

In fact, another study we conducted found that 43% of employees considered quitting if asked to return to the office full-time.

Choosing the Right Hybrid Work Schedule

As the research shows, hybrid work can attract and retain top talent.

But, companies continue to struggle to pick the right hybrid work schedule, flip-flopping between more generous remote schedules and in-office mandates.

Creating the perfect hybrid work schedule is both an art and a science, requiring a nuanced understanding of team dynamics, individual productivity, and organizational goals.

The challenge lies in balancing flexibility with the need for collaboration and connection among team members, critical in fostering a hybrid culture of trust and empowerment.

Three Questions to Ask

Choosing a Hybrid Work Schedule
Choosing a Hybrid Work Schedule

As we shared in our hybrid work schedule guide, we suggest to ask three questions:

1. What is the goal of implementing a hybrid schedule?

What are the objectives of introducing a hybrid schedule? Is it to reduce office space, cut real estate expenses, establish a more organized work structure, or enhance talent attraction, engagement, and retention?

2. How frequently should employees be present in the office?

Do you prefer a three-day office presence, similar to many large companies? Or are you aiming for a mostly flexible schedule with occasional office days?

3. Who should determine the office attendance days?

Should the schedule be strictly determined to ensure maximum structure? Or should managers and teams have the authority to make decisions? Alternatively, are you open to allowing employees to choose their own office attendance days?

Five Types of Hybrid Work Schedules

Based on the questions above, you'll likely find one of the five schedules below fit.

  1. Weekly Hybrid Schedule. The vast majority of hybrid companies use this schedule, which includes the common variations Fixed Days Hybrid, Partial Choice Hybrid, and Full Choice Hybrid.
  2. Alternating Week Schedule. In this model, the varying teams are one week remote, and one week in the office.
  3. Shift Hybrid Schedule. This means that beyond deciding on which days to work, you or your team also chooses timeslots to work.
  4. 50:50 Schedule. In this schedule, we leave workweeks behind and look at office vs. remote over the course of a month.
  5. Cyclical Schedule. In this schedule, which can include Hybrid + Events, there’s a set cadence in which you work remotely and then in person.

The Weekly Hybrid Work Schedule

The Weekly Hybrid Work Schedule
The Weekly Hybrid Work Schedule

The most popular hybrid schedule is the weekly hybrid schedule. Assuming your company goes for this hybrid work schedule, you'll have one more choice to make:

  • Fixed Days: The manager or company decides which days employees should come to the office based on company guidelines for the number of days.
  • Partial Choice Model: The manager or company decides on one or more fixed office days, and the employee chooses the final required office day(s).
  • Full Choice Model: The employee chooses which days to go to the office within a minimal requirement of 1-4 days set by the company or manager.

The split ratio between remote and in-office workdays can vary, such as 3/2 (the most common), 2/3, 1/4, or even 50/50 across multiple weeks, depending on your priorities.

Employee Choice Wins

BCG Research: Employee Choice Wins
BCG Research: Employee Choice Wins

According to research by the Boston Consulting Group, letting employees choose when to come usually reaps the most benefits.

According to a recent survey conducted by BCG, 24% of employees were dissatisfied with their work location policy when the company decided to do so.

This percentage decreased to 14% when the manager made the decision and dropped to 6% when the team was involved in the decision-making process.

In short, employees tend to be more satisfied with their work location policy when they are closer to the decision-making process.
And as happiness at work has a proven positive impact the bottom line, this is a win-win for everyone.

For more, see our detailed guide to the hybrid work schedule.

Writing the hybrid work policy

Hybrid Work Policy
Hybrid Work Policy

Once you've chosen your hybrid work model, make sure you create clarity for your team in a hybrid work policy.

Starting from our hybrid work policy template, the right policy goes beyond just which in-office days, and includes:

  • How people are expected to engage with each other, their manager, and the company.
  • When they are expected to work: are there fixed hours, core hours, especially on non-office days?
  • Which opportunities for asynchronous work exist – a wish for one in two employees according to 2023 FlexOS research.
  • How productivity is measured.  
  • How exceptions to the policy are handled.  

Writing a policy and making it easily accessible is crucial.

In 2022, Microsoft research showed that 38% of employees say their greatest hybrid challenge is knowing when or why to come into the office.

Read our detailed guide to the hybrid work policy.

How to perfect the hybrid work model

Stanford Professor Nick Bloom, the Hybrid Work Guru
Stanford Professor Nick Bloom, the Hybrid Work Guru

Even if you've chosen a hybrid work model and issued your hybrid work policy, you may still face challenges in running a hybrid work model.

In a recent conversation I had with Stanford professor Nick Bloom, suggested adopting these best practices:

  • Purposeful office days are essential in hybrid work. They focus on activities that benefit most from in-person interaction, like group meetings and training, to make employees feel their office presence is valuable and desired.
  • Coordinating in-office days enhances collaboration and connection among hybrid workers, prevents isolated office visits, and encourages a vibrant, energetic workplace culture.
  • Successful hybrid office design prioritizes aesthetics and functionality. Includes spaces for socializing, meeting, and focused work, alongside modern amenities and user-friendly booking systems. (More on this below.)
  • Focus on outcomes and deliverables rather than physical presence or surveillance, promoting autonomy and focusing on results.
For more, see our detailed guide on the hybrid work model.

Hybrid vs Remote Work: The Differences

Hybrid work means office work
Hybrid work means office work

The terminology of flexible work models can certainly be confusing.

Even in 2024, hundreds of people are still searching for the differences between hybrid and remote work.

And in all fairness, hybrid and remote work are both part of a broad spectrum of flexible schedules, with the main differences being:

  • Remote work has gained popularity recently, letting people work away from the traditional office environment. This work arrangement offers many benefits, such as greater flexibility and no commuting time.
  • Hybrid work, sometimes also called hybrid remote work, combines remote and office work, with employees having the option to work from home or attend the physical office, depending on the day or task.

The main difference between these two work arrangements is the level of obligation to come to the office. Remote work does not include office time, while hybrid work does.

What Does Hybrid Mean in a Job?

Hybrid work in a job context refers to a work arrangement combining remote and office work. It allows employees the flexibility to choose where they work based on the day or task.

As shared above, the main distinction of hybrid work is that employees must spend some time in the physical office.

The number of days and how to choose those days depends on the type of hybrid work model you, as the company, have chosen.

A Successful Hybrid Office  

A hybrid office isn't a normal office
A hybrid office isn't a normal office

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?

Hybrid offices are designed to facilitate activities that are best done in person and away from home, such as collaboration sessions, workshops, learning and development, and focused work.

To run a hybrid office, companies need to rethink their design, build the right space, and unlock it through intuitive software.

Hot Desking: Still Not Common

According to 2024 research from Kastle, office occupancy is at 50% of pre-COVID levels in major office buildings across the US.

This means it doesn't make much sense for companies to offer dedicated desks to each employee.

Still, many companies are stuck in long leases and cannot downsize yet. Those who do, however, often switch to a hot desking system.

With hot desking, employees don't have a dedicated desk but rather book one on the days they go in, usually through hot desk booking software like Tactic, OfficeRnD Hybrid, or Offisly.

For more, see our full guide to the Top Hot Desk Booking Software

Room Booking Software Continues to be Important

Tactic desk and room booking software

While hot desking isn't the norm yet, the battle for meeting rooms rages on, now more so than ever.

As many companies have yet to redesign their offices for hybrid work, and employees mostly come in for collaboration, meeting rooms are in higher demand than ever.

Meeting room scheduling software like OfficeRnD Hybrid and Tactic help employees secure a room, avoiding the terror of commuting just to take Zoom calls from their desks.

For more, see our 2024 Room Scheduling Software guide

Hybrid Technology is Key

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 reduces this issue.

Remote collaboration tools can further solve the ‘divide.’

For example, consider 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, Zoom, and Butter allow more immersive collaboration online.

Read our Complete Guide to Hybrid Offices in 2024

Hybrid Office Design: What to Look for in 2024

Hybrid Office Design
Hybrid Office Design

Besides ensuring your technology is on par with current expectations, facilities must also be adjusted.

In 2024, hybrid office design means generous spaces beyond individual desks that accommodate social, meeting, and focused work activities. The best companies also include spaces for balance and well-being, totaling four types of spaces:

  • Social Spaces are essential to counteract work-from-home loneliness and foster a sense of belonging and community, which is crucial for productivity. These spaces include community areas, lounges, pantries, and play areas, facilitating impromptu interactions and the 'chemistry of the unexpected.'
  • Meeting Spaces are designed to enhance trust and collaboration in hybrid work environments. They include areas for sharing, learning, brainstorming, and connecting, fostering human interaction that can't be replicated remotely.
  • Focus Spaces are key for concentrated work in hybrid office settings. These spaces feature open yet quiet areas, flexible hot desks, and innovative solutions like soundproof booths and desk booking systems to manage space efficiently.
  • Balance Spaces support mental and emotional well-being and include areas for sleep, exposure to natural light, and greenery. They contribute to work-life balance, productivity, and reduced absenteeism.

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.

For more, check out our Hybrid Office Design Guide

Hybrid Work and AI

Of course, in this 2024 guide, we can't talk about technology without discussing AI in the workplace.

AI has taken the world by storm and will continue to do so with the expected roll-out of ChatGPT 5.

For companies practicing hybrid work, AI will help create even better experiences:

  • Free AI tools like Microsoft Copilot can make everyone more efficient
  • AI Productivity Tools like Otter AI will help make hybrid meetings more effective
  • AI websites for work ChatPDF will let people find HR and company info quickly
Not sure how to get started? Check out my guide on how to use AI for work in 2024!

The Bottom Line: Hybrid Work in 2024

In 2024, hybrid work has transitioned from an exception to a standard practice among companies. It blends in-office days with remote work to create a flexible work environment.

The hybrid work model offers plenty of benefits, including significant improvements in productivity and employee satisfaction, as reported by managers we surveyed in 2023.

To make hybrid work, work, focus on choosing a strong hybrid work model that balances organizational goals, team dynamics, and individual preferences.

Besides deciding when people come into the office, also pay close attention to why they should come in: what is there to do, and does the physical office facilitate this?

Finally, don't overlook technology, including meeting room and desk booking software, alongside proper audiovisual systems and even AI.

Let's build a hybrid work model that truly works for everyone. (and never go back to the office full-time.)

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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.