Hybrid Work - Why Moms Are Opting To Work From Home And Onsite

Hybrid work? Organizations have started bringing employees back on-site. But some moms are nervous about returning to an in-person location five days a week. They are negotiating to work a few days at home and a few days on site - what has been referred to as the hybrid work option. What would you prefer?

Rita has two children. She has worked in the same company for over a decade. Like many others, she was forced to work from home during the pandemic.

During a recent meet up, she told me her employer wants them to return to onsite work in a few months. 

She had bonded even more so well with her children during this past year. She has also enjoyed not having to commute to work. But she sometimes feels isolated and would love some adult interaction. She is nervous about getting a new babysitter. What would she do?

She is planning on negotiating a hybrid work pattern. She wants to work from home Monday to Wednesday and do Thursdays and Fridays on-site.

Can you relate to Rita?

The Evolution From COVID-19 Pandemic

In the past, you either worked from home or worked on-site. Only a few individuals had the option of a hybrid work pattern.

Then came the pandemic of 2020. Nearly everyone worked from home.

Many struggled to adapt for the first few months to this change. Mom's presence at home was automatically read as she being available for everything she would normally do. She gradually mastered the art of joggling work and caring for everyone and everything. With time, even dads as well as moms report enjoying the luxury afforded by working from home. 

Thankfully, things are gradually opening up in many places.

Whereas employers want their employees to return to working on-site, many employees, especially moms like Rita, are reluctant to return to working on-site full time again.

Though working from home has its challenges, there are upsides to doing so. 

The Attraction of Working From Home

Why would you not want to return to site to work, many employees have been asked. 

The attractions of working from home includes but not limited to:

  • Zero commuting - huge savings both in cost and time
  • Less money spent on work clothes, shoes
  • Zero childcare cost in most cases or reduced childcare cost
  • Zero distractions from colleagues
  • Near-zero time off - recent studies shows that during the pandemic, there was less time taken off by staff who worked from home! 
  • Add less stress from bosses breathing down your neck and unnecessary bickering with colleagues who drag you into some office politics!

No wonder many employees would rather continue to work from home full time! But working from home also comes with some challenges. 

The Challenges of Working From Home

Yes. There is always another side to a story. Working from home has its own issues. 

They include:

  • Distractions From Family Members or Friends. Your loved ones may feel because you are home, you are actually not working. They crave your time and attention. There has been reports of kids or even spouses bursting into office meetings, or meetings with clients which may be embarrassing!
  • More Self-Discipline Required For Non-Self-Starters. To work successfully on your own requires discipline, self-motivation and the ability to work unsupervised. You need to be able to both schedule and manage time properly. When you are working on-site, you have other "eyes" watching. There is accountability. Many who lack these skills struggle to work from home.
  • The Lone Bird Syndrome. Many find working from home too lonely for them. Some has found being alone on projects to be so tormenting and stress inducing. Work from home may delay or reduce collaborations  with colleagues if they are unable to effectively use technology. Working as a team enhances productivity. When people don't work as a team it stalls growth, new initiatives and interpersonal skills.

  • Anxious Employers. Some employers find it hard to check in on employees to ensure that work time is not used for other purposes and that time reported is truly reflective of work time. This has created anxiety and distrust on the part of some employers. 

The Hybrid Work Option - A God Sent? 

Workers are quitting jobs in record numbers, post-covid. 

Forward-looking employers or CEOs should take a closer look.

Employers need to innovate or become irrelevant. Blockbuster stuck to its old ways - the same status quo. Their lunch got eaten by companies like Netflix. And sadly, they have gone the path of the dodo!

Employers need to choose if they want to stay relevant or become dinosaurs. Now is the time to innovate, retrain and empower their employees.

Hybrid work option could potentially be a win-win for both employers and employees. 

Hybrid work has its challenges, but that is the way the world is going now. Employers would not want to ignore this trend because of the inherent challenges it brings. The following are common problems with hybrid work option and how to mitigate them:

  • Fear of Ineffective Supervision. Many employers worry that long term, they may not be able to provide needed supervision to their employees. Study shows that for people to work efficiently, they must adhere to some strict routines. Work the same start-time each day, start the day early, work in an organized workspace and even dressing up for work! Some employers worry that they cannot enforce many of these during remote work. This issue of fear of ineffective supervision is an easy to solve problem with training and use of  time-logger softwares like BambooHr, TimeIQ, Clockify, Asana, and more. Combined with regular scheduled virtual meetings, you certainly can motivate employees to optimal productivity. 
  • Data Breech Concerns. This is a real issue. Confidential business and client information must be kept confidential. Without appropriate attention, such information could fall into the hands of friends and family when employees work from home. This problem can be addressed by training employees on data protection issues and have well written Standard Operating Procedures and covenants employees would agree to adhere to.  
  • Potential for Poor Client Experience. Some employers have expressed worry that if left unsupervised in a home environment, family members or pets could intrude on meetings or the home office may not be set up properly to reflect the company's values and brand. While initially this may be true, training and support from employers to modify home office spaces to meet expected standards as well as measures to keep out uninvited guests during meetings can be put in place. 

These initial teething problem should not discourage employers from welcoming hybrid work model. Instead, train your employees to be self-governing and find the sweet spot that will optimize productivity. You may then just realize that hybdrid working is perhaps a God sent option that would boost your bottom line. 

Yes. Hybrid work is a relatively new concept for many organizations. Many moms like this option - and some men will not say no to this either. 

Which Do You Prefer? Have Your Say!

I hope employers will be better able to cope with the nuances associated with hybrid work and increasingly offer this to their staff.

If you are a mom, what is your preference for work and why? Please comment below! And if you are an employer, will you allow the hybrid work option?

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