Hybrid Horizons: Mastering the Blend of Remote and In-Office Work for SMEs

Can your business run with a mobile and hybrid workforce?


Since the global pandemic, employers’ opinions of working from home have changed with flexible and hybrid working now common practice.

In order to get the best out of your staff, maintain staff retention and offer a diverse working environment, it’s important to make sure the right choices are made when implementing a hybrid work model. Here we explore the benefits of hybrid working and why infrastructure, inclusivity and investment in the right technology are all key to a successful hybrid working model.

What is a hybrid workforce?

A hybrid working model mixes in-office and remote work. Some employees like to work on site, some people want to be at home and some want the option of both. A hybrid workplace gives your employees more control, providing a healthier work-life balance. This flexible working environment builds a happier, more productive workforce. Employees also tend to be more engaged and it can have a positive impact on their physical and mental health.

What are the benefits of hybrid working?

Flexible and hybrid working has many positive benefits for your business. Here are just a few:

Productivity will increase within your business

Flexible and hybrid teams generate just as much or even more output as employees who work on site. Using tools that enable your workforce to communicate wherever they are will also lead to increased employee productivity and employee engagement.

You will be able to retain the star players in your business

A growing body of evidence points to morale and productivity improvements when employees are given more control and ownership of their roles. A happier workforce is less likely to resign, improving employee retention. This will help you hold onto your star players and progress them through the employee lifecycle.

Your team will become more inclusive and diverse

Flexible work enables you to access a wider talent pool and attract the best people for your business. It enables you to bring in people who might not be able to afford to travel or live close by, work with people based in other countries, as well as recruit part time employees who are unable to do the traditional 9-5. Recruiting without location bias and gender bias allows you to build a more inclusive and diverse team. Unique perspectives will help your business to expand and grow.

You’ll be able to recruit more qualified candidates

Flexible working is often viewed as even more attractive than other benefits to many employees. If larger corporations within your space are unable to offer flexible working to their staff, it gives you a competitive edge when recruiting for the top talent.

It can have a positive impact on your company’s culture

In person company cultures are built on social interactions. But remote cultures can change how your employees collaborate and work together for the better. Instead of water cooler conversations and meetings over lunch, remote employees tend to have quick video calls. These interactions tend to be more frequent and more purposeful.


What are the mental health implications of flexible and hybrid working?

Many hybrid workers report a better work-life balance and improved health and wellbeing. Not commuting as much means more free time and better job satisfaction. However, as we saw during the pandemic, working from home can be lonely and make employees feel isolated. It’s therefore important for employers to offer ongoing mental health support.

Make sure it’s easy for your employees to connect with each other. You might also want to arrange relationship building team days in the office where employees can come together to work on projects. You could also organise team building days, where everyone can socialise off-site.

Digital wellbeing is also important to address as remote work can go hand in hand with more time spent online. Healthy habits such as a proper break for lunch away from the screen can make a big difference to employee wellbeing. Gather continuous feedback from your staff to make sure they are happy and you are meeting employee expectations.

Does your business need flexible and hybrid working policies and procedures?

When your team all has different working requirements, expectations and preferences, things can get complicated! So putting a specific hybrid working policy in place can help keep everyone on the same page. A hybrid policy should outline how, when and where your employees should work on a remote and in-person working schedule. Employee feedback is key to a flexible working arrangement. Your team might prefer to work in the office on the same days or you may need to address working week preferences on a person-to-person basis.

What should a hybrid work environment look like?

What we know as the traditional office space is unlikely to serve the needs of a hybrid working team. For office based working, you will probably need a more collaboration-focused space. Hybrid workplaces focus less on individual workspaces and more on a variety of meeting and break-out spaces where employees can work together. This could reduce your office rent, if you no longer require such a big space.

As for remote working, you will need to ensure your employees are set up with the right technology and hardware to stay connected and work effectively. In the UK, EU and many other regions, employers are also required to assess their employees’ workstations for any potential health and safety risks. This applies to home-based workers as well as office-based employees. Home workers should have a set-up that includes a desk, an ergonomic chair, a laptop stand, an external keyboard and an external mouse, as a minimum. This should be installed by the employer to avoid health and safety risks.


What are the tools your business needs to implement hybrid working?

Choosing the right tools to enable your employees to effectively work together no matter where they are isn’t always easy, especially when you have a business to run. Some of the things to consider when transitioning to a hybrid working arrangement are as follows:

File Sharing

Many moons ago file sharing was a complicated and expensive pain for many organisations. Pen drive and other storage devices were often used to get files from one place to another. Whilst this solved one problem it created multiple others (duplicate files, different versions floating about the environment, GDPR breaches, the list goes on). When selecting a file-sharing solution be sure that you understand fully how and with whom you want to share your files (internal segregated departments, general public, specific customers etc…) and that the solution you adopt adheres to any regulations (GDPR).



One of the biggest concerns around allowing your employees to take sensitive company data home is: ‘is it safe?’. As more of us want to use our own devices to access work documents and emails it’s imperative that this can be done safely so that company data does not fall into the wrong hands. Implementing preventative measures to secure your organisation is imperative, especially when staff are accessing company data on their own device. It’s not just potential hackers that are a threat but data leakage from within the organisation itself.


Nothing beats a corridor conversation to get the latest gossip or a face-to-face meeting to thrash through important decisions. But a meeting-in person may not always be possible with a flexible and hybrid workforce. One of the hardest things most companies faced during the lockdown was how to collaborate effectively while not being able to all be in the same room together. Poor information flow can have a negative effect on both your business and employees.

There are several collaboration tools out there that may seem like a perfect fit but it’s important to make sure they are secure and cost-effective. Ask yourself if you really need all of the features and add-ons before you commit.


Whilst in decline, the telephone is still a tool that’s at the core of any business. Sometimes customers just want to talk to a person, and that’s not a bad thing. There are numerous telephony solutions that provide flexible working for you and your workforce whether office-based or working remotely. Costs can vary and many providers want to lock you into multiple-year contracts which are nigh on impossible to get out of. Microsoft Teams Phone System can be an effective solution, allowing users to place, receive and transfer calls.

Calling in expert help and advice

Moving to a hybrid work model can have a really positive effect on your business in the long term. However, the transition can come with its challenges! This is when calling in the experts can help.

Managed IT support is a good place to start. Outside Help can provide services such as bespoke set up of your IT system, security for your IT infrastructure, data protection and backup, staff training and guidance, and they can also set up team collaboration tools. Making sure your business is properly equipped for a new way of working will not only ensure everything runs a lot more smoothly, it’s an investment in your company’s future too.

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