As the world becomes increasingly digitized, more and more companies are transitioning to hybrid work models. This means that employees are no longer working exclusively from the office but are instead allowed to work from home some of the time.
Israeli high-tech companies have been among the earliest adopters of this trend, and many are now reaping the benefits. In fact, 26 percent of Israeli high-tech companies reported a marked improvement in productivity when switching to hybrid models. However, this doesn’t paint the full picture.
As with anything in life, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and there are some considerations that employers must take into account before they transition to a hybrid working schedule, as it may not yield the best results for some company structures.
What is a hybrid work model?
A hybrid work model combines both remote and in-person work. This can involve working from home some days and coming into the office on others, or it could mean working from home part-time. The key is that there is a mix of both remote and in-person work, and employees have the flexibility to choose what suits them best on any given day.
Of course, COVID-19 played a major role in the resurgence of the hybrid work model. With so many people stuck inside their homes, unable to venture into the office, companies quickly switched to fully remote arrangements to maintain at least some level of productivity amid the disruptions.
As things returned to “normal,” employers were keen to get workers back into the office, but a large percentage of the workforce did not share the same sentiment. As a result, hybrid working became somewhat of a compromise aimed at striking a healthy balance between flexibility and time spent on-site.
The pros of a hybrid work model in the Israeli high-tech sector
In a hybrid working arrangement, employers may save money by downsizing their office space since fewer people will be present at any one time. This is especially useful for Tel Aviv businesses, where a shortage of commercial real estate space and sky-high demand have sharply increased rental costs. A hybrid approach can also help small technology startups get off the ground without requiring the capital to splash out on a full-time office from day one.
Foster employee productivity
A study conducted by the Harvard Business School found that employees who worked from home were more productive (4.4%) than those who didn’t. The study attributes this to the fact that employees who work from home have more control over their environment and can design it to promote concentration and focus.
Promote a better work-life balance
A hybrid work model can promote a better work-life balance for employees since they can have more flexibility with their time. For example, they can choose to come into the office on days when they need to be more productive and take care of personal errands or appointments on days when they don’t need to be in the office. Generally, it’s safe to assume that a happier workforce is a healthier (and more productive) workforce.
Attract top talent
If companies want to attract top talent, they need to be prepared to offer flexibility. To highlight this point, an IWG study found that 72% of employees prefer a hybrid working model over a 10% pay rise, and 66% would not apply for a new job unless it offered hybrid working.
As for Israel specifically, it’s no secret that Tel Aviv is the country’s tech, financial and startup hub. However, hiring talent from this area alone can be challenging since competition is stiff and the salary demands are high. In light of this, opting for a hybrid model allows employers to recruit more workers from the periphery, which can help overcome these issues.
The potential drawbacks of hybrid work models
To start with, if hybrid work arrangements are not adequately implemented, they can result in decreased productivity as employees struggle to juggle their new workloads from home.
Furthermore, according to the same study linked earlier, 34% of Israeli employers stated that the transition to a hybrid work structure hindered the company’s productivity, while 40% reported no change. While this could be attributable to poor execution, it raises questions about the model’s effectiveness as a whole.
Additionally, there is always the risk that remote employees (even if they are hybrid) will feel disconnected from the company culture and miss out on important updates and communication. This is why it’s critical for companies to have a remote work policy in place that outlines how employees can stay connected when they’re not in the office.
Finally, some people argue that a hybrid work model is not ideal for all types of jobs. For example, it may not be suitable for jobs that require close interaction with coworkers or that involve tasks that are difficult to do from home.
Is Israeli hi-tech ready to fully transition to the hybrid work models?
There are pros and cons to transitioning to a hybrid work model. Ultimately, it is up to each company to decide what is best for them. Some companies may find a hybrid work model to be the perfect solution, while others may prefer to stick with an entirely remote or on-site workforce. With that said, given the preference that talent has shown towards flexible working arrangements, it’s likely that companies will have to find a way to adopt some sort of hybrid model if they want to stay competitive in the Israeli recruiting market.