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Ever since working from home is no longer mandatory, many companies expect their people back in the workplace. However, they are struggling to convince their employees to trade the comfort of their home office for the actual office. Let’s face it: why would anyone ever want to give up the luxury of working with their sweatpants and slippers on? At the other end of the spectrum, some employers choose to have their people work full-time from home nowadays. After all, they've found during the lockdown that working remotely doesn't have a negative impact on productivity - quite the opposite. So why bother renting an office space at all?

The secret third option: hybrid working

Before covid struck, at Teamleader, working in the office was the general rule. Working from home was more of a favor, an exception. At the same time, the system with a clear emphasis on office work was also not really questioned, either by management or by the people themselves. It was only in times of mandatory home working that we started to reevaluate this system. Supported also by the feedback from our people, we soon came to the conclusion that both workplaces have their own advantages.

Working in the office, on the one hand, is more likely to keep team spirit high and create a sense of belonging (don't underestimate the power of a short, informal conversation with a colleague at the coffee machine or during lunch). Office time helps build deeper, more collaborative relationships with colleagues. We also see that brainstorming and team sessions work better face to face: they are generally more productive and energizing. Furthermore, it is more fun for newbies to meet colleagues in real life, which is why we organize their first onboarding week at the office. Finally, we see that our people just love coming to the office because it’s simply a very nice place to work from: we have superb coffee, all kinds of (seated and standing) desks, fully equipped meeting rooms, surprise snacks, free lunch and after-work drinks on Fridays, you name it...

Working from home, on the other hand, offers more flexibility and peace of mind for the worker. No more time-consuming commute to work, for one thing. Next to that, working from home allows people to organize the day in a way that better supports their private life. Just think of doing a load of laundry, keeping an eye on a sick child who cannot attend school, receiving a home delivered parcel…

During covid, we were able to see that our people can do most of their work perfectly well from their homes. Of course, if they have the necessary equipment to go with it. That's why all Teamleader employees can make use of a personal perks budget to purchase anything they need for their ideal home office set-up: think of an ergonomic desk chair, a second screen, WiFi enhancers, etc.

Now that covid is (pretty much) behind us, we’ve decided there’s no longer any reason to maintain this sharp divide between remote and office work. Why prioritize one over the other when it’s clear they each offer their own benefits?

Enter: the hybrid working model, a perfect mix of office work and homeworking.

A Sophie's choice after all?

Long story short: at Teamleader, people choose what works best for them. In consultation with their manager and team, they can work from home and in the office. A real best of both worlds.

Or is it? Perhaps there is no dilemma more heartbreaking than having to choose between working from home or in the office each and every day?

We asked two colleagues, conveniently both named Sophie, how they felt about Teamleader’s new hybrid working model.

On average, how many days a week do you work in the office and how many from home?

Sophie Soete: 2 days from home, 3 from the office, but it strongly varies week by week.

Sophie Decloux: Around 2 or 3 days a week, so 2 or 3 from home.

Are you free to decide on that home/office ratio?

Sophie Soete: I agreed with my manager that it would be somewhat half office, half remote. but I’m completely free to decide how I fill that in week by week. I also quite often come half days to the office now and only arrive by lunch time.

Sophie Decloux: Yes, although a minimum of days at the office per week has been advised to keep up the team spirit. Which is quite important

What did that ratio look like pre-covid?

Sophie Soete: I didn’t work at Teamleader pre-covid. In other companies, I worked 4 days in the office and 1 from home.

Sophie Decloux: Around 1 day from home every 2 weeks.

Would you be able to go back to how it used to be? Yes / no, and why?

Sophie Soete: NOOOOO, offices are great for meetings and brainstorms, working together with people and meeting colleagues over lunch. But for deep work where I have to concentrate and think. I’m much much more productive at home where there’s no distractions. It’s also nice to have to commute less.

Sophie Decloux: No, I really appreciate this flexibility. It allows me to work from different places as well, which is a plus. I even co-work at a friend's house sometimes, which in the past would probably have been more up for debate.

What do you think of the hybrid working model at Teamleader?

Sophie Soete: Great, some companies have gone back to 100% office work, but I think that’s very old-school. It’s so much easier to have a good work-life balance with some flexibility. I like that my employer trusts me to work from anywhere and scores me on performance instead of office attendance.

Sophie Decloux: I love it! It allows me more freedom while being able to work.

How does collaboration work for you in this hybrid setting?

Sophie Soete: For me personally, brainstorms and work sessions work better in person. So for those I consciously try to arrange meetings face to face at the office. Status update meetings and meetings to discuss next steps and practical things work perfectly fine remotely. Getting to know people better from different departments and listening to their perspective is also crucial for collaboration - for this I really like walking/lunch/coffee meetings where you’re in a more informal setting. This way, you can take your time to really understand different viewpoints and challenges. With less people in the office and less impromptu conversations around the coffee machine, I always reserve some time in my agenda to connect with people.

Sophie Decloux: It works really well. I ask my colleagues when they are at the office and we try to be there together. For a one-on-one with my manager, we try to meet in person as well. As always, communication is the most important to make things go smoothly.

If you had to choose between working entirely from home or entirely in the office, which would you prefer and why?

Sophie Soete: Entirely at home. I started working at Teamleader when covid started and had to get to know people remotely. It wasn’t a problem thanks to the Teamleader culture. People were very open and nice and I managed to bond with the team and company remotely as well. Doing 100% of work at the office has too many disadvantages when it comes to concentration, commute & flexibility to organize your life the way you want.

Sophie Decloux: I would say entirely from the office because there are nice colleagues and a salad buffet!

The future is hybrid

As evidenced by our conversations with both Sophies, our people experience the switch to the hybrid work model as an upgrade to their (work) lives. Being able to choose where they set up their workstation each day is a luxury they wouldn't give up easily.

Our only goal as an employer: making work both in the office and at home as pleasant and efficient as possible. We don’t want our employees to have a preference for one or the other workplace, precisely because we believe that the strength of hybrid working is in the combination of the two.

In the end, it’s all about good communication. What a good home/office ratio is will always depend on one’s role in the company. Which is why we leave it to the different teams and managers to discuss and decide on a good balance and to coordinate schedules.

Trust us: it works.

Come work for a company:

  • Which gives you a budget for your ideal home office set-up
  • Which offers a vibrant office atmosphere with like-minded colleagues
  • In short: where people like working in the office as much as at home

Join us. You know you want to. Explore our vacancies here.