Hybrid working or working from home has become a popular trend in recent years

untitled design

Remember how before March 2020 we hardly ever used the term ‘hybrid working’? Of course, in recent years Hybrid working [a mixture of traditional office and remote working] or pure working from home has become a popular trend.  

This practice allows employees to work from anywhere, at any time, and it has several benefits for both employers and employees. However, there are some challenges that clients often talk to me about, especially for employers in the small to medium enterprises (SMEs) space.  

This month, I am going to share with you the four most common problems that employers in SMEs find with hybrid working, along with references to support these findings. 

  1. Communication challenges 

One of the most significant challenges of hybrid working is communication. In a traditional office setting, employees can easily interact with each other and share information. However, when working from home or remotely, communication can become more difficult, which can lead to misunderstandings, missed deadlines, and decreased productivity. Employers may also find it challenging to ensure that all employees are on the same page, as some may work from home while others work from the office. One client recently said to me that he is trying to come into the office once a week at least just to reconnect his relationship with everyone and get ‘out of his head’ a bit. Made sense to me! 

  1. Maintaining team cohesion 

Another challenge of hybrid working that I hear about is maintaining team cohesion. In a traditional office setting, employees can build relationships and collaborate more easily. However, when working remotely, employees may feel isolated and disconnected from their colleagues, which can affect their motivation and productivity. Employers need to find ways to ensure that their employees feel connected and part of a team, even when they are not physically present in the office.  

A great idea which I heard about recently was a remote team who come together for half an hour a month for a quick online Kahoot game. All cameras and mics are on so there’s plenty of banter and laughter. They find it a great way to build culture and connection.   

Another idea I recently heard was one team member running an online cooking demonstration with other members of the team watching. The following month, another team member leads the cooking class…. hey it’s out of the box!   

  1. Managing productivity 

Managing productivity is another challenge that employers face when implementing hybrid working. When working remotely, employees may face distractions from their home environment, which can impact their productivity. Employers may also find it difficult to monitor their employees’ work and ensure that they are meeting their targets. Additionally, employees may struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance when working from home, which can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. We’ve all heard of key stroke click technology but sometimes the most efficient way I have heard of leadership measuring productivity is via regular contact with team members, just collecting their insights and analysing key business data together.  

  1. Ensuring data security 

Finally, ensuring data security is a significant challenge that employers face when implementing hybrid working. When employees work remotely, they may use their personal devices or networks, which can increase the risk of cyber threats. Employers must ensure that their employees have access to secure systems and networks to prevent data breaches. This might be something to consider in terms of current policies in place. 

One thing is for certain, hybrid working is here to stay and I find that overwhelmingly when leaders approach it in an open minded and strategic way, it can be a great model for an inclusive, dynamic and successful business. 


  1. Adebayo, A. (2021). Hybrid working: 10 challenges and how to overcome them. Raconteur. Retrieved from https://www.raconteur.net/business-innovation/hybrid-working-challenges/ 
  1. Deloitte. (2021). Hybrid working: challenges and opportunities. Deloitte UK. Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/insights/focus/hybrid-working/hybrid-working-challenges-opportunities.html 
  1. Gartner. (2021). Addressing the top challenges of hybrid work. Gartner. Retrieved from https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/addressing-the-top-challenges-of-hybrid-work/ 
  1. McKinsey & Company. (2021). The hybrid future of work: 10 top trends for 2021. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/the-hybrid-future-of-work-ten-top-trends-for-2021 

Nick Hedges is the founder of Resolve HR, a Sydney-based HR consultancy specialising in providing workplace advice to managers and business owners. He recently published his first book, “Is Your Team Failing Or Kicking Goals – Take control of your people and their performance”. It is a practical Response to the most pressing HR challenges, which can be found at https://resolvehr.com.au/.

Disclaimer: The contents do not constitute legal advice and does not cater for individual circumstances.   The information contained herein is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

Add Comment