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One Year In: COVID Highlights the Need for Hybrid Work Models
Hybrid Work Model
In 2020, we all learned to work remotely, even for companies that prided themselves on an “office culture.” Companies sent larger monitors, docking stations, and webcams to newly carved-out home offices to help their employees be both comfortable and productive. HR departments worked to recreate camaraderie through Zoom happy hours and all-hands meetings, at first believing that the remote work would be for a month or two before settling into a longer-term situation.
Vaccines will offer a path forward to going back to the office – but it will be a while, and not all employees will be able to return at the same time. Some employees will still have children at home, while others who typically use transit to get to the office may find cash-strapped agencies slow to reinstate service. Some of our coworkers will be vaccinated later than others, and differences in vaccine rollouts between counties and states mean there will be geographical disparities as well.
According to an Accelerated Strategies Group report commissioned by CloudBees, 59% of respondents reported a software team productivity increase during the pandemic. The same report stated that nearly two-thirds of remote workers expected to continue working remotely fully or partially after the pandemic.
This is an opportunity to create a hybrid work model, where both the company and employees have the flexibility to work a combination of days in the office and remotely. In one approach, the company would specify teams or cohorts that come in on specific days of the week and are able to work from home the remaining days. The office days would be focused on collaboration and in-person meetings, while the remote days could be used to focus on tasks with very few meetings and a reduction in time spent commuting.
By alternating office days, or shifting permanently to remote work, businesses can also reduce their office space footprint and lease expenses.
COVID Drove Cloud Adoption
Some of the benefits of cloud include:
- Scaling up (or down) quickly without the capital investment of building out a new data center or overprovisioning for peak use
- Accessing specialized cloud services including machine learning and AI
- Accessing specialized hardware like GPUs on demand
- Pay as you go model
However, not all workloads are suitable for the public cloud. Some legacy systems may require too much effort to refactor. Some data-intensive use cases may be too costly to store the data in the cloud, incurring both storage fees and data transfer fees. In a hybrid cloud model, organizations combine two or more types of infrastructure: public cloud, private cloud, or on-premise infrastructure.
A hybrid cloud model allows your company to take advantage of cloud resources when it is the best fit while maintaining control over legacy and sensitive systems.
2021 and Beyond
COVID-19 might have been the catalyst for quickly adopting remote work and cloud services, but we expect hybrid models that incorporate the productivity gains and scalability of these with existing offices and infrastructure are here to stay long after we return to indoor dining, travel, and large gatherings.