Remote vs in Office vs Hybrid Work Model, What Is the Challenge?

Hybrid Work Model - AYP Blog
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Hybrid work model or back-to-office working has been gathering numerous headlines recently. Back in 2021 and 2022, remote working received overwhelming support from company leaders and CEOs, improving work productivity, enabling a happier workforce, and letting employees achieve a healthier work-life balance.

Meta spokesperson Tracy Clayton shared last year that the company believes "How people work is far more important than where they work from".

Surprisingly, hiring managers from Meta have recently reduced their social media posts on new jobs that emphasize remote or work from anywhere job opportunities.

Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, shared a company memo emphasizing the "in-person collaboration" and supports that face-to-face interaction improves creativity and innovation, in contrast with many other tech companies embracing remote work in the long term 1.

However, a new petition from Apple's employees was soon raised to argue that the policy doesn't consider each employee's unique job demands and diversity 2.

As the HR manager of the company, you might be busy drafting a back-to-work policy at the moment or accommodating your employee's requests or reluctant responses. Your top priority for this month could be finding a balance between employee feedback and meeting the company's direction.

We have some findings about remote and in-office challenges regarding productivity and efficiency, collaboration and goal-setting sharing, work-life boundaries and issues, and possible solutions to create a scalable distributed workforce for each of your potential challenges.

1. Productivity and efficiency

Gitlab, a leading software developer company, has conducted a survey with nearly 4,000 remote professionals working across 6 continents to find out the impact of remote work on employees' productivity. The findings revealed that 42% of employees reported increased productivity and 38% increased efficiency 3.

Even though working from home has proven to benefit employers in several aspects, such as employees taking shorter lunch breaks, extra working hours replacing commuting time, and reducing absenteeism and turnover rates, remote work isn't completely perfect.

For instance, although remote workers from the Gitlab survey agreed that most work processes are well documented, 76% felt that there is room for improvement, 61% felt that their teams are working separately due to using different tools, 70% often ping their colleagues for information due to lack of information and guidance, and 48% shared that they spent longer time to search for information.

Problems encountered by remote teams - Survey - Hybrid Work Model - AYP Blog

2. Successful collaboration

As a leading distributed company hiring candidates from different geographical locations, AYP understands how challenging employers will experience when the company intends to align all employees working remotely from separate locations to access similar collaboration tools and work towards the same goal while residing across different locations. Check out the communication and collaboration tools that we are using.

Besides that, companies in complete remote or hybrid work models will need to set clear goals while empowering employees to succeed. In AYP, we implement the OKR setting, where objectives are set by the reporting managers, but employees will take ownership to come up with the key results they want to achieve and individual 13th-week plans on how to meet their individual objectives.

Productivity focuses and relies on the correct direction and common goals to measure efficiency. All OKRs in AYP are easily accessible and transparent; even the top management will share their OKR plans openly.

Employee empowerment - Jolin Nguyen - Hybrid Work Model - AYP Blog

Centralized management and reporting:

Whether your company is going completely remote, adopting the hybrid work model, or resuming back to the office entirely, consider engaging an EOR solution provider where your employee data, payroll, and compliance-related information can be centralized, integrated, and analyzed into more data-driven findings.

Employees who reported a high rating of onboarding experience are more likely to feel included and assimilated into the company's culture leading to better retention rates in the long term.

However, managing remote or hybrid employees' onboarding and offboarding processes can be challenging. An EOR can help you handle these tasks efficiently, ensuring that all onboarding materials, cross-country employment contracts, and compliance-related procedures are well taken care of.

3. Work-life boundaries and work life balance

Numerous studies have supported that remote workers are happier and enjoy a greater work-life balance, from the autonomy to work from anywhere to utilizing commuting time to contribute more productive work hours. This is especially true for working mothers who have suffered from society's discrimination and lower job acceptance rate compared with a father applicant.

CNBC found similar findings with in-person workers generally scored lower in job satisfaction and happiness. However, there is one unique trend: in-person workers scored higher when rating their job meaningfulness to them 4.

Besides looking at the benefits of remote working experience to employees, HR managers will need to improve team members' work-life boundaries and enhance collaboration among remote team members if going remote is the permanent direction of the company.

From Gitlab's research with remote professionals, 42% have challenges creating healthy boundaries between work and personal life, 37% felt disconnected from their peers, 34% worried about their ability to collaborate with the team well, and 30% have a lower sense of belonging towards the company.

What should HR Managers take note of the challenges?

IT research firm Enterprise Strategy Group asked 200 US-based IT leaders and found out that the great resignation had a 94% effect on the tech team. 65% of IT employees are burned out with the urgency to support remote workforce demand when companies are joining the remote trend 5, and have significantly increased their challenge in operation support along with talent shortage challenge contributed from the great resignation.

Remote Team Issues - Survey - Hybrid Work Model - AYP Blog

Likewise, according to the latest research from Buffer, with more than 3,000 remote workers from around the world 6 and nearly half of the respondents working from the software or IT industry found that 44% are working more this year, and 20% are burning out.

The greatest challenge for remote workers was setting life boundaries and being unable to unplug themselves from remote work; 81% of the remote employees check emails outside of working hours, 63% work on weekends, and 34% work even on vacations.

The challenge intensifies with the accelerating development of IoT (Internet of Things); malicious hackers target softer targets 7 like companies in the distributed workforce with scattered and more vulnerable routers, such as home routers, which are easily targeted and exploited.

Strengthening your international employee relations with EOR:

Although remote work has always been a preference for most employees, we can see that it is not utterly perfect without drawbacks. As an HR manager of the company, how can you improve employee relations in HR policies and procedures in helping the company to go hybrid or completely remote?

An EOR can provide HR support and guidance to on-site and remote employees. EOR is the HR expert in all in-country HR-related inquiries, benefits, and compensations. EOR offers assistance in employee relations issues to ensure that your back-to-office or remote policies comply well with the country's employment regulations.

Secondly, Tech Geek, like IT support, is the vulnerable group that suffers significantly from remote work burnout. Having a payroll using a cloud system eliminates server maintenance and other IT-related concerns, helping your IT department to concentrate on the core business growth and issues.

An EOR like AYP will take care of all your payroll processing, including multi-currency payments to employees across the world, whether on-site or remote, to ensure your distributed workforce receives their salaries accurately and on time according to the real-time currency rate. Here is a checklist to evaluate your current payroll system.

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4. Remote vs In-office case study: Save costs vs career opportunities

IBM is another leading example that advocated remote work previously; the company achieved cost savings of up to $ 50 million in real estate costs with more than 58 million square feet of office space shed off due to going for remote work and reducing leasing expenses drastically 8.

However, in a recent interview with the Economic Times, IBM CEO Krishna shared that remote employees might have difficulty moving up in their respective careers and limiting their career opportunities, especially for managerial roles involving leading people 9.

According to global workplace analytics, one workstation per annual can cost as much as $18,000. Assuming that an SME with 100 employees with each taking 10 vacation days per year with 242 possible working days, the potential yearly wasted capital on a workstation can cost up to $74,380 for an SME.

EOR Cost Savings - Infographic - Hybrid Work Model - AYP Blog

HR managers may propose rotating hybrid work schedules or sourcing for co-working space for companies that intend to save costs going into a hybrid work model while considering the human connection and enhancing the working collaboration culture aspect.

Alternatively, partnering with an employer of record (EOR) is a perfect choice to help you to optimize your cost whether you are setting up a full on-site, hybrid or remote office when hiring international employees.

5. Distributed workforce requires scalability: Whether going remote, hybrid or fully on-site

We have gone through both the positive and negative impacts that remote and office work could bring. A scalable distributed workforce enables businesses to scale their operations, allocate resources flexibly, and boost productivity, all while maintaining effective performance monitoring and communication.

We have successfully helped our clients to save costs by 18% and improve the company's efficiency by 30%:

  1. EOR helps to provide a scalable solution for companies to manage in-office, hybrid, and remote workforces without being mired in complex administrative duties.
  2. Whether hybrid or remote, EOR can adapt to your staffing changing needs by scaling up or down, hiring new country employees, or transitioning existing employees into different work arrangements.
  3. Labor disputes, worker misclassification, and misreporting to the Labor office or tax authority can cause massive penalties to the company. An EOR will share your total legal liabilities to prevent these, ensuring your distributed workforce is legally protected.
  4. When hiring from different locations, we ensure you will always comply with local employment regulations such as tax withholding, legal contracts, and local benefit administration.

Share whether you consider a hybrid work model, on-site, or remote company when expanding globally. Talk to our experts, and let us help you grow further with our customized solution.


  1. Here's a list of major companies requiring employees to return to the office
  2. Apple workers hit back against the company's return-to-office plans, saying they have carried out 'exceptional work' from home
  3. The remote work report by GitLab: The future of work is remote
  4. Where the mindset of office, hybrid and remote workers is diverging
  5. IT workers face greater stress from remote issues
  6. State Of Remote Work 2023
  7. Remote workers are still more vulnerable to hackers than they should be. Here's what to do
  8. How Remote Work Can Increase Business Profits
  9. IBM CEO Arvind Krishna warns employees, says return to office or lose career opportunities
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