Hybrid Work Model vs. Remote Work: What's Better For You?

Working Remotely

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What’s the difference between hybrid vs remote work models? 

If you’re on a remote job search, you’ve probably seen listings using these two similar yet very different descriptions. 

So what do they mean? And does this distinguishment even matter?

Technically, both models allow employees to work from home (WFH). But subtle nuances exist when it comes to schedules, deadlines, coworker dynamics, and even promotions. 

So that’s why we’ll be discussing hybrid vs remote work styles in this guide.

Once you know all the ins and outs, you’ll be able to decide which model is right for you. Then you can narrow down your remote job search to find companies that hit everything on your wishlist.

So let’s start with a basic definition of each work style before we hash out the pros and cons.

Hybrid vs Remote Work Style: Here’s What You Need to Know

Here’s the main difference between hybrid vs remote work models:

A hybrid company allows some employees to work remotely while others work on-site at the office.

As we discussed in our guide on a Hybrid WFH Work Model, employees do not get to flip-flop between working from home some days and working in the office during others.

Instead, the company decides which employees get to work remotely and which need to be on-prem. For example, employees in sales or IT may be allowed to work from home. However, those in marketing and customer service may still need to commute to the office.

A remote company only has employees who work remotely

All employees follow a work-from-home model where they work off-site without a centralized main office or headquarters. A fully remote company often has employees working all over the world and collaborating across different time zones.

So the question becomes: Is it better to work for a hybrid company or a fully remote one?

What It’s Really Like Working for a Hybrid WFH Company

Let’s say you want to work at a hybrid WFH company, and your position has the green light to work remotely. You’ll score all the benefits remote work brings, but you’ll also have to:

Prepare for team dynamic shifts. When some team members work in the office, there’s an automatic divide between them and those who work remotely.

People who see each other every day tend to form closer bonds and build camaraderie quicker simply because they’re physically together for several hours a day, five days a week.

Your in-house coworkers may share inside jokes, go to happy hours together, or hear things before you do.
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So when you’re working remotely, you may feel like you’re out of the loop, or on the outside looking in. And besides feeling isolated, this can also conjure up feelings of FOMO (i.e., the fear of missing out).

You may feel pressured to stay connected via Slack or email 24/7, just so you can join in on the conversation and stay in the loop.

Work a similar, less flexible schedule. Working at a hybrid company will likely mean you’ll need to work the same hours, if not similar hours, to what your in-house coworkers do.

You may be expected to “show up” to work remotely at the same time your coworkers clock in, so there’s an overlap in everyone’s schedule. You may have to be available during these set hours for video conferencing, brainstorming sessions, etc., without much notice.

You may even find that deadlines only fall within these working hours, despite the fact that you’re working remotely and off-site.

Stick to synchronous communication. Many hybrid companies still prefer using a synchronous communication style, which requires you to respond to messages right away and at a moment’s notice throughout the day. 

This usually ensures that work gets done during office hours. However, being “on call” like this may also interrupt your deep work time.

Work harder to get noticed for a promotion. A hybrid work model may pose a challenge when you want to advance in your career.

Since remote workers aren’t “seen” as often as on-premise employees, you may find it difficult to get noticed for a promotion or gain recognition from your team leaders and bosses.

You may notice in-house employees getting more “face time” with your superiors simply because they’re there. And when an opportunity comes up, they may scoop it before you even hear about it.

So now let’s compare life as an employee at a fully remote company.

What It’s Like Working for a Remote Company

When every employee works remotely, you can expect:

More flexible schedules. While there may be some overlapping work hours, remote employees usually have the freedom to create a personal work from home schedule.

As long as employees meet their deadlines, they can work mornings, split shifts, or at night. This also means employees working across different time zones can maintain their local work hours and holidays.

Across the board asynchronous communication. Instead of expecting immediate responses, an asynchronous style of communication reigns supreme for remote teams.

With this, employees send each other messages, but they’re not expected to respond right away. Team members must provide a higher level of detail in their messages, so their coworkers can get started on the request without further back-and-forths.

This means you can continue to work during your perfect productivity zone without interruptions. And when you need a break, you can check your messages and answer when you have more time and information to contribute.

As a result, teams waste less time and become more productive, which is a huge benefit. 

Check out these asynchronous communication examples, tools, and workflows to see what this looks like next!
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Virtual watercooler banter. When all employees work remotely, you’ll never experience the FOMO that may come with hybrid work.

Conversations with remote team members move to the virtual watercooler, typically taking place in messaging tools like Slack, Skype, or G-Chat. They’re visible to everyone in the company and help build camaraderie despite your physical distance and time differences.

Leaders make the extra effort to establish this collaborative rapport with remote team-building activities too.

Equal opportunity for advancement. With everyone on the same playing field (i.e., working remotely), you should have just as much of a chance for a promotion as your coworkers at a 100% remote company.

You won’t have to compete with in-house team members who are physically closer to managers and more visible. Just keep doing your best, let your superiors know you’re interested in taking on more, and prove you can handle it.

(Psst! Learn more about how to get a job promotion in a remote company when you’re done here.)

Now that you understand the basics, you’ll have to decide:

Hybrid Work Model vs. Remote Work: What's Better For You?

If you want to work remotely, you may not care whether you work for a hybrid company or a fully remote one. But as you’ve seen here, there are definitely key differences between the two you’ll need to consider.

You may find that the hybrid WFH model doesn’t give you all the perks of working remotely, and that it limits you in some areas. On the other hand, working for a fully remote company provides more freedom, flexibility, and social opportunities.

So in the end, the choice is totally up to you. Think about all sides of the equation, and weigh what matters most. 

When you’re ready, check out the We Work Remotely job board to find your next dream remote role!

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