Office Work vs. Remote Work vs. Hybrid: Advantages and Disadvantages for 2021

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Overview

Office Work vs. Remote Work vs. Hybrid: Advantages and Disadvantages for 2021

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Any time you approach an employment transition, it’s natural to experience a measure of unease. This is particularly true if you’re conducting a job search in 2021. The work landscape isn’t what it used to be. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you need to consider it as you plan your strategy.

The question these days isn’t just what type of job you want: it’s where and how you want to do it. For better or for worse, the pandemic has shifted the lay of the land. The question isn’t simply about office work vs. remote work. It’s now office work vs. remote work vs. hybrid. 

Here in 2021, it feels as if you have almost unlimited options. Do you want to work from home? In a brick-and-mortar office? Some combination of both? These all might be possible for you. But that doesn’t mean you should consider all options equally. 

Not every choice is suitable for every person.

As you might imagine, while the present freedom of choice can provide many joys, it can also cause stress. Because if you don’t know how to analyze your options and decide which one is uniquely right for you, you could wind up paralyzed in indecision.

And we can’t have that. 

With job search approaches changing in 2021 and beyond, it’s good to keep your eye on trends in the landscape and respond accordingly.

Keeping Your Footing Amid Changing Job-Search Trends

In the past few years, much has been written studying the work from home vs. office debate. 

Case in point, this study found that 62% of remote workers believe their teams “possess a collective energy that transcends physical separation.” In addition, 62% of remote workers said their team was collaborative, compared to only 47% of on-site workers.

view of computer on work desk at home

This dynamic feeds into a fascinating cycle. 

The Cycle

Shifting attitudes toward workstyles will further influence the current trends, which will lead to even newer trends, which will spark even more responses. 

And the cycle of change will continue. 

With attitudes and trends continually evolving at such a rapid rate in 2021 and beyond, what’s a job seeker to do?

Responding to the Cycle 

Here’s a bit of advice about how to keep your balance amid the ever-shifting sands of the current job market:

  • Decide and prioritize. Knowing that you have so many options (office work vs. remote work vs. hybrid models) can feel overwhelming. Before you even open a job search engine, make sure you know what you’re prioritizing in your search and why. If you’re looking exclusively for remote work because of specific lifestyle situations (transportation issues, conscious choices, etc.), then filtering your search through that lens first is essential. Otherwise, you’ll spend too much time wading through options that aren’t right for you.
  • Consider your strengths and weaknesses. Just because a job exists, is in your field, and is hiring doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Before deciding on a particular work situation, such as office work vs. remote work vs. hybrid, you must first evaluate how your strengths and weaknesses may factor into the equation. For example, if you’re not a self-starter, exclusive at-home work might not be suitable for you. This significantly narrows your search right from the beginning, allowing you to target better possibilities. 
  • Target companies and not just job titles. When you search merely for job titles, you miss out on prioritizing matters such as corporate culture and economic responsibility. Targeting companies rather than titles is a great way to narrow your search parameters further while simultaneously finding a place where you can thrive. 

Amid the continuing economic upheaval precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the ripple effects continue to wash over us, applying these three mental filters before you wade in will help you respond well despite the changing trends and can keep you from feeling lost in the process. 

Which Options Work for Whom?

In debates that pit office vs. remote work, sometimes what gets lost in the shuffle is that the question isn’t really about which work style is better. The question is about which work style is better for you. 

Weighing Your Work Style Options

Knowing how these work styles play out can help you envision what will work best for you and which jobs you should eliminate and/or pursue. 

  • In-person work models are good for those who thrive on structure and consistency. Having set hours, reporting to the same people every day, and establishing rhythms offer some employees the parameters they need to succeed. If inconsistency stresses you out, in-person office work is likely a good choice for you. 
  • Remote work is often favored by self-starters who feel empowered by autonomy. Being able to set their own hours and completely manage their time and workspace allows them to thrive. If you can work well without needing much direct input from others, you will most likely enjoy the benefits of remote work.
  • Hybrid work, while it can be the best of both worlds for some, can also feel distracting and disruptive for those who crave patterns and routine. 

Like it or not, it looks as if hybrid work is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. While it sounds appealing to many, it comes with its own issues. 

According to Sai Blackbyrn a career coach and CEO of Coach Foundation, pros/cons of hybrid work can include:

Pros:

  • Improved work culture and work-life balance
  • Boosted engagement between the workforce
  • Undistracted focus
  • Increased flexibility in work hours

Cons:

  • Remote employees may suffer if collaborative technologies are not in place
  • Significant planning is necessary to ensure stability

In the end, the question of in-person vs. remote work vs. hybrid isn’t about what’s right or wrong. It’s about what situation will best allow you to leverage your unique strengths, skills, and abilities. 

Check Yourself

In considering working in-person vs. remotely, you’ll need to take time to evaluate yourself. 

Self-assessment is not always easy, but Zac Houghton, CEO of Loftera, notes that it’s still worth it to put in the work before launching a job search. 

With the nature of the work model changing so dramatically, not to mention job seekers’ access to different types of work models at their fingertips, deciphering what works best for you can be a daunting task. Since it can be difficult choosing one type of work model over another, characterize the benefits of each work model before comparing different options.

office work in person

Where the Workforce Is Headed 

Here at the tail end of 2021, it’s hard to predict exactly where the workforce is headed.

According to most estimates, we’re likely to see an increase in work from home (WFH) and hybrid work opportunities.

With that in mind, employees will need to become increasingly adept at evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of WFH jobs and hybrid models alongside all their other considerations. 

In the end, it looks as if these new ways of working—including hybrid office work, WFH positions, and co-working environments—are not just an array of new and exciting one-size-fits-all options.

Instead, workers must approach them with care and nuanced attention. 

Streamline Your Job Search With Lensa

Here at Lensa, we’ve got all the latest on remote work trends.

Whether you’re looking for remote work, office work, or hybrid opportunities, you can streamline your job search with Lensa. Come check out all we have to offer!

While you’re with us, take a moment to reveal your professional strengths by playing the Lensa Workstyle Game! This fun, interactive game helps you get to the root of your strengths as a candidate, knowledge you can definitely leverage to land your dream job. 

Ruth Buchanan
Ruth Buchanan
Ruth Buchanan has spent the last decade writing for the business and corporate worlds. Blending careful research with insightful commentary, she seeks to help job seekers level up in their chosen career paths. A US-based writer, she currently works from the shadow of the Carolina foothills.

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