Remote Work After a Vaccine: The Dawn of the Hybrid Office 

Since approximately March of 2020, rolling closures of corporate offices around the world meant that employees had to figure out how to work from home effectively (and consistently). While some missed the energy and culture that comes with office life, most adjusted quickly and realized they were just as (if not more) productive from the comfort of home.

In fact, with multiple vaccines now being administered across the US and a return to normalcy on the horizon, many are wondering if they’ll have to go “back to work” at all.

A Stanford survey conducted in May of 2020 showed that 55% of US workers are eager to combine work from home with work from the office. In the UK, employers expect the number of regular home workers to double, from 18% pre-pandemic to 37% post-pandemic. In China, employment expert Alicia Tung has predicted that in 10 years’ time, there will be a 60/40 split between onsite and remote work.

For now, companies are navigating uncharted waters. Some have given employees permission to continue working remotely until mid-2021. Others have brought staff back to the workplace on different schedules and in staggered groups (like what many schools are doing). Still others are leaving it entirely up to individual workers to decide from where to work. Let’s discuss what remote work after a vaccine will look like and how hybrid work environments will shape the future of corporate work as we know it.

What Is a Hybrid Working Environment, Anyway?

Much like a hybrid vehicle that operates on both fuel and electricity, a hybrid work model operates on greater freedom around work hours and location. It marries structure and sociability with independence and flexibility. And for many people, it’s ideal.

As mentioned, some companies are figuring out the nuances of how a hybrid model will work over the coming year(s). There will likely be a reduction in the number of desks in exchange for a staggered model by which employees “desk share” (also known as “hot desking”). They sign up for days and times that suit them and/or their meeting schedules.

Office days may be limited to key project kickoffs and essential team-building exercises and offset by work-from-home days when individuals can focus on more “heads down” work. Many organizations have even realized that employees are able to work more effectively from home because there are fewer distractions (e.g., coffee talk, lunch with colleagues, brainstorm sessions).

Businesses today are getting creative with their hybrid rollouts. For instance, a global provider of digital workplace services with offices in the US and abroad has introduced a working model that combines three weeks of working from anywhere with one week of office-based work. Other progressive companies have explored memberships with shared workspaces that extend meeting room space and temporary desks to employees who largely work from home but occasionally require an alternative.

That said, physical office space will not fall by the wayside, but it will likely downsize given the reduction in regular on-premises headcounts. Those with expertise in remote work are agreeing that 2 days from home and 3 days from the office will enable a balanced work life, sparing folks from the daily commute they’ve enjoyed avoiding. According to a recent survey of Google employees, 62% want to return to their offices at some point, but not every day. For this reason, the company is working on hybrid models for future work.

What Are the Benefits of a Hybrid Working Environment?

For employees, a hybrid work model supports a better work-life balance. There is less time wasted on long commutes and/or money thrown at expensive parking. Coffee is made at home, lunches are often leftovers, and there is far greater flexibility around sleep and exercise schedules because, let’s face it, not everyone conforms to a 9-5 schedule, and many are more productive outside of usual business hours. A hybrid workplace prioritizes the employee and can help ease re-entry anxiety for those who have been avoiding restaurants, public transit and even grocery shopping for many months.

For businesses, there are enormous savings to be had. A hybrid model greatly lessens the cost of overhead each month. Companies can reduce their physical footprint and save thousands on rent. Combine that with the spend associated with providing daily lunch, snacks for the office, coffee and even commodities like paper, pens, and notebooks. It all adds up!

Finally, with physical constraints stripped away, organizations may also tap into a much larger talent pool. They have access to experts in other regions, or even in other countries, if the laws allow that, with different salary requirements. One example of this is a technology hotbed like San Francisco. Salary requirements are much higher than in other parts of the country. Remote hires can offset extremely high wages mandated across Silicon Valley.

How Do You Transition to a Hybrid Model?

Long before the pandemic hit, many organizations adhered to business hours to support global partners (and time zones) and key communication tools. Instant message services like Slack and online collaboration tools like Google Workspace make it simpler to connect with folks in other offices. A centralized repository of key information connects employees to their work and colleagues, generally by way of an intranet.

That said, life is still different enough now that there are a few key things to keep in mind when planning your transition.

Most importantly, communicate, communicate, communicate. Then, communicate again.

Finally, be sure to think through key productivity pillars like:

It’s likely that you’ve been navigating this for more than nine months, but now is the time to nail down how it’s all going to work moving forward.

How Can Parallels RAS Help You Transition Easily to a Hybrid Workspace?

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) is designed to support distributed teams and hybrid work arrangements and has been doing so long before the world required it. The key to success is enabling employee access to published applications from both work and home by facilitating seamless collaboration among colleagues, regardless of location or device. Parallels RAS is that key.

After reading this, you may be confident that your workplace is close to being able to function effectively as a hybrid but isn’t 100% ready to support remote work just yet. With Parallels RAS in place, you can enable employees to work from anywhere on devices of their choice, including smartphones. Security concerns can be put largely to rest with centralized and monitored data.

When you consider that Parallels RAS is a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution that enables the delivery of critical applications and desktops to any device, you may realize that going hybrid is easier to achieve than you first thought.


Virtual workspace technologies are proven to:

If you’d like to discover how Parallels RAS can set your organization up for a successful hybrid working environment, watch our live demo.