Best Work Model: Onsite, Remote, or Hybrid? A Post-Pandemic Guide for Employers

Many employers face uncertainty about the ideal work model to adopt: onsite, remote, or hybrid. Similarly, employees are anxious about the future of work, striving to find their preferred place in the post-pandemic landscape. This article explores the three main work models to help you determine the best fit for your business.

Understanding Work Models

A work model defines how a business operates daily and outlines the working arrangements for employees. It’s common for companies to implement different work models across various departments. For instance, a company might adopt a remote work model for its sales team while maintaining an onsite work model for its HR department.

Traditionally, the standard work model involved a five-day workweek with most employees working onsite. However, technological advancements enabled many employees to work from home even before the pandemic. In fact, a 2019 study found that 40% of US-based companies offered some form of remote work, and experts predicted that at least half of UK workers were poised to start working remotely before the pandemic struck.

3 Main Work Models

The global pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work, compelling even the most reluctant companies to embrace it. Today, businesses worldwide are navigating three primary work models:

  1. Onsite Work Model In an onsite work model, employees are required to be physically present at their designated workplace every workday. While remote work may be permitted in exceptional circumstances, such as caring for a sick child or severe weather conditions, the majority of tasks must be performed onsite. Workers are generally expected to adhere to specific hours set by their employers. However, some companies are now offering increased flexibility, including part-time work and compressed shifts.

When Is the Onsite Work Model the Right Option?

For many businesses, maintaining an onsite work model is not just a choice but a necessity. Certain industries and job functions inherently require employees to be physically present at the workplace.

  1. Healthcare: Hospitals need doctors and nurses to work onsite full-time to provide immediate patient care and handle emergencies.
  2. Construction: Construction companies rely on their laborers to be on the job site daily to manage and execute projects effectively.
  3. Manufacturing: Manufacturers need laborers and machine operators to be present on the plant floor to operate machinery and oversee production processes.

Additionally, new businesses and those in growth phases may benefit from the higher level of collaboration that an onsite work model offers. Employers should carefully evaluate their specific needs and objectives to determine which roles can be handled remotely and which require an onsite presence.

Embracing the Fully Remote Work Model: Pros and Cons for Businesses

A fully remote work model allows all employees to work from any remote location. While many companies no longer maintain a primary office, some still use a designated space for employee training and occasional meetups.

Typically, remote workers have the flexibility to work from home, local coffee shops, shared workspaces, or while traveling. However, some businesses may require remote employees to work from a specific location, like a home office.

As we navigate the post-pandemic landscape, opinions on the effectiveness of full-time remote work are divided. It’s crucial for businesses to carefully evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a fully remote work model to determine the best approach for their needs.

When is the Remote Work Model the Right Option?

According to a recent study, only 10% of employees worldwide work fully remotely. This relatively small number suggests that a full remote work model may not be ideal for most companies. However, the Randstad Employer Brand Research reveals that remote working is on the rise in 2024, with both full-time and hybrid arrangements gaining traction. The research indicates that remote work is more common among millennials (47%) and the higher educated (53%), while those with lower education levels are more likely to work on-site (42%).

For companies where the nature of the work allows for remote completion and a robust communication platform is in place, a remote work model can enhance competitiveness and readiness for a post-pandemic workplace.

Hybrid Work Model: The Best of Both Worlds

Employers don’t need to choose between a full on-site or remote work model. The hybrid work model offers a balanced approach, combining on-site and remote work.

Hybrid work models function in two main ways:

  1. Scheduled Hybrid Model: Employees work some days remotely and some days on-site. For instance, an employee might work from home two days a week and be in the office for three days.
  2. Role-Based Hybrid Model: Some employees work remotely, while others work on-site, depending on their job duties. For example, a nonprofit may have caseworkers on-site to meet clients, while financial or marketing teams work remotely.

This flexibility allows companies to tailor their work models to suit their specific needs and ensure that all roles are optimally supported.

When is the Hybrid Work Model the Right Option?

An in-depth analysis of 800 different jobs conducted by McKinsey Global revealed that 20% of the workforce could effectively work from home at least three days a week. Research by Gartner also revealed that 41% of global employers allow their employees to work remotely for at least some days. Additional research shows that 37% of respondents might contemplate resigning should they face increased office hours.

With these statistics in mind, employers must closely examine all work duties and job roles to determine which jobs can be completed remotely and which tasks they prefer workers to handle onsite.

Pros and Cons

Onsite Work Model


  1. Real-time Communication: While communication technology has made great strides in recent years, it’s still hard to replace face-to-face contact. Although 86% of professionals prefer contacting clients via email, studies show that face-to-face communication is 34 times more effective. It also allows for instant decision-making, which can improve productivity.
  2. Improved Collaboration: Even with the best virtual meeting software, collaboration can be difficult when not done in person. Studies suggest that 93% of effective communication involves non-verbal cues. These cues can be easily overlooked during virtual meetings. Additionally, having your team together at one location allows for instant brainstorming of ideas, immediate resolution of problems, and real-time approvals.
  3. Higher Level of Online Security: Onsite work models also ensure a higher level of online security. Since all employees will be using the same server, the company can control the security of all data. This factor is particularly important for businesses that store highly sensitive data, such as a health insurance company that stores confidential medical records of their clients.

Employers need to carefully weigh these factors to decide if a hybrid work model is the best choice for their organization. The right balance can enhance productivity, employee satisfaction, and overall business success

Disadvantages of Maintaining a Complete Onsite Workforce

  1. Limited Job Pool: An onsite-only work model restricts your company to hiring employees who either live nearby or are willing to relocate. While this may not be a problem for companies based in large cities, those in rural areas might find their talent pool significantly limited, hindering their ability to build a diverse workforce.
  2. Reluctant Workers: Many employees, especially those who adapted to remote work during the pandemic, are hesitant to return to a full-time onsite work model. The flexibility of remote work has allowed them to achieve a better work-life balance. In fact, a recent study found that about 40% of employees would consider changing jobs if required to work onsite full-time.
  3. Remote Work Model


    Advantages of Using a Remote Work Model Include:

    • Global Talent Pool: Embracing a remote work model allows companies to hire employees from anywhere in the world. This approach is especially beneficial for employers struggling to attract and retain qualified workers and enables companies to build a diverse workforce.
    • Improved Work-Life Balance: Some companies with a remote work model require employees to be available during specific timeframes, such as remote customer service agents who need to work certain hours. However, other employers offer greater flexibility, allowing remote workers to manage their own schedules as long as they attend scheduled meetings and maintain prompt communication. This flexibility is highly valued by workers and employers alike. According to the 2024 Randstad Workmonitor report, approximately 41% of employees desire flexible work hours, and 37% seek flexible locations. Offering these options can give employers a competitive edge in recruiting top talent.
    • No Commute Times: One of the greatest benefits of working from home is eliminating commute times, saving employees both time and money. This also benefits employers by reducing unexpected absences, tardiness, and closures due to poor weather conditions.

    Disadvantages of Remote Work Model

    Greater Security Risks Managing a remote workforce can expose your company’s online data to higher security risks. Remote employees often work from various locations, such as coffee shops and hotel rooms, which might not always offer secure network connections. Without proper security measures, your company could be vulnerable to data breaches.

    Home Distractions Remote work typically involves setting up a home office, which can be prone to interruptions. To mitigate this, companies considering a permanent remote work model should encourage and support employees in creating a dedicated workspace at home and while traveling.

    Impact on Company Culture Remote work can negatively affect company culture. Employers can address this by investing in robust communication platforms that help maintain connections with remote workers. Additionally, taking proactive steps to foster relationships and preserve company culture is essential.

Pros of a Hybrid Work Model

Embracing a hybrid work model offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Increased Productivity

A recent study revealed that 34% of employers noticed a boost in productivity when employees had the option to work from home. Remote work reduces distractions, enabling employees to focus better, while still allowing time for in-person collaboration with their teams.

  • Improved Job Satisfaction

Research indicates that employees value jobs that support a healthy work-life balance. A hybrid workplace is often seen as the ideal model, significantly enhancing job satisfaction. This satisfaction can lead to higher productivity, reduced turnover, and better workplace morale.

  • Attracting Quality Talent

A hybrid work model widens your talent pool, attracting candidates willing to commute longer distances if required only a few days a week. The flexibility of remote work can also draw top-tier talent seeking greater workplace flexibility.

Cons of the Hybrid Work Model

While the hybrid work model offers numerous benefits, it also comes with several disadvantages, including:

1. Communication Gaps

Ensuring everyone is on the same page is one of the biggest challenges of a hybrid work model. With some employees working remotely and others onsite, maintaining smooth communication can be difficult. Remote workers may start to feel isolated if they are not kept up-to-date on all work-related matters.

2. Digital Burnout

Remote work can lead to employees being available online constantly, increasing the risk of digital burnout. While this type of burnout can also occur in the office, the primary source of a remote worker’s duties is online. The high number of virtual meetings and team collaboration sessions that remote workers handle daily can quickly lead to burnout.

3. New Workplace Design

Implementing a permanent hybrid model is not an overnight process. Your team will need to reevaluate job duties and work schedules, and you may need to redesign the physical workplace. With fewer workers onsite each day, restructuring office space and developing more areas for collaboration and meetups might be necessary.

Making the Right Decision

While remote work was a necessity during the pandemic, employers now need to determine if this work model is still the most effective arrangement for their employees or if changes are needed. To assist in making the right decision, we have created a detailed infographic comparing the top three work models.