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What are the Key Differences Between On-Site, Remote, Work-from-Home, Remote, and Hybrid Working Models?

Meeting Culture / Effectiveness
December 15, 2022
min read
Businesses have adopted various working models, and in this article we define and explain the differences between On-Site, Remote, Work-from-Home, Remote, and Hybrid Working Models.

In today’s modern workplace, there are several words to describe various work environment models. You may have heard the terms on-site, hybrid work / flex work, remote, and work-from-home. This article defines the most commonly used terms to describe how work gets done in the modern era. Specifically, this blog will cover four concepts: 

  1. On-Site / In-Office 
  2. Remote Work / Virtual Work 
  3. Working from Home / Work-from-Home / Home-office 
  4. Hybrid Work / Hybrid Work Model / Flex Work 

First, we’re going to define each working environment. Although there isn't a one-size-fits-all business working environment model, there are differences in how employees communicate and collaborate in each environment. 

If you’re looking to find the best path forward for implementing the right working model for your business, you’ll need to measure, analyze, and create informed decisions to see what’s driving employee engagement and productivity. Thinking about implementing a new working environment policy? Check out the stories of how leading tech companies described their transition to becoming remote-first, hybrid, or return to office.

  1. Dropbox - Virtual First Toolkit
  2. Slack - A New Guide For Adapting To A Radically Different Workplace
  3. Hubspot - How We're Building A Hybrid Company
  4. Coinbase - Post Covid-19, Coinbase Will Be A Remote-First Company
  5. Herman Miller - The Future of Work: Looking Forward
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Definitions of the Various Workplace Environment Models: On-Site, Remote, Working-from-Home, and Hybrid Work 

What is the On-Site, In-Office working model? 

This is the traditional workplace where employees work from either a headquarters or satellite office. You may hear other words used to describe employees working from the office such as on-site, in-office, or in-person. 

Used in context: “Stan’s job is on-site. He’s working at the office full time.”

What is “Remote Work”? 

Remote work is nothing new. For instance, think of the traveling salesman selling “snake oil.” Working remotely means exactly what it says, working outside an office or an employee’s home. The remote work model has been around forever, but adoption accelerated during the pandemic.  And many companies had their employees work remotely / away from the office by ‘working-from-home’. So an employee could be doing work remotely in a cafe, on an island, in a van, etc.. 

Used in context: “Even before COVID, Ashley has been working remotely. She’s one of those digital nomads writing for companies as she travels the world!” 

What is the “Work-from-Home” model? 

The  “work-from-home” model was widely adopted by companies in 2020 to stay afloat, as countries started implementing lockdowns to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. This term simply means that employees were work-from-home instead of the office. Sometimes you’ll hear this type of employee as “working remotely” because they are not on-site, but the distinction is that the employee is working from the comfort of their own home. This emphasis is on the specific location, not to be confused with “remote work,” which is conducted anywhere outside the office, such as on a plane, train, bus etc. 

Used in context: “Greg has been working-from-home this past year. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a dedicated home office because I’d have distractions from home life all around me. I personally like commuting to the office and working at the office!” 

What is the “Hybrid” work model? 

The hybrid work model has also been referred to as the flexible working model, which blends in-office, remote, and work-from-home workers. Many companies have adopted a hybrid work model for various reasons, and it is not homogenous, as it can look very different from employee-to-employee or even company-by-company. Hybrid work environments incorporate all the other models previously referenced. Many companies describe the benefits of hybrid as providing the flexibility and autonomy to employees to complete their work where they are most productive. With that said, some types of teams or organizations may collaborate less effectively than if they were fully remote or in-office.

Used in context: “Melissa feels highly productive since her company implemented a hybrid work policy. She goes to the office to collaborate with colleagues 2 days/week, works remotely from a cafe one day per week for creativity, and spends the other two days working-from-home to get more focused work done.” 
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The Takeaway 

Businesses all over the world are looking to find the best work models to strengthen collaboration and drive productivity. We defined the most commonly used terms to describe these working environment models. 

If you want to identify the best working environment for your company and learn how to leverage your companies’ collaboration data to create an engaged, productive, and thriving workforce, get in touch today!

Article by
Lexie McCulloch
A marketing professional with 7+ years of content management expertise with a history of international experience working in startups and high-growth companies.
Article by
Lexie McCulloch
A marketing professional with 7+ years of content management expertise with a history of international experience working in startups and high-growth companies.

See other articles

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