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Which industries are best suited for a hybrid workforce?

By Shandel McAuliffe | |6 minute read
Which industries are best suited for a hybrid workforce?

While some futurists are predicting that everyone will eventually be working remotely, common sense tells us that many roles and work functions will require people to be onsite at their place of work. So, rather than believing that everyone will be working remotely, it is important to understand which industries are suited for hybrid workforces and which ones are not.

To distinguish the different workplace requirements, it is important to look at the work function that people will have as part of their role.

Broadly, there are two different categories of roles: computer-based office work and function-based work. Computer-based work lends itself nicely to working remotely, while the majority of function-based work will have to continue to be performed onsite.


Computer-based office work

Since the introduction of the personal computer and early server networks in the 1980s, many roles are based in an office interacting with a computer. This started initially with data entry roles and quickly transformed most businesses that were primarily paper based to computer networks.

With the increase in digital technology, Wi-Fi, and faster internet speeds in the 2000s, many roles that were performed in the office started shifting and allowing people to use a laptop to dial into the office. Over time, working in different locations became more acceptable as systems and technology enabled people to complete their tasks regardless of location, however, the office was still the main working location.

Many of the roles that are based around a computer are now well suited to hybrid or remote working. This broad category covers a range of industries, including some government functions and professional services firms.

A lot of roles in professional services and government require a large amount of computer-based work that may be transitioned to a certain amount of remote work. But, many of these roles and staff will still require some office and physical time with colleagues to continue building collaboration and innovation, and to reduce the feeling of isolation that can occur from remote work.

Function-based work

There are, however, other industries and roles that may be more challenging to perform remotely due to the nature of the work and the requirements of the position. These usually involve physical movement or interaction at a particular location.

Future technology may shift some of these industries, but for the near future they will probably not be reconfigured for hybrid work.

While some staff may enjoy function-based work that occurs in a designated location, most of the computer-based staff are wanting the flexibility that a hybrid workplace offers. It is up to the leaders of all industries to create a positive culture that enables their people to work productively, regardless of location.

Scott Stein is the author of ‘Leadership Hacks: Clever Shortcuts to Boost Your Impact and Results’.


Hybrid working

In a hybrid work environment, individuals are allowed to work from a different location occasionally but are still required to come into the office at least once a week. With the phrase "hybrid workplace," which denotes an office that may accommodate interactions between in-person and remote workers, "hybrid work" can also refer to a physical location.

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel has recently returned to Australia after working in the UK for eight years. Shandel's experience in the UK included over three years at the CIPD in their marketing, marcomms and events teams, followed by two plus years with The Adecco Group UK&I in marketing, PR, internal comms and project management. Cementing Shandel's experience in the HR industry, she was the head of content for Cezanne HR, a full-lifecycle HR software solution, for the two years prior to her return to Australia.

Shandel has previous experience as a copy writer, proofreader and copy editor, and a keen interest in HR, leadership and psychology. She's excited to be at the helm of HR Leader as its editor, bringing new and innovative ideas to the publication's audience, drawing on her time overseas and learning from experts closer to home in Australia.

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