The past few years has been a game changer for the whole world with the pandemic changing many aspects of our lives in terms of how we see and do things. However, one could argue that one of the biggest changes has been in the way we work.
Before the pandemic most people would work in an office or place of work, yet since the pandemic, for those who can, working from home has started to become the norm. As the pandemic and risk of infection has eased, businesses around the world have implemented “hybrid working” to find a balance and give employees flexibility. But do people enjoy this new way of working?
According to a recent survey carried out amongst workers 63% of those surveyed were happy with a hybrid working arrangement, while 26% wanted remote work only and 11% were happy with office-based work arrangements.
In the same survey, people were asked what will you do if your current employer decides to go back to being solely office-based?
Unsurprisingly, 80% of participants said that they would start looking for a new role with a guaranteed hybrid working arrangement with only 20% happy to go back to how things were before the pandemic. These figures show that employees now want flexibility more than ever and are even willing to quit their jobs if hybrid working is not offered. A couple of years ago, flexible working arrangements were optional for many companies and employees, whereas now it seems essential, with lockdown proving that it is in fact possible to work in this way and still be productive even under stress and uncertainty.
One thing that is clear is that hybrid working arrangements are going to be the norm for many organisations, and employees will increasingly seek a job that gives them the option and flexibility to either work from home or in a hybrid set up. In the same way, people are being drawn to organisations that promote autonomy, trust, and an empowering work culture – values are no longer a poster on the wall and candidates want to be part of an organisation that lives and breathes its culture. Additionally, flexibility in the workplace acts as both a retention method by keeping employees happy, but it also brings other benefits:
Happier employees and increased productivity:a flexible working environment where employees have the choice to either work from home or from the office leads to happier employees, which in turn leads to more productivity, time saving from less commuting, fewer sick days taken and better performance outcomes.
In a hybrid or remote arrangement, employees have more flexibility to get work done at the time when they are most productive, instead of having to stick to a 9 to 5 schedule, as some people work best and are more creative early in the morning, while others do better in the evening.
Saving costs:In a hybrid or fully remote arrangement, companies no longer need an office with space for full capacity, meaning they can rearrange the office set up to pay less rent, leading to cost savings.
Wider talent pool: when hiring new talent, you can hire people that are not necessary based in the same location as your company’s office – allowing you to hire people from all around the world to access different skills and perspectives, while also opening new market opportunities for your company.
Work life balance:for some people working from home has given them the opportunity for a better life quality, as they can spend more time with their families, while also having the chance to run errands or attend doctor appointments during lunch breaks. However, it is important to set boundaries in terms of working hours as the line between work and private life can become blurred causing burnout and leading to longer term health and wellbeing consequences.
Even though there are many benefits to hybrid or remote working, there are also many challenges, for employees and companies alike. Leading, motivating, trusting, and driving results remotely can be exhausting for some leaders and the lack of human connection and social interaction can be difficult to cope for many employees. To mitigate these challenges companies must invest in technology to support hybrid or remote work, as well as improving communication and investing in company culture by adjusting it to hybrid working. Moreover, continuously gathering feedback from employees is a good way to understand their needs and satisfaction to then act on it.
We are well and truly operating in a hybrid world now and those organisations that embrace this bold frontier will thrive.