While many businesses have returned to the office, it is clear that we are not returning to the workplace we left. The demand for remote options is here to stay and naturally, many businesses have turned to hybrid work arrangements offer a means connecting employees with remote benefits.
Full time employees are already working in hybrid models and the data shows that this will continue. Data shows that hybrid teams can build stronger organizational performance through higher employee engagement and decreased turnover.
However, the departure from traditional in-office 9-to-5 working hours demand significant shifts in company culture and values to accommodates for individual human concerns.
The Demand for Hybrid Work Arrangements
The shift to hybrid models is informed by the sudden demand for remote work prompted by the 2020 Pandemic.
According to HBR, 74% Fuijistsu employees responded to an internal survey prior to the pandemic saying that they preferred in office models. But, according to a follow-up survey, by May only 15% considered the office the best place to work with 30% expressing a preference for working from home while 50% favored a mix of home and office.
These hybrid models offer new means of maintaining work life balance, as employees find that work allows for greater flexibility when dealing with sudden needs at home while affording the tools to complete tasks as needed away from the office.
Then, suddenly, the pandemic forced the vast majority of remote-capable employees to operate from remotely in some way As many as 70% worked exclusively from home in May of 2020.
In a report by McKinsey, 87% of employees would take the chance to work more flexibly if their employers offered it. Although, this does not necessarily mean that employees prefer remote work but rather that they are looking for flexibility.
The benefits of hybrid models can also been seen in the variety of operational cost saving opportunities they provide. Workers desire more flexibility if they were to return to full-time employment, 57% of them would consider leaving their current workplace (Fortune).
Additionally, as sustainability is still a top priority, the hybrid workplace sees decreased need for commuting and business travel, together with a reduction in energy used to heat office spaces, will support a more sustainable future.
What is a hybrid work model?
Stated simply, a hybrid work model features a combination of in office days and at home days as part of standard operation. This is in contrast to the traditional 9-to-5 in-office models. While it is easy to define hybrid model as days per week in the office versus days out, the reality can be more complex and may extend to individual in-person meeting times or a realignment of the 40-hour working week.
For decades, employees have had little say in their arrangement as in-office methods predominated the market. While hybrid models are becoming more common, they are not new.
According to Gallup, approximately 32% of the US workforce (around 60 million people) were working in some form of a hybrid work model in 2019. Post-pandemic, that figure rose to 53%.
Employer Strategy for Hybrid Projects and Workflow
The success of a Hybrid model depends on more than just the technology that enables remote work. It is easy to focus on expansion of work options that multiple remote devices and networks create, but these do not guarantee solid work processes. Creating a successful working model requires an alignment of employer and employee preferences with company values.
A natural starting place is for managers to define how interdependently their team can operate. Employer concerns about productivity are valid most valid when workflows and processes are undefined. To keep everything going smoothly, these teams need some air traffic control and more face to face interaction.
Employees must have abundant clarity when they are expected to be on-site together, when they must be available to their teammates remotely, and how handoffs will be handled. Independent tasks require less real-time interaction and enable teams to work more flexibly on asynchronous schedules where people work at different times.
The more interdependent tasks or processes are, the more clarity is required on how project will be managed between in-office or remote days. 95% of knowledge workers want to return to the office for activities such as team building, collaboration, and connection to peers
As was the case decades ago when businesses started automating work processes, new hybrid arrangements shouldn’t ever repeat undesirable behaviors that already exist.
- Are team tasks redundant
- Can Tasks be automated an
- Can we reimagine the purpose of our workspace
Research shows that perceived inequality in work can lower retention, raise burnout, limit collaboration, and harm productivity. It remains vitally important that employees feel their work is meaningful and structured in a way that is transparent and fair.
Employee Preference for Hybrid Work Arrangement by the Numbers
While hybrid models are here to stay, there will likely continue to be tension between employers and employees on whether this model should be adopted at large. 44% of U.S. employees prefer a hybrid work model, compared to 51% of employers (Zippia)
It can be challenging employers to know if hybrid work arrangements are appropriate for their business. Since full time employees have been working in hybrid arrangements, we can get a picture of employer concerns, employee preferences, and how these impact productivity
There are significant new costs associated with enabling hybrid or remote work. However, it also seems clear that hybrid work arrangements attract stronger, more diverse talent who contribute to substantial growth.
- The majority of CEOs report that remote work has significantly increased individual productivity as well as diversity and inclusion (McKinsey).
- 53% of large organizations plan to reduce their office footprint, which reduces cost (Dimensional Research).
- 74% of U.S. companies are using or plan to implement a permanent hybrid work model (Zippia).
- According to an April 2022 survey, 77% of companies have already opted to go hybrid in some form, and 56% of those companies are allowing employees to choose when and how often they wish to come into the office (Envoy).
- 63% of high-growth companies use a “productivity anywhere” hybrid work model (Zippia).
- Companies’ average IT spending went up 6.7% from 2020 to 2021 as they continued to adjust to their employees working remotely or on hybrid models (Zippia).
Data shows us that a significant margin of remote employees still express a preference for hybrid models. More than simply having days at home, employees are interested in the flexibility hybrid work affords, and many are willing to change their place of employment if necessary.
- 38% of fully remote workers would prefer hybrid work (Gallup).
- 55% of employees want to work remotely at least three days a week (Zippia).
- According to a survey conducted with Wakefield Research, 47% of employees would likely look for another job if their employer doesn’t offer a hybrid working model (Envoy).
- About 53% of employees expect a hybrid arrangement, and 24% expect to work exclusively remotely. (Gallup).
- While fully remote employees enjoy their flexibility, 4 in 10 would give up some of that time at home to have in-person office experiences. (Gallup)
- Workers desire more flexibility, and if they were to return to full-time in office models, 57% of them would consider leaving their current workplace. (Dimensional Research).
- 99% of knowledge workers see the benefits of working from home, including increased flexibility, no commute, and having more time to spend with friends and family (Dimensional Research).
Productivity in Hybrid Models
Research clearly indicates that the hybrid workplace contributes to workers who feel more productive, happier, and greater loyalty to their employers.
- 83% of employers say that a shift to remote work has been productive
- 79% of knowledge workers indicated that their engagement level has stayed the same or improved since they began working remotely (Webex).
- About 4 in 10 employees say they want full autonomy to come and go as the wish (Gallup).
- According to The Economist, 36% feel more focused when they work from home. 28% feel less focused.
- Work-from-home will increase worker productivity in the US by 5%.
- 95% of knowledge workers say they will go into the office for activities like team building, collaboration, or building connections with their peers (Webex).
Building a Hybrid Workplace with Stefanini
A successful hybrid work arrangement depends on the successful implementation of several advanced systems that enable secure remote connections to your existing network. Whether you are currently relying on a hybrid model or considering making a transition, you need a partner who can enable your transformation.
Stefanini has the Digital Workplace expertise to make hybrid models successful and ensure world-class employee experiences.
Talk to an expert today.