In our recent Attitudes to Hybrid Working Report, we uncovered an obvious desire to do things differently amongst employees. Nearly half of those who are currently in the office full-time now want their employers to adopt some form of hybrid work. Moreover, 85% of those who have already experienced this new way of working want the option for flexible work to remain available long-term.
So why exactly is hybrid increasingly so popular across the population? As with anything, the specific reasons vary from person to person, but those reasons overwhelmingly have at least one thing in common. Flexible work options give employees more freedom, autonomy, and opportunity to build their schedules around their own lives, and that results in higher job satisfaction and overall well-being.
What is hybrid working?
Hybrid working recognizes the benefits of having a business that both operates from an office and at home or other external locations. Typically, people may spend three days at home a week and two days in the office. Alternatively, they could choose to work from home for an entire month and then the next entirely in the office. This flexibility allows employees to choose where to carry out their job in order to be at their most productive. Already the advantages are clear to see.
You can find out more about hybrid working from this article.
Advantage 1: Better communication
Hybrid models offer everyone a chance to enjoy the best of both worlds. People are able to work from home when they need to be heads-down focused on solo projects, and head into the office on days and tasks that require more in-person collaboration.
When it comes to workplace structures, both extremes — fully remote and always in-office — create challenges in communication. As we all know, teams that communicate exclusively via a computer screen miss out on key benefits that only spending time in-person can offer. Meeting face-to-face creates opportunities for collaboration and idea-sharing that virtual work simply cannot replicate, and physically being in an office amongst colleagues fosters the kinds of social interactions that help build a company culture. Equally, requiring all employees to work out of the office every day can hinder productivity and communication just as well. Offices, for all their benefits, can also be filled with distractions, from chatty coworkers and noisy break rooms, to excessive meetings and workplace gossip.
Hybrid models offer everyone a chance to enjoy the best of both worlds. People are able to work from home when they need to be heads-down focused on solo projects, and head into the office on days and tasks that require more in-person collaboration. Under this new structure that offers greater balance, moments in the office become more valuable, and time at home is more appreciated.
Advantage 2: Improved employee satisfaction
Independence and choice are incredibly important when it comes to employee satisfaction. We all like the feeling of being in control, and offering autonomy over how, where, and when team members of all levels work will boost morale across the board.
And while happy people certainly contribute to an environment that is more enjoyable for existing employees, they also play a crucial role in attracting new talent as well. Our research found that hybrid workers were more likely than any other group to recommend their company as an ideal place to work.
With the ever-present challenge of recruitment and retention in what is an increasingly competitive landscape, offering flexible work options can give you a leg up and ensure you have the best talent working for your company. It also creates an opportunity to hire from a wider pool of applicants, including high-value candidates that otherwise may have been limited by the constraints of a traditional workplace model.
Advantage 3: Increased productivity
Happy employees are also productive employees. A hybrid model can empower people to work to their strengths and when they are at their best, allowing them to be more efficient and produce higher quality work.
While plenty of business leaders are quick to voice fears about lazy employees slacking off while away from the watchful eyes of supervisors, reality does not support these concerns. Our research found that 80% of managers trust their teams to get work done remotely, and believe their employees and colleagues are just as productive when working from home as they are in the office. In fact, the greater challenge posed by the hybrid era has been ensuring that employees set firm boundaries and log off at the end of the day to avoid burnout. There may indeed be some potential drawbacks that arise from the hybrid working model, but productivity is rarely one of them.
Advantage 4: Better mental health
Work can be stressful, but, in recent years employee well-being has thankfully become a higher priority for many forward-thinking companies. Offering flexible work options is an essential component to supporting improved mental health in your workforce. Instead of requiring people to structure their lives around work, hybrid models allow people the chance to shape how they work around their own lifestyle. With less time and money spent on commuting, everyone can make more room in their days for family, friends, and personal interests. And that in turn leads to better mental health.
Strong mental health amongst your workforce will also mean a happier workforce overall, which can lead to improvements in talent retention, with lower turnover rates and higher job satisfaction. Plus, employees that enjoy what they do and feel supported by their employer will be more motivated to make full use of their talents and do top-notch work.
Advantage 5 – Improved resilience
As we all learned how to live and work through the uncertainty of a global pandemic, public health and safety became central to conversations around workplace design and culture. The ability to work from home was essential in efforts to “prevent the spread” but it also led to many realizations about disease prevention on an even wider scale. By avoiding the office (and often, the crowded public transit used to get there), employees found themselves skipping the usual seasonal colds and flus they’d come to expect as part of life.
In many workplaces, there has long been an expectation that if you’re well enough to be out of bed, you’re well enough to report to work in the office. When people feel pressured to come in before fully recovering, they then expose their colleagues to the same illness they just had. The result is a ripple effect that ultimately leaves the entire team short-staffed and over-extended while more and more people call out sick.
When hybrid work is built into a company’s structure and culture, employees feel more comfortable taking advantage of the option to work from home when they’re under the weather. They’re not the only person trying to call into a meeting virtually, and systems are already in place to accommodate remote workers. By making flexible work a permanently viable option, companies can reduce the frequency of sick days amongst their staff, ultimately leading to even more great work.
The advantages of hybrid work don’t start and end with employees. As these five examples clearly illustrate, they also ladder up and result in major benefits on a company-wide scale as well.There’s never been a better time to embrace flexible work, and we’re here to help you find the solution that’s best for your business. Get in touch to find out how we can make it easier to adopt hybrid, so you can start enjoying the benefits soon.