There’s no going back to the old way of work.
The default 9-5 in-office workweek is dead. The gig is up. Knowledge workers have worked out that eight-hour days shivering while chained to a sterile cubicle with little access to natural air or light (there’s usually another building in the way) while a harsh fluorescent light burns their retinas isn’t always conducive to performing their best work. Especially after an hours-long commute.
This work model and life as we knew it was born in the post war manufacturing era, designed by men for men while a wife most likely managed the home. But in the present day, advanced technology and two years of lockdowns have really shown us how much this design no longer works – and how much happier and effective we can be working remotely instead!
Let’s face it – remote and hybrid working are in our future permanently.
The dead case for in-office superiority
In recent research by BambooHR, 43% of office workers who were asked to return to the office reported feeling disappointed that the reality didn’t meet expectations, namely:
Probably the loudest argument for an in-office model is for strengthening company culture, yet only 21% of survey respondents feel this to be true.
While 54% of respondents thought productivity would rise going back to the office, only one third report this to be the case.
Humans are social creatures who love getting together to bounce ideas, because #TeamWorkMakesTheDreamWork. While 61% of survey respondents expected more collaborating in person upon their office return, only 49% of survey respondents actually experienced it.
Not everyone is against a return to the office. Millennials and Gen Z are more inclined to prefer time in office with their peers than Boomers or Gen X. Additionally, not everyone is against one way only over another. Hybrid models seem to be the way forward.
Making hybrid work to keep your people happy
The latest Future Forum pulse survey shows that hybrid work has become the dominant work model, globally. They found that 78% of survey respondents say they want location flexibility, while 95% want schedule flexibility.
But a functional hybrid model can’t be slapped together haphazardly. Workforces still need to operate as a cohesive team where kudos, feedback and goal tracking can happen effortlessly.
Making hybrid work and overcoming any proximity challenges will require designing a thoughtful and meaningful work model in collaboration with your people. It must be supported by tech that provides a customisable, human approach that fits your people’s needs and wants.
With increased investment in people management, engagement, and productivity platforms, there’s no shortage of technology emerging that can help managers and employees bridge the remote gap.
Find what works
The comfort, flexibility and control we’ve encountered working from home has changed the way people view and feel about work. Organisations are being forced to take a fresh look at workplace structures and work design and be more intentional with how they operate.
While the case for hybrid tends to be watered down by the diehard in-office champions, the workers are protesting with their feet. Organisations will need to experiment with their workplace environments to find what works best for healthy, happy, productive employees.