The Emergence of Hybrid Work Model: Returning to the Office Post-COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a worldwide test of working from home. Despite the decreasing risks of returning to the office, numerous employers are compelling their staff to come back on-site permanently. Meanwhile, some organizations are adopting a mixed work model, while others have resolved to stay remote for an indefinite period. Therefore, what are the preferences of employees in this regard?
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a widespread trial of working from home worldwide. Although it's becoming less risky for workers to go back to the workplace, some bosses are demanding they come back full-time, while others are implementing a combination of remote and office-based work. Meanwhile, some organizations have opted to continue operating remotely permanently. Consequently, what are employees' preferences regarding this matter?
The future of the corporate office
The most frequent discussion we encounter is whether the business environment will stay fully hybrid or whether staff will have to work at the office on a full-time basis.
Employees are challenging the idea of a traditional work environment that involves long commutes, rigid 9-5 schedules, and missing out on important aspects of life.
According to a survey, approximately 56% of full-time employees in the United States, which amounts to over 70 million workers, claim that their job can be done remotely from home. This means that more than half of America does not want to return to the office full-time.
In brief, the hybrid corporate office model is the future. Whether workers attend in-person one or three times per week, the hybrid model is swiftly becoming more prevalent and is anticipated to persist as such in the years ahead.
The benefits of a hybrid work environment
Despite the success of the work-from-home model, employers are still uncertain whether remote work is the best option for their employees and the organization as a whole. However, there are several benefits to a hybrid model.
Here are the top five benefits of implementing a hybrid work model:
Enhanced work-life equilibrium: Avoiding a commute can free up over six hours a week that employees would otherwise spend traveling to and from their job. A more satisfactory work-life balance heightens employees' contentment and overall welfare.
Reduced stress and burnout: In 2022, seven out of ten workers are experiencing burnout. Adopting a hybrid work model allows employees to find a suitable work-life balance, which can alleviate burnout and boost their mental wellness.
Higher productivity and efficiency: A hybrid model offers employees far more flexibility, allowing them to work more efficiently. Employees have the freedom to choose where they work and are more likely to balance their workload for optimal productivity.
Remote work has made collaboration easier than ever, despite it being one of the main concerns associated with working remotely. With an internet connection being the only requirement, employees no longer have to be physically present in the same room at the same time to work together.
To recruit and retain top employees, organizations must provide top-tier benefits, as the desire for flexibility offered by a hybrid work model is high among the best employees. Despite concerns, it appears that a hybrid work model is the best option for both employers and employees, as it offers the benefits of both worlds.
Should you renovate your office post-COVID?
Due to the impact of COVID-19, it is highly likely that adjustments will need to be made to your office layout as the workplace has been completely redefined.
Prioritizing employee collaboration and team engagement led to the creation of the open floor plan, which became a popular concept in the corporate world due to its lack of walls and doors separating employees. While the open floor plan may require some adjustments, it is not necessarily obsolete.
Modern employees require a greater degree of privacy than what is typically provided in open workspaces. Featured brands like Global Furniture Group offer workstations that include acoustic panels and glass stackers to reduce noise levels and define workspaces. Designated workstations can be an ideal addition to corporate offices as they allow for privacy without compromising collaboration.
When planning office renovations, prioritize the creation of defined workspaces for focused tasks and collaborative areas for team projects. Building a "third place" where employees can gather and strengthen their relationships can foster a sense of community, which many employers feel has been lacking since the COVID-19 outbreak.
It's crucial to create an environment that can accommodate both in-person and remote employees to ensure collaboration doesn't suffer. In addition to updating the office layout, be sure to adhere to current health and safety protocols by implementing easily sanitized furniture and surfaces and ergonomic options for employee comfort throughout the day. Conducting a survey among employees can also provide valuable insight into the measures they would like to see implemented.
Trust is the key factor
When considering implementing a hybrid-work model, it is essential to trust your employees, and this trust should be mutual. Employees need to trust that returning to the office has a purpose, while employers need to trust that their employees will deliver regardless of their location. While data can provide evidence, it is important to acknowledge that not all employees perform well in a remote environment. It is crucial to monitor productivity levels closely to ensure that both your employees and organization thrive.