Why is hybrid doing better than expected?
The workplace is going through a renaissance and it will cause an ever-lasting change. Every aspect of work is changing, from where people live, how they come to work, how much they come to work, where they sit, how they conduct their meetings, how they achieve a new work-life balance, and how we measure productivity now.
It only seems yesterday that all of us were getting ready to go to work every day and going to the office every day. There was a fixed commute route, a fixed desk, and a fixed schedule.
The workplace functioned as it always had but the pandemic forced everyone to rethink. What started as a temporary setup because of covid- 19 soon became something that is how we move forward in the future.
Hybrid was supposed to be a temporary set up but as it stands today is on its way to becoming the preferred way of working. This was mostly because a hybrid setup saved time, and money and offered a better work-life balance. But also forced a lot of cultural changes. Employees had a new set of expectations from their workplace and the industry responded. Let’s look at some of the main factors affecting the culture.
Why offices are functioning differently now?
Post-pandemic the basic structure and functioning of the office have changed and from the current trend, it seems like it’s going nowhere. But this has also led to a butterfly effect that has gone way beyond the just office. Now when employees say that they aren’t coming to the office it doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t working. In today’s context means that an employee maybe is working but not from the office.
Now offices have different schedules for different employees depending on their needs. Technology has enabled this new setup. We all were part of numerous video calls that happened in the early stages of the pandemic. Post-pandemic the need for technologies in the workplace increased. From video conferencing, desk booking systems, and visitor management systems to communication channels everything was now moulding itself to be hybrid friendly.
This made it possible for the workforce to have an office anywhere and function from anywhere. In a gist, productivity remained the same while the workforce has more comfort.
Will hybrid become the preferred way to work long-term?
Let’s get right to it, is the hybrid set in sand or stone? This is a crucial question to answer as it will decide if you should invest in transitioning to your workplace or not. As it stands today, the hybrid setup has its positions cemented, it’s going nowhere and the stats support it:
- 81% of the prefer a hybrid set-up and don’t want to go back to the office at all
- 7% of business leaders expect to offer more flexibility
- 54% expect to work from home one day a week or less
- 26% expect to work from home two to three days per week
- 61% now say they are choosing not to go into their workplace
- 38% say they’re working from home because their workplace is closed or unavailable to them
There is also something else that is becoming a huge consideration for every person when they pick a job and this is commute time. The commute time has been on a steady rise over the past few years. And a hybrid setup saves that time that can be utilised in a better way. All these factors have helped hybrid leave a much bigger impact than expected.
Why are employees distancing themselves from the physical workplace?
There has been a noticeable increase in employees moving away from their workplace. This is because the office is no longer something that employees associate with a physical structure. If they can work from it, it’s an office, it can be their home, their car or even a cafe. This means this gives them the flexibility to work from anywhere and hence they can choose to live farther away from their offices. 22% of employees told us they’re considering or planning to move more than 80 kilometres away from a core office location.
All these points toward a new way of working where work is no longer just done from the office only. Since productivity isn’t affected and a better work-life balance is achieved with hybrid, people no longer need to stay close to where they work.
How can companies prepare themselves?
Transitioning to a hybrid workplace is a process that can take its own time. It is a unique process for every organization. There are some simple steps to ensure that your transition is smooth:
- Start by asking your employees, and see how many of them wish to come back
- Understand which teams need a remote first schedule and which need an office first schedule
- Understand which teams need to collaborate most together
- Deploy the right technologies
- Start implementing your policy on a small scale
- Actively collect feedback
The new employee journey is fully digitized, it starts even before the employee comes to work. The employee now can check the schedule of their teams, book a desk and meeting room, invite guests and a lot more before coming to work. This means it is crucial now to have technology that will create the perfect digital journey for your employees.