Prior to the pandemic, working from home was a fringe concept unavailable to most workers. Yet when coronavirus came to the US, 95% of office workers transitioned to working remotely at least part time. After trying out a new work format for over a year, 97% now say they find remote work preferable. Workers point to the benefits of commute elimination, improved work-life balance, and increased time with family as the reasons for their change in heart.
Meeting Workers’ Needs
These new preferences create a new set of expectations among office workers. 7 in 10 workers anticipate remote work becoming standard going forward, yet only half feel that their current employer meets their expectations. Nearly a quarter of Americans plan to switch jobs as the pandemic ends. While current outbreaks have delayed these plans, workers dissatisfied with their position will not wait forever to pursue a new one. Some workers even say they would accept less pay if it meant they could keep working from home.
The remote revolution doesn’t have to cause conflict between businesses and workers. Businesses also benefit from remote employees in the form of decreased overhead, lower turnover, and decreased employee absences. For each employee a company allows to work from home 2 or 3 days a week, that company saves $11,000. While only 37% of US jobs can be done entirely at home, many can be accomplished with less than full time attendance in a physical office building. Businesses have every motivation they need to create a long term hybrid workplace.
Company Culture is Important
What does a hybrid workplace look like? A lot of different things. No two businesses will have the same approach to hybrid work. Time in office could be decided by manager scheduling or left up to the employee’s prerogative. Top leadership could have the company’s office to themselves or every employee could be expected to take a turn in person. A standard model across companies is less important than ensuring the needs of managers and employees alike are heard and met.
Beyond the exact ratio of remote to in-person, hybrid workplaces also need to perfect other aspects of the hybrid workplace. Office space used by several people must be planned out to ensure everyone has a space to work. Managers must take intentional steps to ensure remote employees are utilized and included equally next to their in-person peers. The future presents many possibilities for workplace changes.