Are Hybrid Work Environments Here To Stay?
The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant changes to the lives of many people around the world. It drove businesses and companies to either temporarily or permanently shut down or shift to a work-from-home setup to continue their operations. Two years after the onset of this global pandemic, people are now transitioning to the “new normal,” and it begs the question: Are remote work setup and hybrid work environments here to stay?
Employers from different companies worldwide have been made aware of the advantages of allowing their workers to work remotely. It also seems that the flexibility of a modern workplace, like a work-from-home setup, has allowed employees to be more satisfied with their jobs. A remote work arrangement has allowed people to avoid the hassle of commuting daily to work and enabled them to work at their own pace. At present, the majority of companies have adopted this type of setup. (1)
However, it’s also evident that a remote work arrangement doesn’t work for everyone. Some workers, especially those whose jobs involve front-line services, are required to report in their offices to fulfill their duties. Some employers also deem it necessary for some workers to report on-site, especially those in the earlier stages of their careers. On the other hand, some employees also recognize the benefits of a face-to-face work arrangement to focus on their work and enable bonds, mentorships, and sharing of ideas in a shared and collaborative workspace. (1)
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) , the rates of people working from home during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 were the highest ever recorded since 1970. In August 2021, 41% of employed people regularly worked from home. In another report from the ABS, businesses with remote working staff reported how they expected their remote working arrangements to change in the long term. The results showed that based off their current operations, a similar proportion of businesses across all employment size ranges expect their teleworking to increase (small 12%, medium 11%, and large 13%). (2)
Transitioning to the new normal
As more people are getting vaccinated, employers are slowly starting to reopen their offices and resume normal operations. However, most employees seek companies’ support and approval for a hybrid work environment. A hybrid workplace will allow those who may want to choose an office-based work arrangement to do so, and those who prefer to work in their home do so and just work in their offices should they want to. Hybrid working arrangements can be applied according to a person’s work type or category and specific time commitments. (2)
Many people realize that no matter how, when, and where employees work, they can still be just as productive while working remotely. Even when the pandemic subsides, as long as there’s access to technology, working anywhere shouldn’t be extremely difficult for most employees. It can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience to be allowed to work anywhere you want and still be given the same benefits and opportunities as those working in offices. Splitting your time between different workspaces such as your home, office, or co-working spaces can be good.
Overcoming the limitations of remote work setup
In a study by Robert Half, it was found out that 34% or a third of professionals who have been working from home since the start of the pandemic would rather quit their jobs if asked to report in the office full-time. These employees want to stay working at their homes to have freedom in setting up their preferred office hours and a personal workspace. Meanwhile, 49% or almost half of the respondents said they would rather opt for a hybrid work arrangement to allow them to work both in the office and in a different location. These respondents expressed their concerns about working in a hybrid work setup, such as decreased productivity while working from home, relationships with co-workers suffering when working away from one another, and fewer career advancement opportunities because of lack of visibility. (3)
While work-from-anywhere arrangement works for most employees, some factors may limit them from working at their best. No matter the work setup, it’s important that the employees get guidance and support from their employees to work effectively. Some of the challenges employees may encounter from working remotely are the lack of access to resources and information they need to get the job done and the lack of in-person interaction and communication with their co-workers. Meetings over the internet can sometimes be inefficient as the employees don’t get to interact and discuss effectively. (4)
Having the best of both worlds
Hybrid work environments can be the best setup for employees – having the flexibility to work fully remotely, on-site, or both. This type of arrangement can benefit both organizations and workers and significantly increase team member satisfaction and productivity. However, a hybrid setup should strike a balance between work and personal life. Ideally, it should allow employees to have enough time to take a break from work to prevent job burnout. It’s also best to ensure that employees are guided and supported to be happy while working. This can lead to increased productivity and a reduced team member turnover rate. (4)
As both employers and employees look forward to what will happen after the pandemic, many realize that implementing hybrid work environments is the way forward. It’s now in the hands of companies and leaders to take the necessary steps to ensure that hybrid work arrangements will be fair and effective for all employees if they remain in effect in the post-COVID era. The transition to the “new normal” will be easier as soon as employers develop a hybrid plan that will work for everyone.
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- “Remote And Hybrid Work Is Here To Stay, And That’s Why Quality Of Worklife Matters”, Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2021/08/31/remote-and-hybrid-work-is-here-to-stay-and-thats-why-quality-of-worklife-matters/?sh=79cbd24b7091
- “Hybrid working is here to stay. But what does that mean in your office?”, Source: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/05/hybrid-working-your-office-future/
- “1 In 3 Remote Workers May Quit If Required To Return To The Office Full Time, Robert Half Survey Finds”, Source: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/1-in-3-remote-workers-may-quit-if-required-to-return-to-the-office-full-time-robert-half-survey-finds-301262727.html
- “The future of work: Hybrid work is here to stay”, Source: https://www.zoho.com/blog/cliq/the-future-of-work-hybrid-work-is-here-to-stay.html
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Working arrangements report: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/earnings-and-working-conditions/working-arrangements/latest-release#working-from-home