As we ease back into some semblance of life as it once was pre-pandemic, businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to navigate the world of HR. Talent is hard to retain and becoming more difficult to find. People expect more from their employers than they used to.
Today's employees are motivated by both money and perks, so they demand a level of personalisation that was not previously expected. This needs to be balanced against the changing needs of organisations. Both parties need to find what works for them within the scope of what the organisation can provide.
Employers are moving towards asking people to go back to the office at least some of the time, but data from Gallup indicates this may not always be the best move.
Research shows that while most people will prefer hybrid schedules as their first choice in the future, many people still want to work from home full-time.
Of course, individual preferences play a huge role in how the future of work is shaping up.
We've created an easy framework to help you figure out if your team will prefer hybrid or remote work moving forward.
What Are The Benefits & Pitfalls Of Working From The Office?
The office environment consolidates operations, which solidifies the company culture from the outset. People have the opportunity to form both casual and professional relationships throughout the workday.
Office environments can deepen the relationships formed across the organisation, which builds trust and social reciprocation. New employees learn from more experienced members of the team in person. This opens doors, creates networks, and enables collaboration to impact delivery as people do better in their jobs.
A casual conversation over an impromptu cup of tea with somebody from a different department may spark an idea that could otherwise not have been found.
Office work has clear advantages when it comes to leveraging human connections, but it's inconvenient for many.
Long commute times mean less time with family. Fixed hours can eat into leisure time, which becomes frustrating when flexibility can't be accommodated. Travel is expensive, and those commuting often end up buying lunch or coffee throughout the day, which adds up quickly.
Office work is best suited to those who live near work, require regular human interactions, actively collaborate on physical tasks, or lack on-the-job experience.
What Are The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Working Fully Remote?
Remote work suits those who like to just get on with things autonomously. Fully-remote work empowers people to create the right balance in their workday.
People who always work from home can find a true comfort zone. They can work when they're feeling motivated, and go for a run when they need to boost their energy. Remote workers are encouraged to find solutions to new challenges, which keeps some people more stimulated in their day-to-day roles.
Those who work from home report a healthier work-life balance, improved relationships with friends and family, better opportunities to save money, and more time to focus on the things they enjoy.
On the downside, fully-remote work can be isolating. This breaks down company culture when people become too distant, and may leave people feeling unsupported.
What Are The Challenges & Opportunities With hybrid Work Patterns?
Hybrid gives most people the best of both worlds.
Employees are asked to work from home some of the time and to go into the office sometimes. Hybrid scheduling software means people can now co-ordinate their work patterns by task, by team, by time, or by the people they wish to spend time with for socialisation and workplace learning.
Hybrid schedules let people collaborate when their work requires it, then they can head home to focus on autonomous projects. The flexibility boosts morale and productivity.
Hybrid patterns mean that people can plan their office days around what they're working on. People also choose office days based on who they're working with, or when they might be invited along for an after-work pint to let off some steam.
There are few disadvantages to hybrid models.
Hybrid lets people feel productive and connected to others. It shortens commutes, keeps the cost of travel down, and makes room for other obligations.
The hybrid model stimulates creative problem solving, which makes room for improved trust between managers and their employees. This gives people the opportunity to push themselves on their own terms.
But surprisingly, not all employees choose hybrid.
According to Forbes, 32% of employees still want to work fully remote, compared to 59% who choose hybrid, and just 9% who want to return to the all-office schedule in the future.
So How Can You Decide If Your Employees Should Be Hybrid Or Fully-Remote?
For some people, hybrid work is the perfect balance between going to work and living a more flexible lifestyle. For others, working from home is a blank canvas to create the perfect work-life balance.
Those who work from home enjoy greater flexibility to fit work into their normal life and have the freedom to work when they're most productive. Those who work a hybrid pattern enjoy structured collaboration with better social connections.
Some people in your team may work remotely, while others may prefer to be hybrid.
You might find that some people will work hybrid patterns during times when motivation is naturally low, perhaps in winter when it's cold and wet. These same people may prefer to work remotely when they're feeling on form, perhaps in the height of summer.
This trend may also follow the natural busy season in your industry. People prefer to work hybrid during busy seasons when it's better to be in the office more frequently and go all-remote around Christmas or the school holidays when it's easier to work from home.
The beauty of hybrid work environments is that all of your employees don't need to always do the same thing.
Individual preferences can easily be accommodated, so the first step is to ask people what they prefer, then book a free demo to see how easy it is to build a workplace environment that's right for everybody.