With the successful production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations, the timescale for the so-called "new normal" has become clearer, and we've entered the Workplace 2.0 period.
Companies and individuals have little choice but to experiment with and accept new working methods. Working from home over the past year has given us a different perspective on the workplace. Workplace, which used to be identical to "office," now simply refers to the location where you work, whether it's an office, a house, or even a coffee shop.
As the world begins to “re-open” many companies try to define their new work rules. The workplace changes we’ve seen during Covid are not yet permanent. However, there will be changes to expect in the post-Covid workplace, one of them is the hybrid work model.
Why is the Hybrid work model the future of work?
Workers will now expect to work remotely and the autonomy to match work to the right setting far beyond the pandemic.
Many companies will elect to use a hybrid model where employees split their time working from the office for part of the week and working remotely for the other part.
One main advantage of hybrid work is that it allows for maximum flexibility for both employees and companies. Hybrid models will enable people to come together and work in a physical office space when required while also offering flexibility in work locations when face-to-face collaboration isn’t necessary.
According to research, around 2,100 people worked remotely throughout the epidemic, which lasted from March 17, 2021, to April 5, 2021. Employees not only want remote work after the pandemic, but 58 percent said they would look for a new job if they were not allowed to continue working remotely in their current position. As additional info, 65% want to work remotely full-time post-pandemic, and another 33% prefer a hybrid work arrangement. Top concerns of returning to the office include Covid-19 exposure, less work flexibility, and worse work-life balance.
This situation was not surprising, as research from pre-COVID has repeatedly shown that workers who spend at least a portion of their usual workweek outside the office had higher workplace happiness, job dedication, engagement, and score higher on innovation markers.
There will be many variations in hybrid models, with some companies choosing to favor in-person work for the majority of the week of the month and others being more lenient with remote work. There’s no (or not yet) right or wrong approach to hybrid schedules, as we are figuring out the right balance will likely take a bit of trial and error.
Though, companies mandating full-time office work should be wary of employee turnover and higher rates of disengagement. As the job market stabilizes, people will start looking for a change if their current job doesn’t meet their expectations.
A recent study by Prudential showed that 42% of workers surveyed would not want to work for an employer who required them to work on-site, full time. However, that same survey showed that 87% of people wanted to work remotely at least one day per week, highlighting the importance of a hybrid workplace over a mandated 5-day per week in office policy.
But is hybrid the status quo?
As vaccination rates rise across the country, it appears that we are finally turning a corner toward brighter times. However, we should be aware of the mental health toll from the previous year and be firm when it comes to keeping employee health and well-being in mind as they prepare to return to work.
According to the Human Experience Report, workers say the Covid-19 pandemic has been the most stressful moment in their employment, surpassing even the Great Recession (69 percent). However, according to Kantor, hybrid work swiftly became the new normal, with 66% of employees expected to work in a hybrid paradigm in the future.
Companies must take bold steps to address the genuine problem of employees not feeling their best due to a more distant connection to the office culture when working remotely. For example, companies could look at JLL, a global commercial real estate services company, which tries to cope with the problem by launching Experience/Anywhere, a program designed to seamlessly connect JLL employees across the office, at home, or anywhere that work happens.
As a digital portal that integrates directly with employees’ calendars, Experience/Anywhere has several features. Such as block time for micro-habits to combat work-stressors felt throughout the day, providing customized on-demand well-being services, yoga, and meditation that match each individual’s interests and needs.
So those are the explanations of why a hybrid model is the future of the our work life.
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