Is the future of work hybrid, and if so, what does that mean?
Now the restaurants, clubs and pubs of the UK have opened their doors with full gusto and joy, another, not-as-fun spot that has opened up as well. Yes, the office.
Whilst some of us are blessed with Nespresso Machines and X Box’s some are considerably bleaker. But one thing is for certain, however fancy your office culture is, the truth is most of us would like the opportunity to work from home, at least once a week!
Enter the world of Hybrid Working. The perfect split between home and office, work and play. We ask the question, what does hybrid working look like and why are some companies trying to move against it? Hybrid working, in its simplest form, gives employees the chance to put themselves in the driving seat, and put their health, and work-life balance at the top of their priorities. Hybrid working has always existed, with many companies paving the way for WFH pre-pandemic. But what was once a rarity, is now a reality. And it’s a reality that so many young people crave.
A report by Citrix Systems said that 90% of Gen Z and Millennials combined don’t want to return to full-time office work post-pandemic, and a quarter of millennials and 22% of Gen Zs said they would like to work in the office a little to a lot less often than they did before.’ But other than the given level of freedom explored with remote working, what are Gen Z seeing in WFH that older generations and traditional employers don’t.
We know that not having everyone in one place at the same time can result in delayed communication times, but is it really that much harder to send an email or send a zoom link? Companies such as Goldman Sachs and PWC would argue, yes, and have been vocal about offering cash incentives for employees that make it into the office. PWC employees have seen some of the highest bonuses for rocking up to work of £1000. Similarly, Goldman Sachs chief executive famously insisted that working from home is an ‘aberration’ that must be stopped and has added free ice cream and meals to the list of office perks.
Despite some businesses' efforts to get their employees in the office ASAP, some companies are giving Gen Z what they want. An Accenture report noted that using productivity anywhere hybrid workforce models are embraced by 63% of high-revenue growth companies. So whilst the big bank wants you at your desk, it rarely produces the best results when it comes to both productivity and employee satisfaction. Why wouldn’t you want to keep your workforce happy?
In essence, what the collective workforce wants is balance. The ability to be able to choose as and when they go into the office, but to have the office there should they want to access it. The research suggests that It’s time that employers looked at hybrid work as a mark of employee trust - the embodiment of the new normal that should quickly adapt to.
Words: Grace Goslin