The majority of respondents cited hybrid work as their preferred model in the survey. Seventy-eight% of respondents prefer flexibility in location.
Pulse Survey conducted by Future ForumSlack launched a consortium with partners Boston Consulting Group and MillerKnoll to find that hybrid work is now the most popular model for employees worldwide as the COVID-19 epidemic continues to impact the workforce. This report showed that hybrid work has increased from 46% to 58% in May 2021. However, the proportion of workers who claim their teams work only from home or in the office has decreased.
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Survey respondents included 10,000 knowledge workers from the U.S. and other countries. 68% said that hybrid work was preferred to in-office work. Employees surveyed felt more positive about their work experience, despite the possibility of new COVID variations being discovered.
It’s time to get beyond the “remote versus in-office” debate. Brian Elliott, the Future Forum’s executive leader, stated that there is no one-size fits all approach to the future of work. A hybrid model can help foster a more flexible workplace. Leaders must make sure that all employees have equal access and participate in a fair and equitable environment.
Flexibility is the new standard in work
Deloitte’s survey revealed that a large proportion of workers want flexible work environments and flexible hours. This is in line with the Deloitte findings. Seventy-eight% of those surveyed stated they want flexibility in where they work, while 95% indicated that flexibility in scheduling is important for their roles moving forward. 41% of the executives polled stated that they want to see a shift in how they work and be able to share their work with remote and in-office workers.
Employees said that if their current employers do not allow this change in the way work is done, they will start looking for roles that provide the same flexibility as the vast majority of the workforce. 72% of those unhappy with the current flexibility of work stated that they will look for work in the next 12 months. This sentiment is shared by many employees. It is up to executives to adjust their expectations so that workers can work from wherever they are and as much as they need to.
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The survey found that flexibility in work is a key point of emphasis for historically underrepresented groups in knowledge workers, including women and parents of color. The U.S. found that 86% of Hispanic/Latinx knowledge worker and 81% Asian American and African American knowledge workers prefer remote or hybrid work arrangements, as opposed to 75% of white knowledge workers. Globally, 52% women would prefer flexibility in their work location, compared to 46% for men. Half of working mothers also want to work remotely, compared to 43% for working fathers.
Inequities in hybrid work
This model could have a negative impact on many employees and their bosses. One example is the possibility of hybrid or remote workers being left behind due to proximity bias. This bias could lead to favoritism against colleagues who work together at the office. A major concern for executives is the potential for inequalities to develop between employees working remotely and those who work in the office. This bias can be countered by company leaders who need to establish Guidelines and guardrailsFuture Forum has provided an overview of how hybrid work will integrate with employees sharing a physical location.
The principles will serve to ground the core company values—like inclusivity or equality for example—while guardrails will assist in guiding behaviors in order to maintain an even working environment across all employees. These leaders can work to insulate the goals of equality or inclusion. Transparent communication is key to building trustOder Measure outcomes and not inputs. These principles can be ingrained while also making sure all employees feel on the same page. Companies can help to navigate the transition to hybrid working while still allowing employees to retain the level of productivity they had when everyone was in the same place.