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Banking and Finance

The Great Tug-of-War Ends: Hybrid Work Claims Victory in Modern Workplaces

Hybrid and Remote Work

The tug-of-war between office work and remote work has come to an end. And the winner is—hybrid.

The upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is in the rear view mirror, and now that the dust has begun to settle it’s obvious that a partnership between working in the office and working from home rules the work week.

Gallup recently declared, “The future of the office has arrived … and it is hybrid.”

Nicholas A. Bloom, professor of economics at Stanford University, who has researched work-from-home practices for twenty years, says, “Hybrid work arrangements have killed the return-to-office hype. Working from home is here to stay. I can prove it with data—lots and lots of data showing that returning to the office (R.T.O.) is D.O.A.”

Bloom’s recent research shows that workers are spending half as many days in the office compared with pre-pandemic.

Employees favor hybrid work not only because it cuts down on the much-despised hassle of a daily commute, but also lowers travel costs which equates to an 8% raise. Employers favor hybrid because it reduces overhead and has been shown to boost productivity and profits—much to the surprise of many leaders.

Hybrid is becoming so widely embraced that 75% of start-ups allow flexible working locations. Today’s new ventures have nearly twice as many days when employees work from home compared with those launched 20 years ago.

Gallup research, which surveys 18,000 employees every three months2, says “Based on our findings it’s unlikely that everyone will return to the office five days a week in the foreseeable future. It’s also unlikely that full remote work will become the new normal. Employees and employers have found a middle ground in hybrid work that appears to work well when managed effectively—a work arrangement  nobody would have imagined prior to 2020.”

Recently Gallup found that five in 10 workers are hybrid, three in 10 are exclusively remote and two in 10 are working entirely on-site. Typically employees are back in the office two or three days a week, which seems to optimize employee performance for many roles. Meta, for instance, requires workers on-site three days a week while at Zoom it is two days. Yes, even Zoom, whose videoconference system boomed during the pandemic when everyone had to embrace remote work, has employees back in a brick and mortar environment.

These are similar numbers to what I have seen in Ideal Outcomes’ relationships with companies across the country. There is a definitive trend of organizations wanting much of their learning and development programs to return to in-house. Currently we conduct 50% of training as hybrid, 25% has remained remote and 25% is fully back in-person.

Many companies have seen that hybrid situations can increase productivity and they’re figuring out the right blend. They’re customizing hybrid work structures to fit their culture and business model. Broadly speaking, the classroom setting is better suited for collaboration, innovation, behavior change, and new skill development while online is good for information transfer and material of a more academic nature. In the same way company leadership has realized you can’t lead, motivate, and inspire every individual the same way, they’re customizing hybrid work structures depending on individuals’ role in the organization. And that’s another sign hybrid is not going anywhere, anytime soon.

In fact, eight in 10 chief human resources officers (CHROs) from Fortune 500 companies surveyed by Gallup don’t plan to decrease remote work flexibility in the next 12 months. That’s because they’ve seen the benefits and employee demand. Given the opportunity to work from home employees tend to be more engaged with their work, less burned out, and less likely to quit. Studies show that three in 10 hybrid workers value the experience so much they are extremely likely to leave an organization if not given some degree of remote flexibility, and the number is even higher for fully remote—six in 10 workers.

All of this means that corporate leader need to develop a long-term strategy to successfully implement and maintain this new world of hybrid. Seventy-three percent of managers and senior leaders are not prepared and 80% of hybrid workers have not received any formal training on it, according to Gallup.

It’s important therefore for companies to implement training programs showing team members how to work together more effectively, balancing the relationships between time spent in-house and at-home.

Gallup makes the point that it is not as daunting as you might think and that it is an opportunity to assess how you can achieve your vision through better collaboration, proactive development, and a strong workplace culture. “While the journey won’t be without its challenges, adopting an agile approach that allows you to learn and adapt as you go will ultimately improve your organization.”

Professor Bloom, writing in The New York Times, strong advocates for the hybrid environment. He sums it up nicely, “Rarely as an economist do I see a change so profoundly positive for the majority of America’s businesses and workers. We should support the working-from-home revolution that has finally yielded a win-win-win. Companies, employees, and society all benefit. We should support this golden moment and lay the five-day-office-week movement to rest.”

Written by Jason Richmond.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Banking and Finance - The Great Tug-of-War Ends: Hybrid Work Claims Victory in Modern Workplaces
Jason Richmond
Jason Richmond is an authoritative culture change strategist whose work over the past twenty-plus years has helped companies build strong, sustained revenue growth by empowering their employees and developing energizing office cultures.

As President/CEO and Chief Culture Officer for Ideal Outcomes, Inc., he has designed and implemented Leadership Development Journeys for Fortune 100 companies and he has guided numerous start-ups on the path to become noted industry leaders. He has also supplied thought leadership and innovative consulting services to a wide range of mid-size companies.

Author of two books Culture Spark: 5 Steps to Ignite and Sustain Organizational Growth and Culture Ignited: 5 Disciplines for Adaptive Leadership, and a member of Forbes Business Council, Jason is an in-demand keynote speaker who captivates audiences with his direct, refreshing, no-nonsense style.

In addition, he heads up a team of culture strategists and trainers whose learning course on the Udemy platform Foundations of a Strong Corporate Culture provides students with a framework for transformative culture change. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Jason Richmond is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with him through LinkedIn.