Hybrid Work, The People’s Choice
From independent studies to simple LinkedIn surveys, it’s clear that the hybrid work model is what the vast majority of people prefer. This should come as no surprise to anyone with even a cursory pulse on current culture. The working parents, introverted-extroverts, and all human beings for that matter can benefit greatly from work flexibility in some form or another.
Ernst & Young’s Work Reimagined Survey showed the following workforce data:
90% want some form of flexibility in where & when they work
On average, people expect to work remotely 2-3 days per week
54% would likely quit if appropriate flexibility isn’t continually offered
Millennials were 2x more likely to do so than baby boomers
Firstly, when is the last time 90% of people agreed on anything work related? Then there’s the threat that 54% of your people would seek other opportunities if the organization doesn’t support flexible work options going forward in which Millennials (who make up approximately 40% of the workforce) would be twice as likely to do so. This is already being proven true as displayed by the wild west-like job market we see today. I think it’s safe to say that the call to action for flexibility in work should be taken seriously.
So, what do organizations need to do about all of this?
Understand Your Work
The first step, which can be the most difficult depending on your leaders, is to let go of the emotional attachment to what you perceive as “normal”. The ways of working that we grew up with are no longer applicable and the sooner everyone can accept that, the sooner the organization can make the necessary changes to ensure an attractive work model for its current and future people. If it helps, it’s worth noting that 94% of employers surveyed by Mercer said that productivity has not been impacted by remote work and in some cases, had even increased.
Once you can move forward objectively, the groundwork piece is to assess all roles, tasks, processes, etc. within the organization to truly understand what opportunities for remote work exist in your current environment. This should also be done with an approach to assess what changes can be made to increase remote work opportunities. Get creative and use your network if possible. Utilize consultants as needed.
Understand Your People
It is important not to oversimplify the application of hybrid work nor the effect it has on your people. As most organizations have a large variety of roles and associated responsibilities, it is just as important to make non-hybrid roles equitable in relation to hybrid eligible roles which can be done in a myriad of ways.
The key to handling all of this in a way that creates an inclusive culture is to ensure every leader knows their people individually. A good leader not only knows their direct reports from a performance perspective, but also their specific work style, aspirations, and personal attributes such as home life. Only an adequately deeper knowledge of your people can allow you to create the work-life integration they need to be successful and happy.
Once the work and the people are understood, begin the implementation process.
Take immediate action on the proverbial low hanging fruit based on your current state and technological capabilities. If it can be done remotely today, allow it to be. Even one day per week of remote work (with the right messaging) can show that steps are being taken to improve remote work integration.
Review the opportunities for current in-office work to be remote capable and the subsequent technological upgrades needed to support it.
Create an aggressive plan to enhance technological capabilities as needed to support increased agility for remote work.
Be transparent with your people. Share the plans and engage.
Trust your leaders, at all levels, to manage their workforce accordingly.
As long as empathy and compassion for your people is at the forefront of your approach, it’s hard to go wrong but if some extra professional guidance would help, we're here for you!