December 9, 2020
Believe it or not – and it’s not just your new remote work attire.
You and over half of working adults in the U.S. are hungry for a new way to work. The traditional, full-time in-office model was already losing its sheen with companies whose employees have been pushing for more flexibility and productive time at home (or remotely) to do their work.
In fact, researchers and executives have seen this trend for the last several years, although, the force of the pandemic expedited the shift drastically. As we look to 2021 and the onset of available vaccines, the full-time, in-office workplace is an option once more, but the way we see it’s value has changed.
We, at Transcend, are pro-connection, culture and creativity for the business we work with—which looks unique to everyone. But we are finding as we work with companies across a variety of industries and talk with employers and employees of all ages and backgrounds, the solution isn’t remote or reverting back to the way things were.
They’re thinking about going hybrid.
52% of U.S. workers in a recent Gesler survey reported wanting a hybrid work model where they have time in the office and time at home or remotely every week.
We did our own survey of over 400 individuals that provided slightly more dramatic results. Between employers and employees and average of 57% preferred a 2-3 day a week in-office schedule. And across generations, an average of 58% of workers preferred a 2-3 day model (51% of Gen X, 58% of Millenials, and 66% of Gen Y).
Data collected by Transcend.
3-2-2 or a 4-day work week schedule are viable solutions according to Ashley Willans, professor at Harvard Business school. “Employees will demand greater flexibility and organizations will require it,” Whillans said. Especially following the relief from tedious commutes and hectic schedules with constant interruptions.
Workers report these top benefits as they’ve worked remotely:
And the downsides:
One CEO (founder of a fully-remote business) stated in an op-ed by Wired magazine, that “Those who do hybrid, if not intentional about making systemic changes and treating every employee as if they are remote (whether in-office or not), will see their most effective remote people leave.”
He suggests that there is a power balance between in-person and remote workers, especially if the leadership team, by obligation or by good intentions, continues to spend the majority of their time in-office. He says this kind of dynamic can feel unbalanced.
“To get everyone on the same level, a company would need leadership to leave the shared office so no single physical place holds more power than another. Realistically, however, most leadership in hybrid-remote firms will keep working from the head office, degrading the default way of working from “remote-first” to “remote-allowed,” where remote employees are not penalized for working outside the office, but are also not proactively integrated into the fabric of the company.”
As Professor Whillan stated, there is no one-size fits all solution. But a hybrid model offers the flexibility to better parry the blows of an uncertain economy, questionable safety, and lean into the more balanced life remote work has afforded many.
Gensler summarizes that With flexible work arrangements increasingly becoming a benefit offered by employers, organizations that adopt a hybrid working model for the long-term are likely to attract far more talent. Also, the reduced focus on geographies would allow employees to live further from city centers, since they don’t have to commute as frequently.
Other considerations like project cadence or departmental collaboration are important in structuring the hybrid model to keep communication flowing in all the right directions.
Gensler developed almost a “personality type” model to help organize the rhythm that employees might follow to maintain the desired outcomes and values of the organization.
It seems that, done well, the hybrid model can be a great pathway for employee satisfaction, wellness, productivity, talent acquisition and company growth overall.