The business world has changed in ways most people were not expecting. The pandemic caused many organizations to adapt to new ways that would ordinarily go ignored or seemed wasteful for most of them. However, due to the emergence of COVID-19, many of them needed to change the way their employees worked, or else they would face severe consequences. By allowing their employees to work from home, many of them managed to either thrive or survive during these harsh times.
With more people becoming vaccinated, business leaders are attempting to draw back their employees to the office space. A good percentage of them are eager to go back to the traditional way of working in the office and having their managers watch over their employees as they work away. However, employees are reluctant to return to the office space, with most of them having become accustomed to working from home.
Remote work has provided plenty of opportunities for employees to accomplish things they would never have time for by working at the office space. Many of them even believe that their jobs don’t require them to be in the office space full-time and that it can be easily completed while they remain at home. With employees reluctant to leave their remote lifestyle and business leaders pondering how to resolve this issue, the idea for a hybrid work model has become an important topic in the business world.
The hybrid model is becoming more and more widespread among organizations as they attempt to get their employees back in the office space. There has been a massive amount of data about hybrid work becoming the future of the business world. Of course, the hybrid work model has been a bit of a mixed bag amongst employees. Some of them are welcoming it, while others are not seeing it as a beneficial option for them.
The Hybrid model
While the hybrid model is being championed as the ideal way for a flexible future of work, it encompasses plenty of possible systems. No one organization will have the same hybrid model in place since every business will have a unique set of circumstances they need to work around to ensure their model is successful. The idea behind hybrid work is to offer more freedom to employees on where to work and when they can work. It is supposed to grant the employees more autonomy to fit around their daily lives, instead of structuring other parts of a weekday around hours logged in an office.
Most employers are considered the best of both worlds, with the independence and flexibility employees crave still remaining. But employers managed to get the structure and sociability that they previously held before the pandemic hit. Recent research has shown that employees seem open to the idea of a hybrid work model.
According to a company report published by Accenture, over 83% of employees stated that a hybrid work model in which they can work from home between 25% and 75% of the time is favorable to them. Moreover, 40% of employees stated they are more productive and healthy in any location, while 85% of those particular individuals stated they plan to remain with their company for a more extended period.
The study has further revealed the reasons why some employees wish to return to their office space instead of remaining remotely full-time. The two primary driving factors for the return of the office space are due to easy collaboration on projects and better access to technology, something some companies have been struggling with due to the nature of their industry.
Although, the study has shown that not everyone may share the desire for a hybrid work mode, especially among the different generations of employees. According to the report, over 74% of GenZer wish to continue working in-person for more collaboration opportunities, whereas 66% of GenXers and 68% of Baby boomers have stated the same. The study has even discovered that a number of these employees have claimed to feel disconnected and frustrated that they don't have access to the proper resources. Autonomy, technology, and supportive leadership have become increasingly challenging for certain employees to access while working off-site.
The employees’ role
Studies like these are showing us that while a hybrid work model is being embraced by many, there is still some reluctance to adopt it. The role they have in the organization may not allow them to work entirely off-site. Some jobs require the employees to work at the office space since they won’t have access to the necessary equipment and resources they require to accomplish their tasks. Collaborations can be more challenging due to the nature of virtual meetings.
Zoom fatigue is a thing that has occurred throughout the pandemic. Plenty of people are exhausted from using video conferencing platforms to conduct their meetings. In-person, meetings are better suited for people who need to collaborate over projects that require a more hands-on approach. Hence, why not everyone is overly excited about the possibility of remaining remotely or hybrid for that matter.
Business leaders need to take the time to consider who is allowed to work off-site and on-site. Some roles are just not suitable for remote working and will require employees to come in to do their tasks. For example, assembly workers need to be there physically to attend to the work. However, accountants can continue working from home since the only thing they’ll need is a working laptop and internet connection.
Companies need to take the appropriate steps to better support a hybrid work model. That includes updating work policies, designing work around particular employees, developing digital flexibility, and leading with empathy.
How do managers feel about this
Managers have been the ones in charge of leading their teams throughout the pandemic. They had a rougher time adapting to the roles of remote working than anyone else. After all, if the team required guidance on something they were unsure of, they would reach out to their manager for assistance. Managers had a tough time making it through the pandemic. Most of them did not have any experience or skills to run a remote team.
Some of them have suffered through mistakes here and there, with team members not collaborating or working together as much as they should have. That has led to tons of resources appearing that would assist them throughout the pandemic. Of course, even with the bumps in the road, managers were successful enough to continue running their teams and help the organization maintain its operations.
Managers and supervisors were the real champions in making the remote work model successful throughout the pandemic. They were the ones who succeeded at setting the tone for their teams. However, not everyone in management positions is excited about continuing the remote work model. Some managers may be fie with the idea of having their teams report to them remotely, others would prefer to meet with their workers in person.
However, managers are starting to feel the pressure, and their stress levels are reaching an all-time high. In a survey conducted by Gartner, it was revealed that over 40% of managers were said to have been feeling higher levels of stress and were putting in far more hours into work than they were before the pandemic.
It’s understandable why this has managed to occur among many managers. Remote and hybrid work has increased the pressure on managers to spend more time coming up with ways to improve the work environment and keep track of everything happening on their teams. With the introduction of a hybrid work model, they are going to be dealing with two separate methods instead of one, and that is where problems start to appear.
Furthermore, employees who are out of sight for too long will start to become distant memories in the minds of the manager. Throughout the pandemic, nearly half of employees were feeling unrecognized and overly concerned that their work was not being noticed. Feeling overlooked when managers barely have any visibility into the work done is a well-documented case of cause and effect. The impact of these actions is severe, not just for the team's morale but the organizations as well.
With the upcoming changes being made by most organizations these days, managers are going to have a more troublesome time running their teams. Not everyone has managed to get a good enough handle on managing their remote teams, and the changes made by the organizations could upset what modicum of balance they have managed to achieve so far. For a hybrid work model to work, organizations need to be proactive in assisting their management teams and provide them with the assistance they need to handle the upcoming changes.
The Hybrid work model is going to change the way people do business, but it might not work well for everyone. Some people will continue to crave working in the office space for many reasons, while others will prefer working off-site. Business leaders will need to carefully plan their steps when setting up their hybrid work model. They need to ensure that it’s something they can handle on all levels of the organization.