There’s no denying it – the workplace is different post-pandemic. Many job-searchers now consider hybrid work a key requirement when choosing a place of employment. The pandemic also revealed how feasible hybrid work actually is: a Gallup survey performed in March 2022 states that approximately half of U.S. employees currently work at jobs that can be done remotely.
But even with the newfound popularity of the hybrid work solution, many employers still do not know how to operationalize it effectively. When done incorrectly, the hybrid work model can result in poor employee engagement, decreased performance, and lower overall satisfaction for both employees and employers.
If your business currently has a hybrid model in place, do any of these statements sound familiar?
“I don’t know why she’s complaining – she gets to work from home two days a week.”
“He was in the office every day this week. He’s really committed to this job.”
“I’d prefer that he work in the office so I can keep tabs on his progress.”
“Her kids are sick again? I doubt she’ll get much done this week.”
Each of the comments above reveal a dysfunctional hybrid work approach. Company leadership must change its thinking about hybrid work, and employees must take ownership of their work in order for hybrid work models to increase employee engagement, performance, and satisfaction. Let’s address each of these items below!
Many employees, such as parents or caregivers, juggle work responsibilities and personal responsibilities daily. Employee engagement drops when employees feel that their employers ignore or disregard their personal workload. And when company leaders fail to offer flexibility and understanding to employees, burnout and stress result. An effective hybrid work model offers employees the flexibility they desire and the ability to better balance their work and personal responsibilities. We see that employee engagement increases when employees know that their leaders support their wellbeing and want them to succeed.
Interestingly, employees who work in an office full time are not more productive than remote or hybrid employees. Check out these statistics: “77% of those who work remotely at least a few times per month show increased productivity, with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same period of time….”
These percentages indicate that it is not the location of employees that dictates performance; rather, we believe outstanding performance follows clear communication, leader focus, and empowering the employee.
The flexibility of hybrid work is directly tied to improved employee satisfaction. According to this study cited by Forbes, 88% of employees agree that the ability to choose whether to work from home or the office has buoyed their job satisfaction. Satisfied employees are happier, more productive, and more likely to remain at their workplace longer. We see satisfied employees as a main goal when operationalizing a hybrid work model!
While there are many individual factors at play when implementing a hybrid work model that works for each company, we believe these three guidelines set companies up for success:
Give employees individual say on their work schedule. While one employee might thrive being in the office four or even five days a week, another might struggle with a long commute or daycare obligations that remote work would alleviate. A rigid, mandated remote schedule typically does little to truly give employees flexibility.
Provide employees with the tools they need to make both remote work and office work comfortable. It is unrealistic to assume that every employee has a perfect work-from-home setup. Open the conversation to make sure employees have what they need to make remote work successful.
Offer opportunities for continued feedback. Employees need a voice, and they need to know you care. Ask for employee input on how hybrid work is going and how you can make it better.
Many companies struggle to identify approaches that improve engagement, performance, and satisfaction in the workplace. We Optimize Work helps leaders create strategies and operationalize hybrid work models that maximize employee experience. We’d love to work with you! Email email@example.com or contact our founder directly on LinkedIn to get started!