A new survey of 2,000 workers by Robert Walters has found that 75% of 18-25 year olds see the workplace as their number one source of meaning and social connection but 42% will quit if remote working isn’t an option.
Robert Walters’ Guide to Hybrid Working: Obstacles and Solutions claims that ‘the under-researched and under-tested new hybrid working model has resulted in the UK workforce feeling overworked and exhausted’.
It found that, while 63% of companies have adopted or are in the process of implementing a hybrid-work model, 40% of employees think their employer’s hybrid working arrangements need to be improved and 55% do not think it brings balance back to their home and work life – with many claiming that hastily constructed working models have led to more intense working days due to the need to fulfil both face-to-face and virtual meetings.
The report also found that many employees are still in the dark about their employer’s plans for post-pandemic working – with 40% stating they are yet to hear about any vision, and a further 28% claiming that what they’ve heard remains vague.
Workers are very clear about their expectations, with 85% of UK professionals wanting more flexibility as standard to work from home post-pandemic, 78% stating that they would not take on a new job until this was agreed upfront with their prospective employer, and 42% saying they would quit if their employer didn’t offer remote working options long term.
However, with recent studies finding that employees working mainly from home were less likely to receive a bonus, get promoted or receive training than colleagues who spent more time in the workplace, the report urged employers to invest in culture and management.
“Our research shows that the diminishing social capital accessible through the hybrid or fully working from home model could turn the younger staffers into a ‘flight risk’,” said Chris Poole, MD of Robert Walters UK. “Additionally, talent retention is at its highest levels when employers invest time and effort in building and maintaining a workplace culture that prioritises social capital for employees.”
Tactics for boosting productivity and loyalty with hybrid working in the report include the following:
- Upskill managers: Remember the adage, “Employees don’t quit jobs, they quit managers”. So, equip your managers with formal training and techniques to maintain productivity and innovation among their hybrid teams. The Robert Walters research suggests 30% of companies in Japan are already investing in such training.
- Measure outputs: Organisations are typically good at measuring inputs, but many overlook the outputs. By measuring outputs, employers and employees gain a clear picture of productivity and can adjust their hybrid working arrangements accordingly. This also helps ensure high achievers are identified and rewarded – which improves talent retention.
- Empower introverts: Some people feel more comfortable suggesting ideas online, rather than at in-person meetings. Apps such as Slack and Stormboard can enable brainstorming among remote workers.
- Seize the moment: Spontaneous creativity can still happen when people aren’t in the same room. Working in a Google Doc allows colleagues to create together, simultaneously. And leaving video chat running while working remotely allows people to share ideas and thoughts as they come up.
- Maximise in-person working: Optimise the time people spend together by creating flexible workplaces and spaces that encourage experimentation and collaboration. Consult your people during the office design, and your premises will become an asset that helps attract and retain talent.
- Embrace new technology: Keep your eye on emerging tech solutions. For example, Zoom plans to launch a new Smart Gallery feature, using AI to allow three people in a physical conference room to appear on different cameras, giving equal time and opportunity for all participants to contribute their ideas.
A copy of the report is available to download at Symptoms of Dysfunction in Hybrid Working (robertwalters.co.uk)
Photo courtesy of Canva.com