One of the key business insights to come out of a highly challenging past two years is just how effective remote working and hybrid working arrangements can be for all stakeholders.
Not simply a source of productivity benefits, hybrid plays a vital role in empowering a post-pandemic workforce that is searching for greater job satisfaction. However, this is only the case when hybrid is implemented as part of careful strategy that respects the requirements and expectations of both a company and its people.
Shining a light on the positives and pitfalls of the journey to hybrid, a new study co-authored by Jan Bruce of meQuilibrium and Jeanne Meister of Executive Networks, finds that employees fear being left behind in their career advancement if they are not working on site.
The study named “The New Hybrid Workplace, Built on Resilience, Transparency, and Trust, takes in the views of around 1,000 full-time professionals in the US.
“It is no longer true that being physically present in the office results in more opportunities for career advancement, as the past two years of remote and hybrid work have shown,” reflected Jane Meister.
“For those employees working hybrid or remotely, the avenues for increasing their visibility within the organization are not always clear-cut,” Meister continued.
HR policies have largely focused on supporting on-site workers, because they traditionally have comprised the majority of the workforce. In fact, before the pandemic, only 6% of those employed worked primarily remotely and about three quarters of workers had never worked remotely, according to North America’s National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI)
But as more employees experience the value and flexibility of hybrid work, leaders must re-imagine the business landscape and communicate these changes to every employee.
Well-defined policies and providing adequate support for all work environments can enhance employee morale and retention – the majority of business leaders (66%) said that their organisation has well-defined hybrid work policies, however, less than half (47%) of employees agree.
Poor communication and lack of employee support can have serious consequences, including burnout and intent to quit, illustrated by the 44% of respondent employees who said they lack clear hybrid work policies experience burnout compared to 27% of those who work in organisations with clear hybrid work guidelines.
It was found that workers in organisations without clear hybrid work guidelines are 60% more likely to look for a new job than those whose employers provide clear guidance.
Jan Bruce said:
“Burnout and intent to quit are significant, persistent problems that not only impact employee well-being but are detrimental to the entire organisation.
“Leaders should address misperceptions that hybrid work is less effective for one’s career advancement and relieve uncertainty among workers who are trying to succeed in the new workplace by providing essential support for all employees, whether they are remote, hybrid or onsite,” Bruce added.
Remote/hybrid workers who perceive they’re receiving less support than on-site employees were found to struggle more with burnout and lower morale, leading to a higher likelihood of resignation. According to the survey, 23% of those polled said they’re likely to look for another job in the next 12 months.
Meister and Bruce stated:
“Our research shows a disconnect between what leaders are communicating about hybrid work policies and what employees perceive.”
“Organisations that don’t provide clear hybrid work guidelines will find their employees much more likely to seek employment elsewhere than those who communicate clear direction and elevate wellbeing as a core component of the employee experience.”
ESG World Forum
Part of the Digital Trust Europe Series
ESG World Forum is a two-day, in-person event taking place as part of the Digital Trust Europe series. 2021 was widely considered “the year of ESG investing.” Given the importance society has placed on ESG issues following COP26, we are likely to see this growth trend continue throughout 2022.
ESG World Forum will bring together a range of leading ESG experts and executive speakers from a range of industries as every major company is considering ESG strategies.