- There is a notable shift in the way teams and knowledge workers are organising their working week.
- Various surveys have found that hybrid work hits the right balance for employers and staff alike.
- Organisations seeking a more flexible approach to work also want to enable staff to work closer to home, which is prompting growing demand for office space in suburban locations.
Much has been said about employers adopting a hybrid work strategy as we emerge from the global health crisis.
But is hybrid work a trend that’s here to stay? Or is it a flash in the pan that’s set to be extinguished as soon as the pandemic subsides?
Companies and employees are continuing to establish some form of normality while navigating the current situation, yet for the immediate future at least, there is a notable shift in the way teams and knowledge workers are organising their working week.
According to a UK survey from Newflex, part of Newable, 30% of SME decision-makers state they would like a mix between office and home working, while 56% state they would like to work in an office closer to home.
Equally, companies appear to be prepared for this new work approach, with 66% stating their offices are set up and ready for hybrid working.
This comes as 71% of respondents say they have enjoyed working from home for the most part.
But it’s clear that home environments aren’t considered a permanent full-time solution.
47% say that home working has contributed to feelings of loneliness. As such, 85% state that human interaction in the workplace is important to them.
Even though working from home is not a complete solution, it seems a five-day office week isn’t the ideal scenario either.
Data from the Harvey Nash Tech Survey 2021 suggested that 79% of tech workers wanted to continue working three to five days from home after the pandemic.
In another UK study of 2,000 workers commissioned by Orega:
- 53% of office workers plan to work hybrid; before the pandemic that was just 20%.
- Only 17% of office workers will work from home every day. 18% of business leaders are happy for them to do so.
- 58% of businesses don’t want to downsize their office; 62% want to retain and increase their space.
In the US, a PwC survey of 133 executives carried out in January 2021 found that fewer than one in five said they want to go back to pre-pandemic routines.
Only 13% were prepared to let go of the office for good.
And a May 2021 survey of 1,000 US adults showed that 39% would consider quitting their job if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. What’s more, there is a clear generational difference: among millennials and Gen Z, that figure was 49%.
All things considered, hybrid work hits the right balance for employers and staff alike.
And despite the potential for spending less time in the office, this scenario actually offers fresh opportunities for flexible space operators.
Namely, many organisations seeking a more flexible approach to work also want to enable staff to work closer to home, which is prompting growing demand for office space in suburban locations.
Ultimately there are three core components that are coming together and driving a hybrid work strategy: flexibility, balance, and choice.
- Businesses need workplace flexibility to enable them to adapt to market conditions and resize their space as needed.
- Workers are seeking more balance from their working week, with time spent both at home (or near home) and in the office, depending on tasks.
- After 15+ months of uncertainty, ultimately workers want the choice to work when and where they are most productive.
However, to attract companies that are seeking to operate more flexibly, workspace operators – both flex space and traditional landlords alike – need to deliver on their clients’ needs.
And many are falling short.
Recent research from essensys found that only 13% of tenants felt landlords were strongly positioned to meet their requirements.
The four biggest disparities came down to contract flexibility; amenities and services; technology; and space design. According to the research, almost 70% of tenants would be prepared to pay a premium for workspace that met their new expectations.
Looking at all these findings, it’s clear that workers don’t want to be tied to the office 5 days per week (particularly when the office doesn’t meet their needs). But neither do they want to work from home every day.
Workers want the best of both worlds: a central office to collaborate and work, combined with the choice to work from or near home. With the right strategy, a hybrid work approach gives workers the choice and flexibility to do just that, and to integrate more balance into their working lives going forward.