- According to recent surveys, the vast majority of companies have no plans to reduce hybrid or remote work options for employees.
- A survey of 1,100 companies worldwide by The Conference Board found that only 3% of U.S. CEOs intended to decrease remote work availability. By contrast, 5% planned to increase it.
- The sunk cost fallacy can lead leaders to continue an unsuccessful hybrid workplace policy rather than getting needed advice and training to improve their approach.
While prominent companies like Amazon, Disney, and Starbucks have made extensive headlines for recalling employees back to the office, such news coverage does not reflect most businesses’ stance on working from home.
According to recent surveys, the vast majority of companies have no plans to reduce hybrid or remote work options for employees. These eye-catching headlines are thus more likely to generate clicks by stirring anxiety in employees wary of mandatory office returns rather than signaling an impending end to remote work.
A survey of 1,100 companies worldwide by The Conference Board found that only 3% of U.S. CEOs intended to decrease remote work availability. By contrast, 5% planned to increase it. For instance, Elon Musk initially ordered all Twitter employees back to the office but later reversed course, closing Twitter’s offices and directing employees to work remotely indefinitely.
Moreover, many employees strongly oppose return-to-office mandates, with some even forming unions in response. Such trends suggest that the forced return to office is unlikely to last and may well reverse within months.
Overall, 2023 will likely see remote work expand slightly for most companies. This data indicates that hybrid workplace models have proven an effective solution for the majority of organizations. However, the way a company handles their remote work strategy has a huge impact on its success.
Case Study: Hybrid Workplace Success
A large financial services company successfully transitioned to a hybrid workplace model. Before COVID-19, this company followed a traditional in-office work policy. However, as the pandemic hit, the company quickly shifted to remote work to ensure employees’ safety.
As the pandemic continued, the company realized that remote work not only remained effective but also boosted employee satisfaction. The company thus adopted a hybrid workplace policy allowing employees to work both remotely and in-office. This approach has enabled the company to operate efficiently while accommodating employees’ differing needs.
Case Study: Hybrid Workplace Challenges
A mid-sized IT services company initially struggled with the transition to remote and hybrid work as their industry relies heavily on in-person client interactions. The company soon found that limited collaboration and communication between remote and in-office employees hampered productivity and satisfaction.
To address these issues, the company brought in consulting help. Following the consultant’s recommendations, the company implemented regular check-ins between managers and employees as well as clear communication and collaboration expectations. These measures stabilized the company’s performance, and the hybrid workplace policy now works well.
Benefits of Hybrid Workplace Policy
A hybrid workplace policy offers significant benefits, including increased flexibility and productivity. A Mercer survey of 800 HR leaders found 94% reported equal or higher productivity with remote versus in-office work. A two-year survey of over 800,000 employees by Great Place to Work showed a 6% productivity increase on average after shifting to remote work during the pandemic.
For less productive remote employees, measuring productivity can identify those needing additional coaching or support to succeed remotely, possibly including returning to the office. Remote and hybrid work also enables better work-life balance and satisfaction by allowing employees to work from convenient locations without commutes. A Cisco survey of 28,000 employees found 78% reported improved well-being from remote and hybrid work, especially younger generations.
Additionally, the hybrid workplace policy can reduce costs by decreasing office space needs and associated expenses.
Cognitive Biases and Hybrid Workplace Strategies
Implementing a hybrid workplace policy still poses challenges, including cognitive biases impacting decision-making. The availability heuristic, or tendency to rely on easily available information, may lead leaders to depend too heavily on their own experiences with remote work rather than considering their organization’s unique needs and circumstances.
The sunk cost fallacy, or tendency to persist with prior decisions due to invested resources despite a lack of ongoing effectiveness, could also lead leaders to continue an unsuccessful hybrid workplace policy rather than getting needed advice and training to improve their approach.
The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled companies to reevaluate how they work. For many, the hybrid workplace policy has emerged as a flexible and adaptable solution. However, leaders must be aware of potential cognitive biases impacting their decision-making when implementing a hybrid workplace policy. With careful planning and regular reassessments, companies can overcome the challenges of the hybrid workplace policy and achieve stability.