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According to a recent survey conducted by job site Monster, more than one in four (26%) US workers would rather have a root canal than work in an office five days a week. In addition, nearly two in five employees (38%) said they would quit a job that required only one day on site. These staggering statistics show a clear shift in employee attitudes toward the traditional office environment, and companies that fail to adapt to this change risk losing their most valuable asset: their employees.
Like a very experienced expert in the field of hybrid work, I talk to 5 to 10 leaders every week about how hybrid work can well serve their needs. I ask them what their biggest concern is, and most say it’s about hiring and retaining talented employees.
External surveys say the same thing, like this recent one survey by Vistage from the leaders of small and medium-sized businesses. It found that 60% of SMB CEOs plan to increase headcount in the coming year, while only 7% plan to reduce headcount. According to Joe Galvin, Vistage’s Chief Research Officer, this is a significant shift from the trend of large companies making headlines with layoffs, as CEOs of small and midsize companies are reluctant to lay off their hard-won new hires. A major reason for this shift is the recognition that recruitment issues are impacting these companies’ ability to operate at full capacity. 61% of CEOs say hiring issues are a major concern for their ability to work effectively at full capacity.
Given this information, I confidently tell the leaders I advise that the future of work is flexible hybrid works model that enables full-time remote work. This model not only keeps employees happy and engaged, but also has a positive impact on business results.
Related: You need to let your team determine their approach to hybrid work. A behavioral economist explains why and how to do it.
Increased employee productivity and engagement
One of the main benefits of a flexible hybrid work model is increased productivity and employee engagement. Studies have shown that home workers generally work more efficiently and are less likely to suffer from burnout. A medium-sized IT services company I consulted implemented flexible work policies and saw a 20% increase in productivity among their home workers.
Home workers have the opportunity to create their own personalized work environment, leading to an increase in productivity. They can work from a location that is most comfortable for them, whether that be their home, a coffee shop or a coworking space. This leads to less distraction and more focus, resulting in higher productivity.
Flexible working also has a positive impact on employee engagement. When employees have the ability to work in a way that suits them best, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated. This leads to a decrease in turnover and an increase in employee loyalty and job satisfaction.
Access to a larger talent pool
A flexible hybrid work model also allows companies to tap into a larger talent pool. When companies are not limited by geography, they can attract and retain the best talent from around the world. A large financial services company I worked with struggled to find qualified candidates in their area, but having a flexible work policy allowed them to hire top talent from other parts of the country.
Flexible work policies also create a more diverse workforce, as it can attract candidates previously excluded due to geographic restrictions. This diversity leads to new perspectives, ideas and innovation.
Cost savings on talent
Flexible working can also lead to significant cost savings for companies. A flexible hybrid working model reduces the need for office space and can also lead to less absenteeism and turnover. A retail company I consulted introduced flexible work policies, and they saw a 30% reduction in absenteeism due to fewer employees being sick and a 20% reduction in revenue.
When employees have the option to work from home, this leads to a reduction in absenteeism, as they are less likely to be affected by things like traffic, weather or public transportation issues. This can also lead to a decrease in absenteeism and an increase in overall productivity.
Flexible working can also lead to less turnover, because employees are more likely to be satisfied and engaged in their work. This leads to lower costs for recruiting and training new employees.
Addressing cognitive biases
Cognitive biases can play an important role in decision making when it comes to flexible working. The status quo biasleads, for example, to managers resisting change and clinging to the traditional office environment. The sunken cost misconception can also come into play when managers are reluctant to change the way things have always been done because they have invested so much time and resources in the current system. By being aware of these cognitive biases and actively working to overcome them, companies can make more informed and effective decisions about their employment policies.
One way to overcome these biases is to collect data and conduct studies on the impact of flexible working on employee productivity, engagement and turnover. This can provide concrete evidence to support the implementation of a flexible hybrid working model. In addition, it is important that managers actively seek feedback from employees about their preferences for working arrangements and consider their needs and concerns.
Implementing a flexible hybrid working model
Implementing a flexible hybrid work model can seem daunting, but with the right planning and communication, it can be done successfully. It’s important to establish clear guidelines and expectations for remote work, such as setting specific hours of availability and ensuring regular communication with team members.
It is also important to provide the necessary tools and resources for remote work, such as a reliable internet connection and a secure virtual communication platform. Providing training on hybrid work best practices and technology can also help ensure a smooth transition, as can hiring a consultant hybrid work to guide your transfer.
Related: Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, is right. New hires are less productive in a hybrid work environment – but why?
The shift in employee attitudes toward the traditional office environment is undeniable. Companies that fail to adapt to this change risk losing their most valuable asset: their employees. A flexible hybrid work model that enables full-time remote work is the future for anyone who values employee retention, increased productivity, access to a broader talent pool, cost savings and overcoming cognitive biases. Now is the time for companies to implement this model. As a business leader, it’s important to recognize that the traditional office model may no longer be the best option for your employees or your business. By embracing one flexible hybrid working modelyou can retain top talent, increase productivity and save costs. The future of work is here and companies that adapt will be well positioned for success.