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Much of the business world is in uncharted territory in 2021 and beyond. Many employers want their workforce back in the office but many employees wish to still work from home.

This puts the post-Covid future front and center on the minds of companies. The resulting vision for many employers is a model that combines office time with remote working.

This vision brings in the new hybrid work model. This model allows employees to work from home part of the time and come into the office between 1 and 4 days a week.

Employees and employers who took the Remote Work & Compensation Pulse Survey in May 2021, 48% expressed a desire to be fully remote. 44% of employees favored hybrid working arrangements. Among employers, 51% support the hybrid work model, while only 5% mention fully remote work as a possibility. 

What is the definition of hybrid work?

Generally speaking, a hybrid workforce consists of employees who work remotely and those who work in an office or a central location. Workers can decide where they are most productive – or choose a combination of both – based on their preferences.

This means some employees will only work remotely from home. While other employees will only work in the office. Finally, some employees will work at home for 2 or 3 days and work in the office for the other remaining days of the workweek.

This hybrid work model is seeing an explosion in popularity.

Many employees enjoy working from home most of the time but they also crave human interaction with their coworkers. These are the types of interactions they can’t get in a video zoom meeting.

Hybrid work models are used by 63% of high-growth companies  

An Accenture report noted that regardless of where you are located, ensuring your workforce is healthy and productive will yield bottom-line benefits. The report found that using productivity anywhere hybrid workforce models are embraced by 63% of high-revenue growth companies.

69% of companies with negative or no growth reject the concept of hybrid workforces and prefer all onsite or all remote employees.  

Workers prefer a hybrid model 83% of the time.

Gen Z employees want some form of onsite work

Gen Z employees want to experience onsite work in some form, Accenture’s report reveals, despite growing up in an era of selfies, texting, and virtual reality.  

More than 74% of Gen Z respondents prefer interacting with colleagues face-to-face, followed by Baby Boomers (68%), and Gen Xers (66%).  

Will compensation change for remote employees or hybrid employees?

A recent remote work survey by salary.com also found the following. 92% of employers do not have a system in place for determining compensation for employees who work remotely only part of the time. 

For 72% of employers, there is no formal method for determining compensation for remote workers.

Over 97% of employers report they won’t reduce pay for partially remote employees. However, 21% of employers would adjust their salaries with respect to an employee’s contribution, geographical location, Has well as concerns about company culture.

During the pandemic, 9% of employees relocated to another location making a return to the office full-time impossible.

In a survey of 94% of employees, they believe that salaries should be determined by skill set and not where they are located.

In determining remote pay for new hires, 25% of employers take different factors into consideration.

Employers surveyed said they would consider the following factors when determining pay:

  • Competitiveness outside the organization (67%)
  • Competitiveness outside the organization(58%)
  • Cost of living expense (43%)

34% of employers surveyed said they wouldn’t hire a fully remote employee in a different geographic market at the same rate as an on-site employee.

Hybrid Work Model Statistics Explored

The Pulse of the American Worker Survey found that 87% of people want to work from home at least 1 day of the week. 68% of American workers say the ability to work remotely and on-site is the perfect work model.

Only 8% of remote employees are willing to return full-time to work after the pandemic, according to the Remote Work & Compensation Pulse Survey. While 48% of workers want to work from home permanently, the remaining 44% want to work from home part of the week.

If their compensation was lowered due to them working remotely, 83% of employees would leave their current job the same survey found. 

55% of respondents from a study by Stanford want to spend some time in the office and some time at home. 25% of workers in the study want to work a home full time and 20% of workers only want to work in the office. 

The study also found that certain employees would try working from home, but would soon discover that it was too lonely. Some also became addicted to one of three things the television, fridge, or bed, and ended up returning to work in their office.

A recent survey by the economist found that 34% of respondents said that face-to-face interruptions from colleagues was the biggest reason they lose focus at work.

36% of respondents indicated that they felt more focused working at home than in their office, compared to 28% who reported feeling less focused.

Does this mean the hybrid model of work may be the superior choice for many businesses? At this point, it may be too early to say but the next couple of years will let us know for sure.

Assessing which roles are most suitable for remote working, onsite working, or hybrid working is important. This will assist in establishing the long-term goals and ambitions for work in the future.

Does the hybrid work model cost more for employers?

In a recent survey conducted by Prudential Financial Inc., 34% of workers said their employers should provide resources to establish a home office.

33% of workers said they should be reimbursed for expenses related to remote work. 

The Remote Work & Compensation Pulse Survey by salary.com found that 51% of employers expect employees to have to return to the workplace. However, they will give them flexible options to work remotely part of the time. 

If employees have the option to work in the office full time should employers pay these work from home costs? Businesses will need policies in place when addressing these questions by their remote and hybrid workforce.

Having the same systems for both office and remote work could cost employees double for some of the equipment needed. A few of these include phone systems, fast internet access, security, and more.

Employers will also have to take into consideration hiring remote workers from states where they don’t have an official office presence. This will include potentially paying higher unemployment tax rates, and navigating new employment laws in the state where the employee works.

Employees in some localities could face double taxation due to conflicting state laws.

When crafting policies and establishing guidelines there are several things to consider.

Businesses should carefully plan and check what specific requirements states require in the locations they plan to hire remote workers.

If businesses are looking for contract remote workers staffing agencies can take care of these issues for them.

On the flip side, businesses will require leasing less office space if there are fewer employees in the office on a given day. Employers should also consider negotiating some type of rent deferral or abatement in new leases.

They should do this in case the state or government says they are not allowed in the office due to a future pandemic.

What are the building blocks to support a hybrid work model?

Leadership, purpose, and culture

  • Refining and redefining the organization’s purpose will inspire members of the team and drive performance.
  • Articulating and activating the culture required to build engagement, drive performance, and reinforce the organization’s purpose.
  • Help develop leaders who support the organization’s culture and purpose.

Embrace new ways of working

  • Getting to know your employees is vital. Survey your staff to find out how and where they get their work done.
  • Establish new nimble team structures and processes so that each can collaborate to its full potential.

Adapt roles and structure

  • Structure and roles should be adapted to maximize employee and customer satisfaction and empowerment.
  • Streamline the target customer experience using support platforms and increase the speed and scale of operations. 

Workspaces and systems

  • Workspace and systems should be redesigned to support hybrid working models, taking into consideration the needs and activities of employees.
  • In order to support the digital transformation, invest in smart workspaces and digital infrastructure.

Conclusion

78% of HR professionals surveyed by Crain’s Future of Work survey say flexible schedules and remote working are effective ways to retain workers without spending money.

Many companies will need to adjust their business model in order to compete. The Hybrid work model is a good way to stay ahead of the game, keep employees engaged, happy, and contributing effectively to the companies bottom line.

The tools required to maintain team accountability and focus are also crucial for hybrid teams. By focusing on outcomes, rather than output, leaders will be able to ensure equal treatment of employees whether remote or in the office.

A hybrid work model can be a win-win situation for both employer and employee. It allows employers to hire talented people without having to spend as much on office space or other overhead costs.

For employees, the opportunity comes with certain benefits like having the flexibility where they can work or who to work with on a daily basis.