The Future of Work Has Arrived And It’s Hybrid

Two out of three office workers want hybrid work according to Envoy’s latest survey.

A year into the pandemic that’s changed just about every aspect of our lives, there’s finally an end in sight. The vaccine rollout in the US is underway and companies need to make their return-to-work plans a reality.

Last fall, Envoy partnered with Wakefield Research to survey employees in the US about returning to the workplace. We learned that nearly half of employees wanted a hybrid work environment after the pandemic. With many companies gearing up to welcome their employees back to the workplace, we wanted to see how their sentiment around hybrid work has changed.

In a new survey of 1,000 employees in the US, we asked people their thoughts on returning to the physical office. We learned:

  • How many people want to go into the workplace going forward and how they want to use it.
  • Who is most concerned about their health and safety going into the workplace.
  • Which employees would look for a new job if their employers didn’t offer hybrid work.

In this post, we’ll walk you through three of our key learnings. If you want to dig deeper into the survey results, head to Envoy’s website and read the full report.

1. The workplace is here to stay.

People have speculated about the desire for more work flexibility post-pandemic. The survey results make it clear: there’s a large demand for hybrid work across age, industry, company size, and office workers. One stat that definitely caught our eye is that 61% of office workers said they want the flexibility to work remotely during some of the workweek.

Here are some other employee demographics calling for a hybrid model:

  • 52% of Gen Zers; 48% of Millennials
  • 61% of employees in healthcare, medicine, and pharmaceuticals
  • 41% of employees in construction, manufacturing, automotives, and utilities
  • 48% of all respondents

We also learned that fewer than one-tenth of employees (only 8%) want a fully remote workweek. Workplace managers and executives should take note: the use of the office may change post-pandemic, but its function will be more critical than ever. Leaders should invest in evolving their workplace experience strategies and work closely with their employees to understand their needs in the new normal.

Two areas to lean into are collaboration and connection. Our survey results revealed that employees think some work is better suited for a collaborative environment. We asked what influences their decision to go into the workplace. The top factors include:

  • What they need to get done for work (39%)
  • Who else plans to be at the workplace that day (37%)

To encourage collaboration, create best practices on using shared spaces. This could include making policies around reserving conference rooms and other collaborative spaces. Don’t forget the folks working from home. Leverage workplace technology to optimize engagement between remote and on-site employees.

2. Employees remain concerned about returning to the workplace.

The number of people vaccinated is growing. Still, 66% of people said they are concerned about their health and safety going back into the workplace. Nearly the same number of people (62%) think employers should require people to get vaccinated to work on site. These are the employee demographics that are most concerned about returning:

  • 77% of office workers
  • 75% of Gen Zers
  • 82% of people of color

Now’s the time for employers to build trust with their people. Here are a few things to do:

  • Monitor workplace occupancy and enforce capacity limits
  • Give employees a range of workspace options so they can work where they’re most comfortable
  • Make cleaning supplies available throughout the workplace, especially in areas that get more foot traffic

Companies should share their return-to-work plan with employees and be clear about the work they’re doing to keep people safe. Regular communication is key to helping ease employees’ concerns about working on-site—concerns that can hamper their productivity and have a negative impact on their job satisfaction.

3. Companies must adapt or risk losing half of their workforce.

There’s a lot at stake for companies that don’t offer flexible work options. Nearly half (47%) of people surveyed said they’d look for a new job if their employer didn’t offer hybrid work. Here’s a look at which employees would hit the job boards:

  • 60% among Gen Zers; 59% among Millennials
  • 67% of office workers

For many employees, hybrid work is a requirement, not a nice-to-have. Employees may prove this in several ways. Turnover will be the most obvious and have the biggest impact on the company. But employers shouldn’t overlook the risks to employee engagement, productivity, and overall satisfaction.

The data is clear; companies must meet the needs of employees or risk losing new and existing talent to employers that do. Most employees don’t want to return to the traditional work setup. Employers should use this moment to think long-term and build a work model that attracts talent now and in the future. As they do, they should remember that for many employees safety and flexibility are non-negotiable. Interested in learning more? Read the full report here.

About the Survey:

Envoy partnered with Wakefield Research to survey 1,000 full and part-time employees over the age of 18 in the United States. Survey responses were collected between February 8 and February 16, 2021, using an email invitation and an online survey. The data was weighted to ensure an accurate representation of full-time and part-time employees. Want to see the full report? Head over to Envoy’s website.

This article was written in partnership with Envoy.

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