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Hybrid Work In 2022

Hybrid Work In 2022
The onset of COVID-19 brought about an unprecedented era of remote work.

Companies scrambled to develop systems to fully take their operations online. Remote work was seen as a temporary, uncomfortable solution. Over time, the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccines has allowed employees to begin returning to the office. Many companies entered a new phase of hybrid work, which many saw as a transition period from remote back to fully in-person operations.

Yet two years into the pandemic, hybrid work is here to stay. According to a study published in 2022, 74% of companies in the U.S. intend to adopt a hybrid work model permanently. When asked to rank their priorities in creating a post-pandemic work model, the vast majority of employers picked “employee health and wellness” as their top consideration. Employee productivity was a close second at 72%.

Hybrid Work: Pros and Cons

There are benefits to adopting a hybrid work model that goes beyond health and pandemic-induced precautions. Several studies have revealed that hybrid work increases productivity. According to a report by Oxford University Press, working from home can yield a 13% increase in performance and lower attrition by 50%. A summary report posted by McCain (2022) showed that companies noticed a 12% reduction in employee turnover when offering their workers a hybrid option.

The improvement in results seems to be attributed to a sense of autonomy rather than working remotely in itself. 63% of high-growth companies give their employees the ability to choose office or remote work; in comparison, 69% of negative or no-growth companies do not offer their workers a hybrid option and instead enforce either a remote or office-only model.

Companies that wish to go about adopting a flexible hybrid work model face major challenges. Coordinating work can be hectic if a well-designed system is not in place. Balancing autonomy for workers and stability of the workplace is an important step towards ensuring there are no gaps in communication or talent present. Integrating online team management systems, like Microsoft Teams or Azure DevOps, is one way to accomplish this.

What Is the Optimal Balance?

Hybrid work comes in various forms and ranges from mostly remote to almost entirely in the office. Some companies require their employees to come into the office as a default, but offer the ability to work remotely if requested. Other workplaces have their teams work remotely and only have strictly needed personnel on-site.

Most companies, however, seem to be adopting a By-Day model. Employees are given 2-3 days to work in the office, with the rest of the weekdays being remote. The most common split seems to be 3 days in-person at the office and 2 days working wherever they choose to.

A 3:2 ratio between office and remote seems to be a sweet spot for many notable companies, such as Google and Uber. However, Apple notoriously backtracked on its 3-day-office policy after receiving backlash from its employees and top talent resignations. The main reason for the backlash was simple: employees did not want to return to the office at all. Thus, a company-wide, permanent hybrid model applied to an ill-fitted company may create dissatisfaction and, in extreme cases, employee attrition.

A viable solution requires companies to take a case-by-case approach to creating their hybrid work model. Employees that prefer being in the office should be allowed to come into the office as much as they like. Conversely, those who prefer to work remotely and produce satisfactory results should be given the freedom to work from home. The underlying bad practice that companies should avoid is mandating a hybrid policy for no reason than solely having a policy; doing so risks upsetting both sides of the spectrum.

Does this mean that dividing one’s workforce into remote and in-person assignments would work? A 2020 report by Buffer and AngelList seems to support this idea. The survey found that 43% of employees currently operate under a partly remote hybrid model. This system favors large companies with various branches of work and clearly defined vertical organization. Typically, top management & HR would be in-office, while departments like IT, customer service, and marketing would be fully remote.

There is likely no universal optimal balance between remote and in-person work. Each company faces its own unique set of challenges and workforce demographic; finding what works and trimming the bureaucratic fat off of work policies is the key to finding the best hybrid model for you.

Thanks to its use of Azure DevOps and Microsoft Teams, NvisionKC operates under a flexible hybrid work model that protects its projects from disruption. Our Overland Park office employees may choose to work remotely when they feel it is appropriate, and some of our top team members work entirely remotely. NvisionKC offers the tools and first-hand expertise needed to help other companies smoothly integrate their own hybrid work model.

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