WFH flexibility directly impacts satisfaction
New research shows that employees with full autonomy to choose where they work are happier in their job, yet only one in five are able to do so. The 2022 Hybrid Ways of Working global report was commissioned by audio- and videoconferencing specialists Jabra and surveyed nearly 3000 workers across six countries to understand employee sentiment and motivation around the physical workspace.
The report found that while 63% state a preference for hybrid working, only 45% are able to flexibly split time between home and office. Employees say that being able to decide where and when they work positively impacts their wellbeing, happiness and productivity levels. As hybrid working is driving the reconstruction of physical working spaces, employers need to rethink their overall working models to ensure effective collaboration and employee satisfaction.
Work from home (WFH) or work from office (WFO)
We are entering the next stage of the hybrid working journey and employees have seen that a vast majority of them still excel at their jobs regardless of where they are. At a time when several large companies are calling for a return to the office, many employees are calling for more power to determine their own work arrangement and decide if they want to WFH or WFO. The majority (57%) of employees who have full autonomy to choose where they work are currently working a hybrid workweek. This is more than double of those who choose to work fully remote and more than triple of those who choose to work fully in office.
In addition, employees with full control over their work arrangement (where/when) unanimously report a higher work experience score (77%) than their medium (73%) and low autonomy (65%) counterparts. These differences are most apparent when it comes to feeling a sense of belonging, productivity, trust in leaders, work-life balance and mental wellbeing. There is also a split in opinions across generations, as Gen Z and millennials are more reluctant to work full-time in the office, with only 19% preferring a full office week, compared to 26% of Gen X and 30% of boomers.
Autonomy will be an essential part of improving employees’ satisfaction and engagement at work and key to stabilising the foundational pillars of organisational culture and success.
Office redesigns must be about more than physical spaces
Organisations are redesigning offices for collaboration, but the report shows that there are further considerations to bear in mind. Across all types of workers, there’s a desire to have a dedicated personal space in the office. Almost four in 10 workers say they’d feel less loyalty and commitment to their company if they didn’t have a regular, permanent workspace. Meanwhile, almost seven in 10 workers confess they’re creatures of habit: if they didn’t have a regular, permanent workspace in the office, they would still try to sit and work in the same spot every day.
In addition, the data shows that as the amount of time a given employee spends in meetings increases, so too does the preference for their home office over the traditional office workspace. Of those spending more than 50% of their time in meetings, 75% prefer their home office. With eight in 10 meetings now being either fully virtual or hybrid, leaders will need to think very carefully about how virtual collaboration technologies can help employees feel a sense of belonging both in the office and outside of it.
The rise of the ‘anywhere office’
Gen Z represents a generation not only of digital natives, but also of hybrid natives. Many began their professional career during the pandemic, so remote and hybrid work is all they’ve ever known. As such, 64% of Gen Z consider their ‘office’ to be their laptop, headset and wherever they can get a strong internet connection. This highlights the growing importance of technology in defining the employee experience.
These hybrid natives are also twice as likely as millennials, and almost three times as likely as Gen X, to say that their usual workspace is a ‘third space’, such as a co-working space, cafe or library. As Gen Z continues to take up a larger proportion of the workforce, organisations must understand these key generational differences in location preferences in order to attract the best talent and thrive in a work-from-anywhere future. Only by providing employees with relevant technology and support can they maintain productivity, employee wellbeing and the reputation of true professionalism from any environment.
A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.
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