One Year of Hybrid Working: What We Have Learned

By Shawn Smith,

Published on Sep 4, 2021   —   3 min read


Despite its complications, hybrid working is here to stay. After one year of hybrid working, here is what we've learned and what should be the way forward.

With the workforce reentering workspaces after the rapid vaccinations, the hybrid model of work seems to be the potential future. However, with the adoption of an unconventional mode of work, there comes numerous novel challenges for business leaders around the world. Fortunately, the experience of the hybrid model of work gained in the last year could be extremely valuable in this regard. It’ll not only helps us to better understand various aspects and complications of the hybrid structure but will also be vital in carving out the way forward.

With the help of Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index, we’ll highlight the trends that prevailed in the one year of hybrid work along with insights on how business leaders can shape a more productive and less exhaustive hybrid work environment.

After one year of hybrid working, it was surveyed that 73% of the workforce wish to continue flexible remote working and 67% of the workers hope for more in-person team interactions. It clearly indicates that the majority of the workers want to interact with their teams while at the same time having the option to work remotely. Hence, a flexible hybrid working mode is what workers long for. It must be noted that though the majority of the workers crave to work remotely, they have been encountering issues like inadequate internet, absence of office supplies, etc. Which makes it an area to invest for business leaders to ensure the well-being of their employees.

The employer-employee gap during this one-year hybrid work experience as 37% of the global workforce felt that their employer has been asking too much from them. It was also noted that contrary to the workforce, their employers have been prospering well during this period.

The report also indicated drastic signs of digital exhaustion. The burden fell upon the workers rather than their employer, as they spent a higher amount of time in meetings and chats over last year. This resulted on 44% saying that they feel overworked, while one out of every five employees remarked that their employer shows negligence over their work-life balance.

Over the course of the last twelve months, Generation Z went through a weary period at work. They struggled to remain motivated, struggled to have a work-life balance, and they struggled with finances to properly set up a workspace at home. It was also noted that their input and engagement in work and meetings were considerably lower than others.

Interactions among team members climbedlast year, but the interactions with coworkers outside the team decreased significantly. Contrarily, these twelve months also made coworkers connect in a somewhat unprecedented way as 18% of the workers virtually met their families or pets of their coworkers and 17% have said that they cried with a colleague.

The move to remote work also opened new options for both workers and recruiters. It allowed the employers to review from a wider and diverse range of workers while it provided the workforce with a chance to work from any place and move without impacting their jobs. Remote jobs have financially empowered diverse and less streamlined factions of society. In the future, the trend of remote work will help recruiters to go beyond the ordinary confinements in hunting down the perfect talent from a diverse pool of candidates.

After experiencing the pros and cons of Hybrid working for more than a year, it is clear that despite its complications, the hybrid model of work is inevitable. Therefore, business leaders must act on the insights of this experience. It is essential that business leaders show an innovative and more productive hybrid structure that is not established at the human cost of their employees.

Here’s what business leaders can do to design a high-yielding, employee-friendly hybrid model of work:

  1. First things first! Chalk out policies. While designing policies, business leaders shall pounder upon the tiniest of the aspects in order to ensure a comprehensive plan. Importantly, the needs of the employees, their well-being, and psychological health should be taken into account, and should serve as objectives of the policies.
  2. The business leaders need to invest in the hybrid structure encompassing both physical and digital spaces. Essential digital tools must be provided by the company to all employees. The business leaders should also look to assist their employees in setting up a workspace at home.
  3. In the post-Covid business structure, digital exhaustion should be dealt with. Business leaders should hire more workforce and resources to shoulder the burden of their employees. In addition, extra meetings should be discarded.
  4. Business leaders shall also seek to nurture an environment that gives the employees a sense of belonging. Now, flourishing culture and social capital are needed more than ever. In this regard, proactive and deliberate efforts need to be taken. Lastly, good work from the employees should be rewarded with incentives to make the workers satisfied with their jobs.
  5. Talent is the backbone of a business. Without an employee-friendly business structure, a talented workforce cannot be retained. The employers shall consistently evaluate the experiences and needs of their workers and incorporate them into their policies. It’ll certainly give them an edge while competing for the best talent.
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