Report unveils pros and cons of hybrid working

The upsides and downsides of hybrid working have been revealed in a new report looking at the pandemic-induced evolution of the workplace and the changing attitudes of employees.

Woman working from home while children do homework in evening
Based on a survey of a survey of 7,261 hybrid workers in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Poland and the United Arab Emirates, the Evolution of the Workplace report found that 58% of them now considered they were at the beck and call of their employers at all hours.And while many enjoyed the benefits of hybrid working, they also felt they were missing out on the interactions that came with working in an office, according to the report produced by Poly, a US-headquartered video and voice solutions provider.
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'Always on' cultures 

Paul Clark, Senior Vice President of EMEA sales at Poly, said, “Our research found that workers felt that the rise in remote working has meant they are ‘always on’ and always available, leaving them unable to relax or switch off from work.“And while many are enjoying the benefits of hybrid working – the work-life balance, lie-ins and family time – others are feeling side-lined and disconnected."For example, 52% think hybrid or home workers could be discriminated against or treated differently to employees in the office full-time."

Office stress

Nevertheless, the research also found that many felt anxious about returning to office life: 42%, for example, admitted they would be prone to "noise rage" if colleagues were too loud.Younger workers – many of whom entered the workforce during the pandemic – felt anxiety over working in an office particularly strongly. Of the 62% who said they had never been to their new offices, 72% said the very idea of having to go in was keeping them up at night.Paul Clark commented, "For hybrid working to be a success, these issues must be tackled head on. Companies need to continue to put their employees at the centre of all that they do and provide them with the tools they need to accomplish their jobs in this new environment.” 

Hybrid work plans

The research found that more than four-fifths of respondents intended to spend at least one day a week working from home in the immediate future, with just over half planning to split their time evenly between office and home.The report said: "One of the drivers for this shift is the emergence of ‘anytime working’ – whereby employees have greater autonomy over when they do their work – with over two-thirds of employees (69%) saying the 9-5 has been replaced by anytime working."When asked about the benefits of working from home, the top three responses were: avoiding lengthy commutes, achieving a better work-life balance and feeling less stressed.However, said Poly, while many workers have reaped the benefits, working from home has not been a smooth transition for everyone. "Worryingly the lines between anytime working and being ‘always on’ are blurring."Added to this, being expected to work outside of their hours was listed as the second biggest drawback of working from home – after having less fun with colleagues."

Further findings 

The research also found that:
  • difficulty collaborating, lack of IT support and lack of equipment were among the top five drawbacks of working from home, suggesting many employees have not been provided with the right tools to work effectively.
  • nearly half of respondents said they were worried about missing out on learning from peers and seniors while working from home.
  • some 52% believed hybrid or home workers could be discriminated against or treated differently to employees in the office full-time.
Mr Clark commented: “Anytime working should not be confused with being always on. The organisations that promote a healthy work environment and empower anytime working will see a much happier and more productive workforce."This is especially important as we are experiencing the ‘Great Resignation’ phenomenon, where people across industries are leaving their jobs due to the pandemic. Businesses cannot afford to lose talent so must offer the best working experience possible to all its employees, no matter where they are located.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted

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