Companies 'must adapt' to hybrid work, poll shows

A global study has shown that a majority of employees now regard hybrid working as a higher priority than salary in choosing where they worked.

Workers in an office
The study, which has far-reaching implications for employers in the post-pandemic era, was conducted among 5,036 knowledge workers in the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan by Harris Poll for audio, video and collaboration systems provider Jabra.Based on the research findings, Jabra's 'Hybrid Ways of Working 2021' said that employers needed to restructure work environments to accommodate the shift in attitudes towards flexible working since Covid-19 struck.Nearly three-quarters of respondents in the survey said they now regarded having office space available as an employee benefit, rather than a mandatory way of working, with 71% seeing the office as a social amenity and place to collaborate.Holger Reisinger, senior vice-president at Jabra, said that the world of work was going through a significant change. “While companies were initially thrust into remote working with little or no time to prepare, the pandemic will have a permanent impact on working structures,” he said.“As companies look to evolve their hybrid working strategies, the research shows that by continuing to invest in the right technology and giving employees autonomy over the working day, organisations can deliver a better working experience for employees.“The companies that get it right will be the ones that don’t just listen to what employees want, but also understand why they want it.”Some 59% of employees said they now regarded flexibility and autonomy over the working day as more important than financial rewards.Meanwhile, the main reasons for people wanting to return to the office were team connectivity, motivation and equipment challenges.And despite the popularity of hybrid working, three-quarters of respondents harboured fears it could damage their career prospects, largely due to poor communication practices.Only 20% of global respondents - increasing to 25% in the UK - considered their organisations were well prepared for flexible working.Significantly, though, 84% employees agreed with the statement in the poll that “technology can help all employees have equal access to opportunities at work”, with 80% saying they would rather work for a company that "invests in technology to better connect the workforce in a hybrid working future”.Jabra said that, in the post-pandemic era, the right technology was more important than what it called “fancy offices in prime locations” when it came to attracting and retaining talent.

Read more news and views from David Sapsted

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