HR’s Role in Empowering a Highly Productive Hybrid Workforce

Author(s): LynnAnn Brewer

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By LynnAnn Brewer

Employees Expect Hybrid Work That Includes Remote Working Days

Employee expectations for remote work have shifted forward monumentally as the number one reason an employee changes or leaves a job. GitLab’s Remote Work Report (2021) discovered one in three employees will not return to the office if remote work is not offered.

Hybrid work is becoming popular as a way to balance employee and employer needs and consists of employees working both in-office and remotely. The Future of Work: A Hybrid Work Model reported 83% of workers preferred a hybrid work model. The report also found that 63% of high-revenue companies offered hybrid workforce models. In comparison, 69% of no-growth companies still required in-office work.

There are many benefits to hybrid work, however, many organizations are still concerned about productivity. There is also concern about burnout. Research can help address productivity concerns as it has found that hybrid work models show improved productivity. Reducing burnout involves HR empowering leaders and employees to deliver on their goals and balance work.

Benefits of Hybrid Models That Incorporate Remote Work

In 2021, many organizations transitioned to hybrid work because they recognized the increased benefits. Additionally, the World Economic Forum reported 67% of hybrid employees felt more visible and that their managers supported their growth compared to 49% of in-office employees. The hybrid model also allowed 72% of employees to receive more constructive feedback about their work versus only 57% for in-office employees. These benefits support improved employee experience, the second priority in McLean & Company’s 2022 HR Trends Report.

McLean & Company’s research on working from home and conversations with HR leaders also found significant organizational benefits to offering remote work such as operational continuity, reduced costs, increased productivity, engagement, and benefits to recruitment and retention. McLean & Company’s 2022 HR Trends Report revealed recruitment remains the number one priority for organizations this year. Hybrid work is a solid solution to addressing employee expectations, recruitment, and retention.

The 2021 Global Workplace Analytics and Design Public Group’s The Business Case for Remote Work reported a typical employer saves $11,000 per year for each employee that works remotely two to three days a week. The report found that most employers prefer hybrid models, resulting in one million dollars saved per thousand employees.

In a Hybrid Model, Remote Workdays Are Highly Productive

HR can report excellent news that employees working remotely in a hybrid model are highly productive.

The 2021 Global Workplace Analytics report, The State of Remote Work, found employees indicated fewer interruptions when they worked at home. Respondents reported losing 35 minutes per day to disruption in the office. Employees could complete more in a day due to a reduced commute. Case studies showed a reduction in absenteeism and turnover. The parent company to the University of Arizona revealed a 34% increase in productivity after implementing remote work. The report concludes that a 15% increase in productivity due to remote work would result in the equivalency of 75 new employees at no cost to the organization.

HR Plays a Key Role in Hybrid Success

The success of a hybrid workforce depends on HR. HR must assess the current state of work-from-home, help leaders and teams build trust, and build a hybrid in-office and work-from-home program that maintains a positive employee experience by:

HR Must Help Employees Strike a Balance

Hybrid work creates a need for HR to develop programs and policies to allow employees to disconnect. Employees' space away from work is crucial to ensuring the work-life balance needed for positive employee experiences.

HR can support employees in developing space for accountability and self-compassion, which are essential factors to remote employee happiness and productivity (ACM, 2021). The new hybrid work transition has increased the blur between work and home, resulting in more hours on the job. In addition, media reports revealed that hybrid workers are working longer days. Therefore, HR must make sure that the work-from-home strategies support employees' wellbeing and work-life balance and the ability to disconnect and recharge to sustain productivity.

The hybrid work environment is here to stay and expand because of the many benefits to employers and employees. HR's key role is working with leaders in selecting a model that will work with their employees’ expectations and sustain productivity without burnout.

McLean & Company Sources:

2022 HR Trends Report

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