Most employees want a hybrid working life

Just six per cent of British employees are prepared to return to the office full-time while almost one in four – 24 per cent – want to work entirely from home, a new survey has revealed.

Hybrid Working, a report from Ipsos Karian and Box which surveyed more than 500,000 employees across 95 countries, found that the vast majority – seven in ten in the UK’s case – want the flexibility to work on a hybrid basis.

More than two in three of those currently working on a hybrid basis claim that it affords them a better work-life basis, while 85 per cent appreciate the cost and time savings that derive from not having to commute.

But three in ten also claim that they hear more from their leaders when they work remotely while around one in four cite other unexpected benefits, such as faster decision-making processes, greater cross-discipline collaboration, and more communications.

However, the experience of junior colleagues differs from that of senior leaders. While 28 per cent of junior employees would prefer to work from home in the future, just one in ten senior leaders feel the same way. Indeed, leaders are 50 per cent more likely to experience higher levels of bureaucracy when they work remotely.

The survey points out that the balance of power within organisations has swung away from leaders as the labour market has tightened and staff retention becomes ever more difficult, which means that hybrid working has become a differentiating factor for employers.

Ipsos Karian and Box suggests four areas that companies should consider before formalising a hybrid employment structure. These are

  • Employee preference
    What type of working arrangements do employees want, and what happens if they don’t get their way?
  • Business outcomes
    How is the business impacted by different working arrangements?
  • Long-term cultural impact
    Does hybrid working bring a business closer or further from its target culture?
  • Operational considerations
    Do the employees’ roles allow for hybrid working, and can a business afford the costs of supporting remote or in-office working?

‘It is only by evaluating each of these areas that leaders can make evidence-based decisions on what the right future of hybrid working looks like within their organisation – and whether they can afford (or afford not to) embrace it,’ says the report.