Flexible was first introduced in the 1970s mostly for parents and workers in certain careers that needed more flexibility during work. Although flexible work evolved and started to be more prominent in the workforce over time, the COVID-19 pandemic truly managed to accelerate the process. Now, it is almost impossible to have a company without having a flexible work system implemented.
What is flexible and hybrid work?
Flexible work is a step back from the traditional 9-5 schedule that was popularized in the 1920s. Flexible work allows for employees to manage their own work schedules and decide when they will work, where they will work, and how they will work, meaning that it is their choice that is prioritized. Usually, employees will split the time between working from the office and working from home.
Hybrid work is a part of flexible work, but with an emphasis on not going fully remote. The hybrid work model has many different variations, but they mostly consist of having a specific amount of time at home and in the office. In a hybrid work environment, workers will come to the office according to work requirements and personal preferences, on the schedule that works best for employer and employee. The hybrid work model a popular choice, as it gives people the freedom to work in their own personal environment, as well as the opportunity to work alongside others in the office.
Who is hybrid and flexible work for?
According to a survey, 92% of Millennials identify flexibility as a top priority when job hunting. Today, it is almost impossible to have an office without some kind of flexible work model plan. Flexible work is for anyone that works in an office or at a company where the work can be done remotely. Evidence suggests that leaders are more likely to think that providing employees more control over how they work can be beneficial for everyone involved. Employees are taking the opportunity to prove that flexibility and productivity can be achieved together. Although not all positions and not all employees may be suited for hybrid work, there is definitely room for some flexibility in most positions.
Why should your business consider hybrid/flexible work?
A flexible work model is essential in today’s world. Evidence suggests that companies experience improved productivity and better employee retention rates. Flexible work policies are also a competitive advantage for attracting new talent.
It might be tempting to stay stuck in the 9-5 world where you’re able to keep a close watch on your employees, but studies show that even introducing a little bit of flexibility in the workspace can have very positive results on productivity, which would benefit your company in the long run.
Stats to keep in mind:
- In a 2020 Gartner ReimagineHR Client Survey, 80% of workers expect to continue to work from home at least three days per week
- 51% of responses reflect the preference to work from a location of choice (home office or other location) and employer office on a weekly schedule
- By 2022, 45% of the workforce will be working from home two to three days per week
- By 2023, the percentage of employees in shared seating will increase to over 40%
Is hybrid work sustainable in the long run?
The hybrid work model is a very sustainable option for your company for a couple of reasons. Besides increased productivity, a hybrid work model can also decrease your business costs. A typical U.S. employer can save $11,000 a year for each employee that works remotely 2-3 times a week.
The savings come from things such as:
- Reduced real estate costs: In the traditional work model, real estate costs are based on accommodating as many people as possible in one space. If your business grows, you will need a bigger space to accommodate more staff. With a hybrid work model, you will only need a certain amount of space that people will share based on their frequency of in-office work. Switching to an activity-based work model, alongside part-time remote work is a great way to save up to millions in real estate costs.
- Reduced absenteeism: In a hybrid work model, people who are absent because of illnesses can have the opportunity to still do work if they feel up to it, without the risk of getting other employees sick. It is also easier for employees to attend personal or family appointments when necessary, and reduces stress. A decrease of 30% in absenteeism levels would represent savings of $1.2K per employee.
- Reduced turnover: With increased employee satisfaction, businesses can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in a reduction to employee turnover. The money spent on recruiting, training, and onboarding a new staff member could be saved by reducing the need for turnover. A 10% reduction in turnover could mean savings of over $500K per year per 1,000 part-time remote workers.