May 2024

Does Hybrid Work Produce Hybrid Effectiveness?

As the constricting societal torture of Covid slowly eased off, a new controversy enveloped the working world – “to work or not to work online, that is the question”.

Recent statistics from Upwork reveal that nearly one quarter of Americans will be working remotely by the year 2025, but does that tell us whether a hybrid model is viable?

Employee Perspective

If, as Slack confirms, 72% of global knowledge workers say they prefer hybrid work and 80% of employees believe telework to be a perk (Global Workplace Analytics), then the trajectory appears to be clear, but is this borne out in productivity?

A 2023 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that remote workers save an average hour and twelve minutes per day by not commuting to work. This is confirmed by Global Workplace Analytics: a half-time telecommuter saves 11 workdays a year by not commuting. Finance-wise, the savings are between USD 600 and a whopping USD 6,000 a year for these commuters.

However, does everything smell of roses in the hybrid garden? Figures from Travelperk state that 51% of employees are concerned about burnout as a consequence of working from home, and a similar number of workers (56%) are worried about a lack of team spirit. As many as 60% of employees say they miss face-to-face meetings with teammates.

Clearly, when tending to the hybrid workplace garden, both employees and employers should be wary of potential thorns.

Employer Perspective

Risks faced by employers include the potential loss of employees if hybrid work is not implemented at all (or poorly) within the workplace. 95% of employers say telework has a high impact on employee retention (Global Workplace Analytics), and 46% of employees say they would look for another job if they were not allowed to work remotely (Owl Labs).

The good news is that not only employees but employers can also streamline costs with an average of USD 11,000 savings made on each telecommuter per year, according to Global Workplace Analytics. This is thanks to reduced office space costs, increased productivity, and lower absenteeism. 70% of employees believe that commuting time and stress is getting worse, and that their employers should take the lead in mitigating this problem.

What about productivity? There has been a fair number of conflicting conclusions from various research sources, but the general trend seems to laud hybrid work over fully remote work. According to Open Sourced Workplace, the hybrid work model has helped businesses increase performance by 22%, so perhaps everything in the hybrid work garden is indeed rosy.

For more details, get in touch with the authors, Head of Communication and Development Raf Uzar and CEO Małgorzata Kłębek.

Originally published Spring 2024 in GGI FYI