Why We Should Embrace Hybrid and Remote Work

The world of work is rapidly evolving around Hybrid and Remote Work trends. Organizations are increasingly turning to remote employees to fuel their workforce. Consider these statistics:

  • In the past year, almost 70% of full-time employees in the U.S. worked from home.

  • Close to 56% of companies allow at least some remote work.

  • A Gartner survey of corporate leaders found that 80% plan to allow employees to work from home at least part of the time.

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What is it that these companies know about hybrid and remote work?

They realized that working from home is now a critical way to gain an edge in business. Companies that can keep up with the remote work world experience a wide range of benefits for their company. However, those who cannot find maintaining an engaged and productive workforce difficult.

Here are some reasons why leadership should embrace remote work for their teams and some of the best practices to make remote work successful.

Reasons to Choose Remote or Hybrid Work

Organizations that have embraced remote and hybrid work the past few years found that their workforce and company benefited in a number of ways:

Wider Talent Pool

For a while, companies had their pick of skilled labor. It has become increasingly difficult, though, for businesses to attract and retain their talent.

In fact, experts estimate that by 2030 almost 85 million jobs will go unfilled because of a lack of talent. This shortage will cost companies $8.5 trillion each year in unrealized revenue.

Companies need to find a way to continue to appeal to top talent in such a competitive market. Attracting talent doesn’t always have to mean raising pay. Many workers would be willing to pass up a pay raise if it means working from home at least part of the time.

In a survey of over 3,000 employees, 64% stated that they would pass up a $30,000 raise to work from home. A different survey found that two out of three workers would take a new job if the commute were better.

Not only does it give companies more bargaining power, but leaders who can expand their search for candidates will be able to maximize their chances of finding top talent.

Hybrid and Remote work enables companies to hire across the country to find the right employees that can build their brand.

Retain More Employees

Finding the right talent can be a struggle for many leaders. However, attracting candidates is only part of the problem when it comes to building a powerful workforce.

Retaining your employees is a costly and significant problem for many organizations. The current generation of employees no longer stay at a job for 20-30 years like in times past. Instead, they will quickly leave a company that is not meeting their career objectives. A concerning 73% of employees in one survey said that they were open to new job prospects. Even more startling, 33% stated that they were actively looking.

Leaders who are hesitant to provide their employees with remote flexibility may find that their workers won’t stay for the long haul. One survey found that almost 30% of workers would leave their job if they were forced to go back to the office after remote work. According to a Gallup poll, 59% of employees that worked remotely in the past year stated that they would prefer to keep doing so.

On the other hand, companies who give their workers options are far more likely to get their employees to stay.  A study from Stanford University found a 50% decrease in turnover for companies that allowed working from home. In another study, 81% of workers stated that they would be more loyal to employers that provided remote or hybrid options.

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With the increase in competition for talent, leaders need to be protective of their own. Many other companies would be more than happy to give attractive offers to your employees that have the skills they need. Remote and hybrid work is one way that you can keep your talent with you.

Increase Diversity

The workforce of the future is diverse. It is not only more ethical, but it is better for business too. Different life experiences and perspectives enhance the workplace and enable creativity and innovation. Research shows that gender-diverse teams are 21% more profitable, and young employees are more likely to stay at a company that they think of as diverse.

However, the traditional workplace structure creates complex barriers to diversity. While remote work doesn’t automatically mean diverse, inclusive, or equitable, it can provide more opportunities for people who would not otherwise be able to work in the office.

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For example, Black candidates are almost twice as likely as other candidates to turn down a job offer that requires relocation if leaders don’t offer a stipend. Moving to a new city for work is not always financially possible for everybody. Organizations may be putting undue burdens on minorities by forcing them to make a financial investment to work in an office. However, remote work can make it possible for more diverse candidates to apply.

However, financial considerations are not the only reason why remote work is more diverse. In a 2018 survey of LGBTQ+ employees, 20% said that a coworker either implied or directly told them they should dress in a more hetero-normative manner. For some in the LGBTQ+ community, remote work can be a more comfortable and safer environment they can work in, away from the anxiety and pressure that can come from working in an office.

Accessibility is another strength in diverse remote work. About one in four American adults, or 61 million people, have a disability that can make working in an office daunting or even impossible. Remote work gives them the accessibility they need and asked for since technology made working from home possible.

Enhanced Productivity

There are many reasons why remote work enhances deep work and productivity:

  • Fewer distractions and office gossip

  • A relaxed workspace

  • Fewer interruptions

  • The ability to focus

No matter how much employers try to create a relaxing and productive environment, distractions are still around all the time. Every year, corporations lose $600 billion due to workplace distractions. Between overhearing coworker conversations to backaches from uncomfortable chairs to cold and stressful environments, productivity can suffer.

Many leaders worry that without someone there to ensure employees stay on task, productivity might fall by the wayside. However, research shows that the opposite is true. In a 2020 survey, 94% of employers stated that their company’s productivity was the same or higher during remote work. Their employees agree: in a survey of 4,000 remote workers, 95% said their productivity was the same or higher since working remotely.

Better Engagement

An engaged workforce is foundational to a successful company. When employees are interested in their work, invested in their company and enthusiastic towards customers, everybody wins. Research shows that companies with an engaged workforce are 21% more profitable on average than those who are not.

Remote and hybrid work helps support an energetic and engaged workforce. Those who spend 60-80% of their time working remotely are more likely to be engaged than their in-office counterparts. In fact, the less time they spend in the office, the more likely they are to report feeling engaged.

Part of the reason for this is most likely due to the boost in mental health. Employees without access to flexible work are nearly two times more likely to have poor mental health. The amount of stress caused by in-office work can also contribute to a lack of engagement, yet 86% of people in one survey felt that working remotely helped reduce feelings of stress.

A calmer and happier workforce is going to have the enthusiasm that makes them valuable to your organization.

Remote Work Best Practices

There are ways that you can ensure your hybrid and remote working team stays as engaged and productive as possible:

Get the Right Tech Stack in Place

Your employees need to have the right tools in place to ensure they can get their work done efficiently and make collaboration flawless. Make sure that your employee has video conferencing tools, file-sharing software, and a work from home platform that enables them to have a productive workday.

Concentrate on Training

Hiring the right people is critical to building a productive remote workforce.

However, they also need the necessary training to ensure they are as effective as possible. Focus on giving the proper onboarding and training experience so that they understand expectations, how to carry out their tasks, and what KPIs to focus their time on.

Get Team Meetings on the Calendar

Collaboration is still critical, even when working from home.

Regular meetings are the perfect opportunity for leaders to check in on their employees and get insights into what is going on for their workforce. If employees are running into challenges, team meetings are the right time to problem solve and come up with creative solutions.

Be sure to account for different time zones and circumstances. For example, parents at home with their children might need to have phone calls during nap time or when they are in the office so they can attend and be fully present. Be thoughtful to make sure everyone’s needs are met.

Focus on Company Culture

Remote work doesn’t mean independent work. Company culture is still an important aspect of engagement and ensuring that your employees still feel a part of the team. Keep your remote and hybrid workers in the communication loop and include them in team events and meetings.

Letting them be a part of brainstorming sessions and allowing them to contribute their ideas helps create a stronger and more diverse culture.

Create a Stronger Workforce with Hybrid and Remote Options

The capability to work from home has been around for decades. The technology was in place to allow employees the option to work from home. However, many organizations and leaders were hesitant to allow it. They feared that work would slow down without proper oversight, and they would end up losing money.

As more companies are turning to remote and hybrid models to support their workforce, leaders have found the opposite true. Instead, they can keep their employees happy, engaged, and productive while still keeping overhead down.

It’s time for leaders to embrace hybrid and remote work. Not only does it make for a happier work environment, but it can give companies an edge as they compete in a whole new world of work.

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]