As some aspects of our lives are resetting, spaces that used to be everyday for us are now accommodating to the new reality to welcome us back. One example is the work environment in the United States, where businesses and companies are adjusting to hybrid work. Some people are already returning to the office, but the dynamics have changed to prioritize the health and safety of everyone.
To learn more about the new measures, CNBC conducted a new survey polling executives in top jobs at major U.S. companies, who indicated that the hybrid work model will be the trend. While it is an alternative that is here to stay. However, less than half of companies (45%) expect to retain this hybrid workforce model for the remainder of 2021; and one-third of respondents (32%) will continue to prioritize in-person work.
The Delta variant is still a threat in the face of vaccination efforts to get more of the population immunized. The economic and global public health crisis of the past year has taught enough for employers in the United States to now plan action plans. The survey found that 84% believe that employee health is very important in adjusting work plans. Similarly, 72% consider productivity a factor to be considered.
In addition, the CNBC study shows that 58% of the respondents take into account access to talent and another 58% are also concerned about the alignment of employees with the corporate mission to decide which work model they will follow. One of the advantages that served at the beginning of the pandemic to plan hybrid offices was the savings in real estate costs. However in the survey the cost of real estate or technology were not factors cited by the executives surveyed.
The survey results also indicate that for 50% of the respondents, diversity, equity and inclusion is one of the most important factors in this new post-pandemic scenario and the repercussions in the work environment. Similarly cybersecurity with 38% of responses in the surveys, and another 38% of interest in real estate/facilities costs.
Looking and understanding through employers’ eyes
Fifty members of the CNBC Global CFO Council, Technology Executive Council (TEC) and Workforce Executive Council (WEC) participated in this survey, which was conducted in June of this year. One of the details that respondents mentioned was the productivity of their employees, which continues to be a priority.
“The phenomenon that we’ve seen in the last 12 months…I call this hyper-productivity gone wrong. We’re working so much, we’re producing, we’re producing, we’re substituting our commute times with more hours throughout the day and eventually we hit a wall. We are burned out and we start to feel negative about our work, our teams, and our organization.”, said Tsedal Neeley, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.
Remote work as a preference and also a cause of concern
Another study conducted in May reinforces CNBC’s survey findings. The research found that 70% of companies prefer to remain in a hybrid work regime. The in-person and remote work model will be the new normal. Mercer’s career business principal, Lauren Mason, highlighted the advantages of remote work. “For many employers, despite the stressors of Covid, they have experienced increases in engagement and productivity. Continuing to offer flexibility on a permanent basis is viewed as a way to sustain high levels of engagement and productivity.”
Of course, there are some concerns about the reception of hybrid work, and about “pandemic fatigue” that may have impaired worker productivity, but to date there have been no changes to warn that it remains high. Forty-four percent of respondents indicate that productivity remains the same as before the pandemic, and 14% say it has increased.
Leaders’ preferences about their work preferences and those of their employees show striking differences. Sixty-four percent of employers surveyed said they highly value working with others in person, while 58% believe they value this in-person model for their employees. Of course, this situation varies from organization to organization; that is, there is no hybrid “one size fits all” approach. There are sectors that will have no choice but to work face-to-face, but some will continue to work remotely depending on their role and performance.
Working in an environment that provides comfort and, above all, safety, is important to be more competitive and generate better results. Although it is already a trend, there are still people who cannot access this digital environment due to a lack of resources. Faced with this reality, at eSmart Recycling we recycle computers and use part of the proceeds to give back in the form of computers to donate to underprivileged children and families. In this way, we ensure a more competitive future in the work environment.