Most companies plan to offer hybrid working post-pandemic

Business woman on a video conference in home office

The pandemic has changed the way we work, and the office is unlikely to ever look the same again.

Millions of people in the UK started working from home during lockdown. It's brought challenges ranging from finding the space and technology to work effectively, to managing time while juggling other responsibilities, and collaborating with colleagues and clients. But there have also been benefits such as cutting out the commute -- saving money and reducing stress -- and spending more time with family.

Of course, employees are far from being a homogenous group. Some will want to get back to 'normal' and work in the office five days a week, some will want to make a permanent switch to working from home, and some would prefer a 'best of both worlds' approach: flexible hours and remote working for some of the time, while also being able to work in the office.

New research from video conferencing technology company Owl Labs suggests that a so-called hybrid working environment will become the norm for many employees, as just 11% of business leaders expect their employees to return to the office full-time.

The survey of 2,000 business leaders in the UK, Germany, France and the Nordics found that the majority believe remote and hybrid working has been good for their business, with a positive impact on employee wellbeing (52%) and business costs (50%).

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of business leaders said that hybrid working makes companies more profitable, with larger businesses (1000+ employees) more likely to think so (73%) than small and medium-sized companies (55%).

Employers are also planning to explore progressive policies post-pandemic including introducing working from anywhere (42%), core working hours (39%), a four-day week (39%) and unlimited holiday time (22%).

So what will the post-pandemic work environment will look like?

Many firms are taking a cautious approach, with one in four (24%) planning to only allow those who have been vaccinated into the office, and over a third (38%) are considering providing onsite Covid-19 testing facilities.

The majority of business leaders (63%) aim to maintain the same amount of office space, even with the rise of hybrid work. In fact, just 11% are planning to get rid of their offices entirely.

And while many employees' priorities have changed, with a greater emphasis on flexible working, the same can also be said for employers.

When it comes to recruitment, one-third of organisations (32%) plan to hire employees who can work remotely, based on skill, rather than their proximity to an office.

The majority (93%) of organisations are putting policies and infrastructure in place to prepare for a post-pandemic workplace. For example, nearly half (42%) of businesses are investing in new tech and solutions to support a hybrid workforce, including communications tools such as Slack, Zoom and Meeting Owl conference cameras.

"It's encouraging to see business leaders across Europe embrace hybrid work post-pandemic," commented Frank Weishaupt, CEO of Owl Labs.

"We know that technology will continue to play a key role in supporting this permanent shift to hybrid work, and businesses that will be successful will create the infrastructure and workplace policies that enable their employees to maintain high levels of creativity and collaboration, wherever they dial-in from."

Posted by Fidelius on June 28th 2021

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