At 1MFWF, we always want to highlight what’s happening around the country and across the globe pertaining to work flexibility. While our own blog features regular contributions from experts on this topic, we also keep an eye out for great articles elsewhere on the web.
Here are some recent news items not to miss, including research showing that as remote work has transitioned into a post-pandemic hybrid model for some companies, productivity has increased.
Forbes, Joe McKendrick
Now that remote work has passed perhaps its most crucial test ever—the coronavirus pandemic—working from home has become a “key productivity strategy” for organizations across many industries. To a large degree, the past year put to rest the persistent notion that working from home means less productivity. One study found that 40% of workers surveyed felt they could be productive and healthy from anywhere. At the forefront of workers’ preferences was a hybrid work model that allows “either fully remote or onsite, or a combination of the two.” Some 83% of workers surveyed said they would prefer a hybrid model that allowed them to work remotely at least 25% of the time. One way employers can help is to make resources available to support remote workers and keep them connected to the organization and each other.
Harvard Business Reviews, Tim Minahan
The acceleration of the digital workplace went into high gear thanks to COVID-19, and one outcome is that workers’ expectations have changed regarding what they want from employers. A year-long study by Citrix, the multinational software company, led to three priorities regarding what knowledge workers want from employers going forward. An overwhelming majority of 88% said they expect flexible options to be on the table when they look for a new position. More remote options could have geographical implications, including a shift away from urban areas and to more rural areas, where “work hubs” could support employees looking to prioritize family and life outside of work. The survey also found that employees want their bosses to “re-imagine how productivity is measured,” and to work with teams that are more diverse “as roles, skills, and company requirements change over time.” Bottom line: businesses need to embrace new, flexible work models to attract and retain top talent.
Some Employers Establish “New Normal” By Changing Hybrid, Remote Work Policies As Staff Returns to the Office
Topeka Capital-Journal, India Yarborough
What’s the “new normal” in the post-pandemic workplace? With new coronavirus cases on the wane and vaccination rates on the rise, some employers are changing day-to-day work policies and environments for the long haul. Businesses are embracing new organizational structures that incorporate more time working away from the office, and many companies are doing away with old rules that put caps or quotas on how many employees could work from home. However, there are challenges that come with implementing the changes, like ensuring that remote workers have the support they need on both the technical front and when it comes to remaining connected with the team and on mission. For some organizations, that may mean investing more in training and in technology that supports working remotely and flexibly.
Marketplace.org, Meghan McCarty Carino
Many workplace indicators point to a hybrid work model in the future, incorporating working both remotely and in-office. But in some quarters, there’s a disconnect between employers and workers about just how that new work environment will look. Surveys by PwC, for example, found that many managers envisioned a hybrid model that called for more time in the office than employees wanted, operating on the belief that more face-to-face time would strengthen company culture and boost collaboration. Some employees, on the other hand, expressed reluctance to give up the flexibility they’ve enjoyed in the pandemic-transformed workplace. To mitigate the issue, managers should listen to their employees and, where possible, work to incorporate their opinions and preferences into new policies governing remote and flexible work in their organizations.
World Economic Forum, Graham Immerman
The physical nature of manufacturing usually requires in-person work, making the implementation of remote work policies a challenge. Case in point: about 46% of manufacturers put remote work policies in place during the pandemic, a significantly lower number than most other industries. Some of the key challenges manufacturers must overcome include assessing the status of production to determine if some tasks can be performed remotely, analyzing the health of equipment to figure out in real-time whether the machines are up to the task, and collaborating in the moment with onsite workers to give the entire team the tools and autonomy they need to make decisions quickly and efficiently. The three areas manufacturers must focus on to better embrace the possibilities of remote work include identifying which skills can translate to working remotely, ensuring that data collection and analytics are up to par, and ongoing training for employees.
Stay on Top of Workplace Trends
Workplace trends affecting remote and flexible work can have a significant impact on your company’s plans for implementing sound guidelines for your employees. Join the efforts of 1 Million for Work Flexibility and stay abreast of best practices for work flexibility that can help you retain workers and attract top-tier job candidates.