By Rebecca Kelly, CEO and founder, VenueScanner
The pandemic has certainly taught us that we no longer need to be sitting next to each other to get our work done. We don’t even need to be in the same building, the same city, or even in the same country. Our work life is looking very different to that of two years ago – the traditional 9-5 office model has come to a rapid close and in its stead, we are seeing the rise of hybrid working.
But if you, like me, are struggling to work out what the best mix of home and office working should be as part of this hybrid model, then you are not alone. In fact, we recently conducted some UK employee research that revealed while 56 percent of UK employees want a mix of home and office working now that restrictions have eased and working from home is no longer a requirement, only 38 percent of businesses are actually set up for it.
This is clearly a challenge lots of businesses are facing. Especially when you consider 60 percent of workers also said they would leave their job if they couldn’t work from home or were forced to work in the office more than they wanted, while 33 percent would leave if the office was closed, or they were forced to work from home more than they wanted.
As part of our research into what workers want, we looked at what businesses can do to adapt and set up for this new way of working. Here’s what we found out:
Talk to your team
Firstly, talk to your team and understand what the right balance would be for them. Over 90 percent of employees told us they want to spend time with colleagues, but only 31 percent want to spend three days a week or more with them. In fact, two days a week was the most common preference. Find out if this is the case for your team and then talk to them about what would help them work together most effectively now both virtual and in-person working is available.
After 18 months of working remotely, our research revealed the importance of getting your teams together to collaborate, to create and most importantly, to celebrate. 94 percent told us that seeing colleagues on a regular basis now that the lockdown has ended is important to them, while 87 percent said meeting colleagues in person was important for their mental health.
This doesn’t mean businesses have to revert to the traditional 9-5 office model, it just means it might be time to think of more creative ways of getting your team together on a regular basis. And don’t underestimate the importance of the Christmas party – over a quarter of 18–24-year-olds also said they would consider leaving their job if the Christmas do was scrapped.
Rethink the office and adopt ‘space thinking’
Over 80 percent of employees told us that getting together regularly with colleagues would help boost their productivity and performance, but they don’t want to be sitting at the same desk day in day out, so why not consider moving some of your company’s day-to-day working to different spaces?
Mix things up and run your brainstorms from a coffee shop or a bar, look at having meetings in a shared co-working space, or simply get outside and take a walking meeting. In our experience, a more relaxed atmosphere allows for more creativity, more energy and increased productivity.
Adapting to this new hybrid model of working and getting the right balance of in person and remote work is already proving to be a challenge for many businesses, but we know getting it right is important when it comes to staff happiness and therefore retention and productivity. While employees don’t want or need to be in the office 9-5 anymore, they value in person contact more so than ever. Thinking creatively about how, when and where you are getting your team together will be key to making the hybrid model work for you.