In a Hays survey, more than half of employers said they are preparing for staff to work both remotely and in the office, while few expect a remote-only arrangement to continue.
Many workforces in the coming months and years may fully embrace the concept of working from home, but a hybrid model will emerge where some staff are based in the office and others are remote, according to a new survey from Hays. In the survey of 13,500 professionals and employers in the UK, 55pc of employers said they expect staff will transition to a new era of part-remote and part-office working.
Although some companies have announced that staff can work remotely for the foreseeable future, only 3pc of employers surveyed expect their workforce to be fully remote in the next six months and only 11pc of employees would want to still be working remotely at that time.
Half of employees (51pc) said they would be happy with a hybrid model, while 22pc said they wanted to return to the office full-time. In terms of staff who have returned to offices, 44pc are using split shifts where teams alternate the days they work in the office and work at home.
Other measures put in place by companies include a voluntary return to the office (39pc) and staggered hours (33pc), where team members start and finish at different hours to avoid peak travel times.
A noticeable generational difference was found among employees who wished to return to the office full-time, with 34pc of those born after 1995 in favour of it versus 21pc among older, so-called Generation X and Generation Z employees.
‘Companies need to look to the future now’
Almost 55pc of employers surveyed are planning to change their flexible working policies to accommodate employees, while 32pc are retaining communication and collaboration tools installed during lockdown and 30pc plan to reduce their office space.
Simon Winfield, managing director of Hays UK and Ireland, said that companies returning to the office should only do so on a voluntary basis for now to accommodate employees who can’t return for personal reasons.
“However, companies need to look to the future now too,” he said. “There’s been a seismic shift with demands for sustained flexible working and this looks set to continue on a scale never seen before.”
Offering advice to employers on how to facilitate and manage a team working a hybrid model, Winfield added: “As more organisations start to work in a hybrid working arrangement, maintaining the company culture and ensuring communication is transparent needs to be a key consideration for employers.
“Remind your team that every employee – whether they are in the office or at home – has a role to play in sustaining the company’s culture for the next era of work.”