78% of remote workers would like to continue working that way according to a recent study. The benefits of the work life balance that has been afforded to individuals has gone some way to understanding the need for flexibility when applying for roles, and it comes as no surprise that many organisations are adopting a more flexible working routine for their employees.
However, there are organisations insisting on the return to office full time, and research shows a significant increase in happiness levels and productivity for those presented with the ability to work in a more hybrid fashion. Could this indicate a more pressing issue with the office environment as opposed to employee performance and wellbeing?
We wanted to take a look at some of the myths which exist around hybrid working and bust some of the false assumptions made by companies insisting on an archaic view of employees having to be present in a HQ or main office every day.
MYTH #1: cONNECTIONS CAN’T BE MADE & RETAINED WHEN WORKING REMOTELY
Technology allows us to connect from anywhere and with anyone on the planet. The pandemic alone taught us that connections with colleagues could still be harnessed virtually and many relationships in the workplace thrived this way for almost 2 years.
Virtual events were created allowing people the change to interact in a more social way with their colleagues, forging friendships with people who had not yet met in person.
However, it should be noted that this also created a sense of isolation for many and the requirement for human connection was ever more prevalent. This is where coworking came into its own. The ability to work remotely, but in an open plan collaborative environment, meant people were not only connecting with colleagues from their own organisation but mixing with many other businesses. Cross pollination of referrals and business were considered a bonus and the growth in this sector has been exponential off the back of the lockdown.
Organisations that encourage their employees to find a space which is closer to their home but offers them a location to be part of a wider business community have largely benefitted from the impact of the ability to grow their network.
In addition, smaller businesses looking for a low-cost option to allow their teams to work together without the need for long leases or restrictive office space have taken the chance to work in open plan coworking lounges. The desks can be used daily, weekly or be dedicated to their businesses and they can flex the use up and down as their businesses require. They have a multitude of locations to work from and the chance to allow their teams to flourish once, twice or every day of the week.
MYTH #2: cOMPANY CULTURE CAN ONLY BE BUILT IN PERSON, IN THE MAIN OFFICE
We couldn’t disagree more! A geographically disbursed workforce can have a stronger bond and culture than those based in one fixed location.
Communication, flexibility and an understanding of when all hands-on deck are required help teams to better collaborate. It takes specific attention and appreciation of colleagues roles and responsibilities but it has been proven time and again that as long as everyone makes themselves accessible and has an appreciation of one another, culture can not only thrive but the business is all the better for it.
Many organisations took a flexible review of their real estate off the back of the pandemic and realised that creating smaller, regional hubs was actually a more cost effective and beneficial approach to their business’s growth. Staff became engaged with the benefits of being able to work closer to home. Many flex locations are also dog friendly which helped those who purchased pups in the lockdown!
In addition, with all-inclusive rents, businesses can manage their cash flow a little easier, which, whilst adds to their bottom line, also allows their staff to work in more contemporary spaces. This has a knock-on effect of retaining talent and therefore has seen attrition rates drop dramatically.
MYTH #3: REMOTE WORKING IS THE DEATH OF COLLABORATION
There is no argument that working remotely creates a challenge for those looking to collaborate. Spinning your office chair around for a chat with your colleague or chance chats about the latest project whilst grabbing your mid-afternoon coffee are much easier when you are in the office. However, the way we interact virtually has now offered us the ability to do just that, from the comfort of wherever we choose to work.
Board meetings, project team calls, sales collaborations and marketing idea think tanks happen just as well on a variety of virtual spaces as they do in person.