The shift to a hybrid work model has created new challenges for employers, who must now accommodate remote and on-site employees.
According to Littler’s 10th Annual Employer Survey Report 2022, 86% of companies with remote workers or permanent remote work models cited maintaining company culture and employee engagement as their primary concerns.
Another critical challenge seems to be ensuring that remote and hybrid work flexibility is applied fairly, with 53% of respondents indicating that they are concerned about this. Many businesses are also concerned with communication and meeting efficiency (52%) and a decline in mentorship and professional growth opportunities (45%).
Other concerns included availability for in-person interactions with clients, customers, or third parties (40%) and scheduling obstacles with employees on-site on various days (28%). Only 2% of respondents did not have any concerns.
Return-to-Office Policies Do Not Equate to Lack of Options
Regarding returning to the office, 54% of survey respondents had already instituted return-to-office policies, 13% planned to return by August and another 13% planned to return at some point. This does not mean that work flexibility is a thing of the past, as it has become vital for talent acquisition and retention.
When asked to what extent their organization offered or considered offering remote work or other flexible solutions, 47% stated to a great extent, 37% said somewhat, 13% answered very little and only 3% said not at all.
These reactions are not surprising. According to a 2021 Ipsos survey, 30% of employees stated they would look for another job if they were forced to return to the office full time.
According to a Future Forum Report, of the 10,737 knowledge workers surveyed, 78% wanted location flexibility while 95% wanted schedule flexibility. Interestingly, there seems to be some disparity between various groups.
For example, in the US, 86% of Hispanic/Latinx employees and 81% of Asian/Asian American and Black employees preferred hybrid or remote work models over 75% of white workers. Globally, 52% of women wanted to work mainly remotely, compared to 46% of men. Additionally, 37% of non-executives working remotely stated they would prefer to be in the office three or more days a week, compared to 75% of executives.
Such disparities could increase the risk of proximity biases, with 41% of executives stating that they are concerned over inequities developing between remote and in-office employees.
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