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Post-Pandemic Hybrid Work Will Vary By City, Company Size, And Job Type

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While many U.S. professionals are embracing hybrid work arrangements, new research from talent solutions firm Robert Half shows a majority of companies anticipate a full return to the office once the pandemic ends. According to a survey of more than 2,800 senior managers in the U.S., 71 percent of respondents said they will require their teams to be on-site full time once COVID-19-related restrictions completely lift. Far fewer will allow employees to follow a hybrid schedule, where they can divide time between the office and another location (16 percent) or give staff the complete freedom to choose where they work (12 percent).

Workers May Walk

Employers should be aware of the risks of mandating a full return to the office. Previous research reveals nearly half of employees (49 percent) prefer a hybrid arrangement, and about one in three professionals (34 percent) currently working from home due to the pandemic would look for a new job if required to be in the office five days a week. In addition, a separate survey finds 43 percent of workers feel much more productive when remote versus in the office.

“When it comes to hybrid work, there’s a disconnect between what managers prefer and what employees expect,” says Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald. “But in this talent-driven market, especially, companies need to prioritize their people and look to the future. Providing flexibility is a low-cost way to create a positive employee experience and inclusive workplace culture.”

RH Future of Hybrid
Research from Robert Half shows where U.S. employers will want their teams to work post-pandemic and common management challenges of hybrid work arrangements.

Where Hybrid Opportunities Will Prevail

Managers’ views about the future of hybrid work vary by city, practice area, and company size. Those most likely to favor flexibility (with the highest percentage allowing employees to be remote part or full time) reside in:

  • Boston (45 percent), San Francisco (38 percent), and Philadelphia (37 percent) 
  • Marketing (30 percent) and finance (28 percent) departments 
  • Large organizations with 1,000 or more employees (30 percent)

Hybrid Work Hurdles

Employers cited a variety of top challenges when managing hybrid teams, pointing to the complexities of supporting a dispersed workforce long-term:

  • Communicating effectively with team members: 22 percent 
  • Trusting employees to get work done: 20 percent 
  • Gauging workloads and helping staff avoid burnout: 20 percent 
  • Effectively recognizing and rewarding employee accomplishments: 20 percent 
  • Finding time for team development: 19 percent

Adds McDonald, “As a company that has embraced hybrid work, we’ve experienced some of the challenges and opportunities first-hand. It’s a moving target that requires ongoing commitment and collaboration from many teams, but the outcome of increased employee morale, productivity and retention is worth the investment.”

Are you currently working from home or navigating a hybrid model? Check out The Pros and Cons of Working from Home and Sensible Solutions to Make it Work.

About The Author
julieKeller_author-1

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures, ForbesTraveler.com, E! Online, Gayot.com, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.