The epidemic has changed people’s work models. Employees felt the benefits of work-life balance and hoped to maintain a flexible work model to juggle their lives. Business owners expect employees to return to the office to create a culture of the group and high work efficiency. How to find the middle balance will be an important issue.
Taipei Taiwan (WS News Publisher) – Do you prefer to work from home or go back to the office? Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, a large-scale remote work mode has been opened, and everyone began to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of working from home and blended working and whether it is necessary to return to the office after the epidemic. The issue has recently sparked discussion and attention following the outflow of an internal letter from Tesla Inc. Its boss, Elon Musk, asked employees to come back to the office. According to a study conducted by Harvard Business School on blended working, the “Moderate Hybrid Work Model” that goes to the office 1 to 2 days a week is the most ideal for employees. This mode is believed to help improve work efficiency and quality.
The survey report divided the subjects into 3 groups, namely low, moderate and high hybrid work models. It was found that the moderately blended working group, who came to work one to two days a week, performed best compared to the low and high groups. The main reason is that this group of employees has higher flexibility in choosing where to work, unlike employees working from home completely who have a more severe sense of isolation. They also have a balance between life and work.
Pros and Cons of Remote Work
At the peak of the epidemic in 2020 and 2021, companies often adopted strategies to encourage employees to work remotely to reduce the risk of infection. This more flexible working model allows employees to use their time flexibly and achieve a balance between work and family life. At the time, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta also heavily touted the benefits of remote work to employees, including better space to think about long-term plans and more time with family members. Employees will be happier and more productive.
Past research has shown that complete remote work relies only on online meetings and communication, which may lead to communication gaps and feelings of alienation from supervisors and colleagues. Blended working can improve some of these problems. But for certain genders or groups, such a model can bring another kind of stress and burnout, and even make employees think about leaving.
“Women @ Work 2022” released by Deloitte Global pointed out that the hybrid work model has brought more pressure on many women. Sixty percent of women are worried about being excluded from important meetings, and 45% of women surveyed are afraid that they will not have the opportunity to contact key executives of the company, which will affect their chances of promotion. For women who need to care for children, the hybrid work model would make it difficult to determine where to work and pre-arrange childcare. Only 26 percent of the respondents said that the company will provide a clear work location and time in advance.
A Gap in the Idea of Blending Working between Company and Employees
According to the “Hopes & Fears Survey 2022” released by PwC recently, 54 percent of employees worldwide believe that they can work remotely to complete their work. Sixty-three percent of these employees said they preferred a hybrid work model and believed the company would offer this option within a year. 26 percent of employees want remote work completely. The acceptable percentage of employees for the practice that employers may require them to return to office work entirely within a year is about 11 percent.
More than sixty percent of employees prefer a hybrid work model, but what do employers think? The well-known investment bank Goldman Sachs has required employees to come to the office five days a week, mainly because remote work is more likely to make employees deviate from the company’s track and core values. According to the survey, 90% of companies originally planned for employees to adopt a blending working this year, but their bosses have changed their minds after finding that remote work has caused increased employee turnover and a loss of corporate culture. So Microsoft’s latest survey this year shows that more than half of companies have changed their minds and plan to let employees fully return to the office by next year at the latest.
Therefore, well-known companies began to hope that employees “come back to work”, opening up employees to apply for a certain period of remote work buffer period, and return to the office after the expiration of the period. Even those who are currently working remotely or in a hybrid work model will have to come to the office as soon as they are notified. Tech giants such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft have explicitly increased the number of days a week they must be in the office, currently requiring at least three days a week.
There are also companies that take a different approach, such as Airbnb, which has about 6,000 employees worldwide, more than half of them working in the United States. Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, based on the premise of trusting employees, hopes to find and retain better talents through greater geographical flexibility so that the company culture has higher autonomy and flexibility. Therefore, With the exception of jobs where telework is not possible, employees can choose where to work.
Find Win-win Work Patterns
A recent report by management consulting firm Mckinsey mentioned that more than eighty percent of the interviewed employees want the company to continue to adopt a hybrid work model. Two-thirds of respondents would consider other job opportunities if the company switched to a full-office model. During the outbreak of the epidemic, the hybrid work model made people feel the benefits of work-life balance, expecting to be able to balance family and life in addition to work achievements and to be more flexible in time.
From the perspective of employees, the hybrid work model can have better work efficiency and life balance. From the perspective of the enterprise, employees entering the office can condense the team atmosphere, build the company culture, and reduce the communication gap. How to achieve the best balance and create a happy, flexible and solid team will test the wisdom of managers and the mutual trust and tolerance between the company and employees.