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Hybrid workspaces are here to stay, proving the workplace was forever changed by the global pandemic over three years ago. Employees increasingly demand flexible work arrangements—a mix of remote and in-office work — and businesses are poised to continue to facilitate it.

The flexibility that hybrid arrangements offer an alternative to the “all onsite” vs. “all remote” debate for many employers. The choice of work venue is very personal for employees and, in some regards, perplexing for employers.

The cloud of issues swirling around decisions about whether to adopt hybrid workspaces and how to best implement them continues to make creating and managing hybrid work a fog-obstructed environment, out of which several trends and realities have emerged.

Employees Would Rather Quit Than Switch

Employees became accustomed to the convenience and flexibility of working—at least part of the time—from home. So much so, that one-third of them would leave their current job if forced to return to the office full-time.

Employers Are Still Figuring Things Out

Employers recognize that the demand for hybrid work arrangements is rising. Many have figured out how to set up alternatives to traditional work environments, but many still have yet to figure out exactly how these roles will be managed. As of 2022, it was estimated that almost three-quarters of employers are without a focused strategy for hybrid work. In some cases, a disorganized approach can lead to an increased number of unproductive remote meetings and may blur the lines between when employees are on duty and off.

Hybrid Environments Foster Autonomy

Despite their disorganization and disparate views on hybrid plans, employers are seeing the advantage of offering and operating such arrangements. Employers who seek an edge in recruiting and retaining employees may offer non-traditional work as a benefit to attract talent, but the employer may also benefit from the time savings of having employees and managers working autonomously.

Employees may also stay in their positions longer as a result of partially remote work arrangements. A strong majority of workers report that their job satisfaction has increased working in a hybrid environment, leading to higher retention Research shows that causes for this may be related to an overall improvement in their health as well as perceiving that their work-life balance has improved.

Hybrid Work Is Not Going Away

For all of the reasons discussed, variations of remote work are not going away. Majorities of employees and employers favor retaining some form of hybrid work even if it is no longer necessary to ensure the health and safety of employees. The benefits to both parties may now be deeply ingrained enough to keep the conventional, pre-pandemic work model from returning, at least in the near future.

Anxiety Tempers Productivity Gains

Employers are partly enamored with hybrid work because of the productivity gains demonstrated during the COVID pandemic. However, there are reports indicating that employees report feeling burned out and anxious in hybrid roles, in part from the lack of structure and boundaries characteristic of remote work. These issues eventually affect interpersonal relationships and reduce productivity, eroding the gains noticed during the pandemic.

The Takeaway
Employers need to discover strategies to stabilize remote work environments in order to improve employee satisfaction and preserve productivity increases. Embracing and continuing with hybrid work arrangements post-pandemic not only benefits employers by enhancing performance and talent retention; it also offers employees flexibility and is correlated to a perceived increase in work-life balance, which can foster a more satisfied workforce with greater longevity potential.