Hybrid working is here to stay. No longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘how’.

“Coulter Legal has been an industry leader in their approach to flexibility and hybrid working for many years, something that was accelerated even more with the on-set of the global pandemic in 2020. They are committed to delivering work life balance and integration for all of their people in the future,” Belinda Perisic, General Manager, Coulter Legal

The pandemic has shown us that working remotely all the time has its drawbacks too, leading to burn out, feelings of isolation and communication challenges. As a result, most workers want to head back into the office – just not full time.

Coulter Legal is just one of the Geelong organisations embracing hybrid working. We are going to find out more about their model at Geelong’s upcoming Future of Work Forum on July 20, 2022, where Belinda Perisic is one of our guest panellists.

In the meantime, we’ve taken a look at a recent PwC study and unpacked some of the findings to better understand what workers are looking for in a hybrid arrangement.

PwC Australia recently surveyed (February 2022) more than 1,000 knowledge-based workers in medium and large businesses from around the country, getting a representative sample across age, gender, and location.

It was revealed that 74% of these workers want to work from home at least three days a week.

Most organisations now acknowledge that they need to offer flexible work arrangements as part of their employee value proposition (EVP) to attract and retain the best people.

 

Making hybrid working part of your EVP

It’s time to start redefining the view on where work gets done.

Some roles and even organisations might be better working entirely in the office or entirely remotely, depending on the nature of the work. But the research data clearly shows that workers (where possible) not only want – but expect – hybrid working arrangements.

Given our current tight employment market and skills shortage, organisations would benefit from including hybrid working as part of their EVP to attract and retain the best talent.

 

The Stats

Originally dubbed “the largest ever work-from-home experiment,” the pandemic certainly accelerated working from home and the hybrid model.

Australian 2016 census data suggested that just 5% of workers worked from home. Currently, 96% of Australian knowledge-based workers are either working fully remote or hybrid.

Moving forwards, when asked about settling into the ideal work week, this number doesn’t change, but with more people wanting to move from entirely working from home to hybrid (55% working hybrid now up to 69% who expect to be in 12 months’ time).

Millennials and Gen-X’ers want to work from home the most – likely due to this cohort having the majority of carers’ commitments and therefore benefiting from the increased flexibility – while Gen-Z and Baby Boomers want more time in the office.

 

What’s your organisation’s approach?

According to PwC, Australian organisations must act now with a clear approach.

Whether it is hybrid working with extensive rules or hybrid working with ultimate flexibility, employers need to be clear on their position and communicate it.

This will need to be more than a bullet point on their website!

Hybrid working will need to be embedded in the workplace culture and in the way that organisations think about building relationships among colleagues, mentoring junior staff, and fostering innovation.

Do you have an office mandate?

Organisations need to set expectations and empower teams to establish what works for them. For example: are staff expected to come in on specific days? Or come into the office with the flexibility to choose the days that work for them and their team?
 

The New Office

This includes re-designing the office and supporting the remote working setup in line with the kinds of work that are best suited to the different environments.

The office remains an important place for connection, collaboration, and for the employee experience. What has changed is the role of the office – it brings people together face-to-face.

  • Less cubicles and formal workstations
  • More collaboration spaces
  • Team hubs
  • Social spaces
  • Single occupant meeting rooms for private video calls etc.
  • Adopting Technology to advance the workplace experience
  • High standards of office hygiene and appropriate ventilation

 According to PwC, the top three things that employees reported as supporting them to perform while working remotely (in order of rank) are:

  1. the right computer hardware (57%),
  2. having flexibility to balance between their work and their personal lives (56%), and
  3. using appropriate collaboration software (50%).

 

Think beyond the number of days spent in the office

It’s not just about the number of days spent in the office. There are other considerations when developing a framework for hybrid working such as:

Leadership – Training managers to lead hybrid teams and consistent messaging.

Team dynamics – access and inclusion.

Culture and experience – EVP and meaningful touch points

Wellbeing – mental and physical health

Workplace spaces – workplace design

Technology – digital collaboration tools and security

Governance – regulations and red tape

It includes thinking about new ways to support the connectedness and wellbeing of their people.

And it includes listening to your workforce, communicating clearly and empowering your teams.

It’s the future of work.

 

Where to from here?

There’s so much more to discuss. Join in the chat.  Future of Work Forum.  July 20. Geelong. Reserve your spot!

*Balancing Act. The New Equation in hybrid working. You can download the full PwC Report here.

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