Hybrid working averse businesses missing out on €113 billion opportunity

European businesses continue to miss out on the full potential of hybrid working, according to a new survey from Ricoh EuropeEuropean businesses continue to miss out on the full potential of hybrid working, according to a new survey from Ricoh Europe.  The research, conducted by Opinium and analysed by CEBR, polled 6,000 workers and 1,500 decision makers across Europe. Business leaders say that workers are, on average, 4 percent more productive in a hybrid culture, equivalent to an additional €113 billion to the European economy compared with pre-pandemic ways of working.

However, this potential growth – a result of increased productivity levels associated with improved employee satisfaction and reduced commuting time – has not been realised, as only half (53 percent) of businesses have workers in a hybrid system. If the businesses that intend to shift towards hybrid work accelerated their plans, it could add €9 billion to Europe’s economy according to the report.

Companies run the risk of hampering future growth if they ignore the potential productivity uplift associated with hybrid working, the authors claim. Furthermore, the ability to work flexibly and better manage personal and professional commitments has clear benefits for worker wellbeing and satisfaction. Academic research from Stanford Professor Nick Bloom et al suggests this positively impacts talent retention and attraction, with a reduction in attrition of 35 percent for those able to work from home two days a week.

Yet, over half (52 percent) of decision makers would like to mandate a full-time return to the office, despite the majority of employees (76 percent) saying they would prefer some form of hybrid working set-up to a fully remote or office-based alternative. Organisations risk harming their competitiveness as an employer by ignoring workplace friction points that many workers still experience.

Nicola Downing, CEO, Ricoh Europe, says “Supporting people to work flexibly will help businesses unlock significant financial gains, while creating a happier and more fulfilled workforce. However, a hybrid work policy is futile without implementing the technology required to facilitate collaboration between colleagues and customers, wherever they are.

“The office remains an essential environment for social collaboration and building a strong workplace culture. But spaces must be designed with idea sharing and creativity in mind, with digital functions essential to ensure easy communication with those working remotely, too. In a tight employment market, ignoring employee frustrations in the workplace is simply not an option.”