Most hybrid workers worldwide don’t think they’ll return to old ways of work

A poll of 3,000 office workers by Insights Learning & Development claims that 70 percent of hybrid workers in the UK want to maintain the arrangement permanently.A poll of 3,000 office workers by Insights Learning & Development claims that 70 percent of hybrid workers in the UK want to maintain the arrangement permanently. According to the report, UK employees are generally happy with their hybrid working arrangements – more so than employees in the US, Canada and France. Overall workers in the Netherlands are most satisfied with their hybrid working arrangements.

Almost one-third (32 percent) of hybrid team members in the UK are fully remote or close to fully remote while over two-thirds (67 percent) work predominantly in an office. Office-first working appears to be the least preferable option – 22 percent currently work this way, however, 17 percent wish to do so. Of the respondents 8 percent of UK employees currently work fully remotely while 19 percent would prefer to do so.

This correlates with the global finding that office-first is the least attractive option, as only 10 percent of dissatisfied employees across the seven countries would prefer to switch to an office-based workplace. Over a quarter of UK workers say that sharing ideas, delivering objectives and learning and development has actually become easier since working in a hybrid team. Almost one-third (32 percent) say that they perform better since they started hybrid work.

Those questioned stated the overriding advantage is having more time, as the daily commute has been dramatically reduced, with 54 percent of UK hybrid employees confirming it as a bonus. Notably, improved health and wellbeing are also the biggest benefits identified for UK hybrid workers questioned, compared to other countries across the globe. One-third of UK workers identified this as a benefit.

However, over half of UK workers say building relationships has become harder in hybrid teams (51 percent) and one-third say they find it harder to stay connected to what is going on across their company (33 percent). 47 percent say they feel less connected to their co-workers than before the pandemic and 38 percent said that they would like to receive more opportunities to connect with their team.

Getting to know new team members was raised as the most difficult aspect of working in a hybrid team, alongside lack of social connection and casual conversation within hybrid teams identified by respondents. Almost one-third (31 percent) said that feeling disconnected from remote colleagues is a challenge.

Overall UK companies seem to have taken more actions in certain areas than other countries to overcome the challenges of working in a hybrid team. 75 percent of UK hybrid teams have adopted communication tools such as Zoom, Teams or Slack – more than any other country. Over one-third (36 percent) have put in place wellness initiatives to support their employees (higher than the global average of 26 percent).

Chief Executive of Insights Learning & Development, Fiona Logan suggests empowering individuals in their approach to their working setup is important in the new world of work:“This report is confirming what many suspected, that flexibility in working practices has been internationally welcomed by employees. It is not surprising to see regional preferences shift when it comes to how we work together, and the key for employers is to find a balance that works for our teams and for the business. We all have different preferences and therefore these new routines will work in different ways for different people. At Insights we work with some of the world’s leading organisations supporting them to recognise that putting their people and wellbeing at the heart of the business strategy will reap significant productivity benefits.

“Additionally, as we are now not in the office each day together, we need to create a culture and community that fully supports and enables success. Creating a community between remote and in-person work is imperative and the need for human skills, a core purpose and connection are vital for this. As this research shows, businesses need to look at effective ways that truly empower people in how they work and by providing the solutions they need to feel connected and supported, no matter where they are working.”