Two thirds would take a pay cut in exchange for a four day week

four day weekA poll of 2,000 people published in the new edition of the State of Hybrid Work study from Owl Labs claims that flexibility is now key to retaining top talent in 2022 and beyond. 65 percent of British employees would rather be paid less in exchange for a four day week and over a third (37 percent) would choose to decline a job if flexible hours are not offered. The report claims that offering greater flexibility will prove key to preventing employees from driving the ‘Great Resignation’ – with nearly one in three (31 percent) employees changing jobs in the past two years and a quarter (25 percent) of employees actively seeking a new opportunity in 2022.

Proximity bias is an emerging concern for employees in hybrid environments with nearly half (47 percent) of UK employees believing that proximity bias exists in the workplace. What’s more, over half (54 percent) of employees are more likely to ask the opinion or engage with those they physically work with over those who are remote.

In 2022, UK employees are demanding flexibility rather than rigid working hours. Already, 26 percent of businesses have introduced flexible working hours. The choice of when, where, and how employees work should be a collaborative decision between employer and employee.

Flexibility is also a priority when considering a new job. Job seekers would most likely decline a job offer if they were not given flexible hours (37 percent), if they were required to work in the office full-time (34 percent), or if they were not given flexibility over their working location (34 percent). On average Brits want to spend three days in the office and two days working remotely – but they still want the choice of when they do so.

Over a third (37 percent) of Brits say they are more productive working remotely, whilst a further 43 percent haven’t experienced a change in their level of productivity when working  remotely. Interestingly, there is a gender divide with 40 percent of women stating that they are more productive working remotely compared to just 33 percent of men. Age is also a factor in productivity at home with 18-24 year olds report the least productive at home – only 26 percent of them stating they’re more productive working remotely.

The shift to flexible work takes thoughtful and purposeful planning, yet only 36 percent of employees believe that their managers received hybrid or remote management training. A further 16 percent believe they should receive more training in the future. Unsurprisingly, 30 percent of British office workers find building relationships with remote colleagues harder. As a result, 59 percent of managers (and 62 percent of executives) are more likely to ask the opinion or engage with those they physically work with over those that are remote.

The report claims that companies have started to introduce forward-looking work benefits: 14 percent introduced a four-day work week, 19 percent introduced condensed hours during the pandemic, and 26 percent introduced flexible working hours.

While the possibility of an office metaverse may seem a distant possibility, levelling up video conferencing tools can be an immediate first step to make online meetings more engaging, with nearly a third (32 percent) of employees saying there was room for video conferencing improvement. The top tech that employees were keen to adopt in their company include: improved video conferencing tech (32 percent), an office metaverse (27 percent), virtual reality (18 percent), augmented reality (12 percent), holograms or avatars (10 percent)