The world of work has changed forever because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to 2020, the vast majority of knowledge workers worked in the office five days a week, and remote work was the exception to the rule. Over the past two years, things have completely switched.
But how common will full-time remote work be in 2024?
When asked where work was getting done, 76% believed that in 2021 work was done remotely, but this declines to 56% as they look towards 2024.
Instead, hybrid working is the future. 68% believe that the hybrid – or distributed – model will become standard. 42% of the C-Suite believed that hybrid working was the norm in 2021, but this rises to 81% for 2024.
This approach balances employee and company preferences – 86% of employees want hybrid work, while 64% of companies surveyed did not want this and preferred on-site work.
Ultimately employers are aware that hybrid work is crucial for talent attraction – 97% thought hybrid working was a talent attractor, and 100% thought the same for younger generations of workers. This is particularly relevant during the ongoing ‘Great Resignation‘ in North America and Europe.
Further to this, AT&T’s research found that the C-Suite think hybrid working is good for diversity (97%) and that it allows companies to reach their financial goals just as well as on-site working (73%).
Implementing a hybrid model
While the C-Suite is aware that hybrid working is the future, employers are still grappling with precisely what type of working model to implement.
There are shortfalls around strategy (72%), internal communications (71%), and tech infrastructure (61%).
AT&T senior vice-president of business marketing Alicia Dietsch: “There’s been a non-reversible shift in the way business is done thanks to the constraints of COVID-19. It’s clear that a successful talent program now requires a hybrid work policy, but that policy needs to be supported by a strategic tech-first cultural reset, to ensure business growth and competition.
“Firms need to ask themselves if they have the in-house expertise to achieve this, or whether it’s now time to go beyond a partner in remote infrastructure rollout to a partner in tech-first remote business strategy.”
It is clear that a major challenge employers are facing is the need to rethink performance – 57% of the C-Suite said they were struggling to manage performance effectively. Now is the time to move from focusing on outcomes, rather than inputs, and moving away from presenteeism.
Also, while it seems that workers have been productive while working from home during COVID-19, they are struggling to innovate. 58% of the C-Suite believe this to be the case.
The report states: “It’s challenging to spark innovation without in-person interactions. Finding ways to support and foster innovation through new technologies will be a big part of the workplace transformation plan.”
If companies want to successfully transform their workplace, now is the time for a culture reset, as well as to introduce tech tools that are more intuitive and help employees to collaborate more effectively. Are you ready?
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