Businesses are now turning to a hybrid working environment, as the hopes of a return to a sense of normality rise.
While many will enjoy working with more flexibility, the approach brings new challenges that employers will have to prepare for.
The study found 5 areas that will challenge employers as hybrid working is adopted.
1. The war for talent
A lot has been said about the dangers of losing talent amidst the “Great Resignation,” which has seen thousands leave work. In response, many have reassessed the benefits on offer for employees.
However, the study by Voodle suggests that connecting and interacting with employees can play a vital role in staff retention.
In 2020, Cisco spoke to 1569 professionals and found that most employees were frustrated by poor audio during calls and overcrowded work meetings that led to confusion.
With this in mind, incorporating face-to-face meetings and smaller group discussions is important to keeping staff happy.
2. Traditional corporate culture has changed forever
53% of the people surveyed by Voodle claimed that work culture had suffered during the pandemic. Additionally, 89% of employers noted that they don’t want work to return to the way it was pre-pandemic.
This balance of new methods of working poses a unique challenge as company culture can be essential in the experience of employees.
Sonja Gittens Ottley, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Asana, told Voodle about how culture has been addressed within their organization: “We’ve approached culture and culture building in…a really intentional way. And we realized from the onset that it’s not about having perks, it’s not about having, as many tech companies do, free drinks, or free lunches.
“That’s something that’s nice to have… The employees that you have and a great culture really allows people to really feel comfortable, and contributes to the growth of your business.”
3. Getting inclusion right
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (D,E&I) is a focus for many employers. While addressing D,E&I has been important for a long time, the pandemic amplified the need to invest in the area.
Notably, the pandemic has seen women leave the workforce at a much greater rate than men. In fact, research by the US National Women’s Law Center found that since August in the US 28,000 jobs were gained by women, while men accumulated 207,000.
Minorities have also been out of the workforce at a staggering rate, and this has led to the likes of Slack raising concerns that the post-pandemic workplace will be dominated by white men.
In terms of creating a more inclusive environment, many will want to create groups and communities within their workforce where people can interact digitally or in the real world.
At the moment, 40% of those surveyed feel a lack of connection to their co-workers.
4. The danger of returning to “normal”
Voodle notes that often racial groups were marginalized by traditional working structures: “It’s not enough to say, “If one employee is attending a meeting remotely, we are all attending via Zoom.”
“As our data shows, that doesn’t level the playing field since too many feel that voices go unheard. Several studies have found that people who were suffering from long-term exclusion were less able to perform on difficult tasks, had poorer sleep quality, weakened immune systems, increased feelings of sadness and unworthiness, increased anxiety and depression, and were more prone to suicide.”
As a result, the survey concludes that companies need to think carefully about how they return to offices. Particularly with D,E&I concerns growing.
5. Time to update your technology
Communicating with remote teams is as important as ever. There are many ways to do this through the likes of calls with Zoom and Teams or by creating surveys and getting employee feedback.
The pandemic has shown that wellbeing is incredibly important to the workforce and this looks set to continue.
As a result, now is the time to invest in the technology that creates a company culture, that is inclusive and accessible. Otherwise, these challenges could become a larger problem to overcome.
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