Hybrid Working Models: Why Employees’ Well-Being Must Remain A Priority

6 Dic 2021

Laura Colombo  |

Forbes Human Resources Council  | | Membership (Fee-Based) | Leadership

CEO ETAss, People Development and Digital Communication Strategist.

This is a time of great uncertainty. After showing great perseverance and adaptability during the pandemic, we are now facing a new world of work. The hybrid model presents new challenges for organizations. People have new opinions on different work practices, and this could lead to division in the workplace, with silos forming between office-based and remote workers.

The time has come for leaders to build a total strategy when it comes to hybrid working models. It may not happen right away, but certainly, a balance between remote work and presence in the office must be found quickly. Similarly, we need to build trust in order to create a new model of company thinking.

New Models For New Businesses

Think about what happened before Covid-19’s arrival: Workers were used to commuting every day and professional relationships were based on control rather than trust. Attention to a sustainable way of living along with a green attitude had recently become a relevant topic.

Suddenly everything changed. Having to work from home forced many companies to understand that there could be a new way to deepen and develop to change the future. On one hand, this obviously brought new ideas and progress to entrepreneurial life. On the other hand, it has changed all the parameters of leadership, the relationship between employers and employees, which had always been based on physical presence.

Remote Work Statistics And Data

Therefore, for how long could we allow smart working to be an integrated part of our business process?

An international survey from Talents in Motion, PwC and the Con il Sud Foundation found that young talent (74% under 35 years of age) has confirmed that this sentiment is particularly strong among the younger generations, many citing interest in a hybrid model of work. According to findings from Mckinsey cited by the BBC, young talent 48% of 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed are interested in hybrid work.

Other interesting figures from The Global Workplace Analytics and Owl Labs show us that during the height of the pandemic, 70% of full-time workers switched to remote working completely. Of those surveyed 90% said their productivity levels were the same or higher at home. What’s even more telling is that one in three people would quit their jobs if they were no longer allowed to work remotely after the pandemic.

Our scenario has changed permanently.

How To Restore The Leadership

It is time to ask ourselves how to integrate this radical change into our business reality.

report by Buck Consultants, a Xerox company, before the pandemic, traced the profile of 13 multinational companies by examining projects targeting approximately 1 million employees. What emerges is that sustainability, social commitment and well-being have become the essential elements for establishing a new relationship of trust with employees and these must be considered corporate assets. Creating a new bond with employees can and must bring a profit to the financial statements because of the feeling of being part of the same family.

This is how a modern leadership model is created. Every C-suites’ decision no longer affects only the professional sphere but becomes a cornerstone of the daily life of each of the people involved in the company. Mutual respect is the new engine of the economy: It becomes essential to plan and to understand how to improve common objectives, finding out where is the best place to do it along with the awareness of achieving the result by working with greater independence and freedom.

We also need to keep in mind fundamental elements that are put together to create new ideas of enterprise-community, topics such as inclusion, diversity, equal opportunities, training as an element of growth, and a safe working environment.

A Plan For Growth

The commitment to finding a brand-new formula is urgent. A Gallup study reveals how employees’ engagement has decreased by 2 points, from 22% in 2019 to 20% in 2020, after a steady increase over the past decade. While data is growing in the U.S., Canada and Eastern Europe, in Western Europe the level stands at 11%.

All the parameters, such as concern, anger, sadness and stress, have seen a rise in the percentage scale. Therefore, it is necessary to move quickly to re-establish the right balance that will lead us to common well-being and, therefore, to that of the company. Job satisfaction thus becomes a determining factor for business success. Even though this does not mean that we should embrace remote work as a definitive model for the future, these are truths that a manager cannot ignore.

What we can observe is that many remote workers are more productive and generally they have fewer distractions and at least they have more time to dedicate to family. We know remote workers are generally happier and they tend to work longer. This trend continues to increase, and considering that the hunt for talent is becoming increasingly bitter within the market reality, we believe that seeking a fair balance between work and private life will be the key to retaining employees.

It is important to remember that the scenario is fluid: Programs and plans could be changed, models will have to adapt, and people and organizations will sometimes misstep. However, investing in employees’ well-being will be paramount and will shape every individual’s future for the better.

Laura Colombo

CEO ETAss, People Development and Digital Communication Strategist. Read Laura Colombo’s full executive profile here.

CEO ETAss, People Development and Digital Communication Strategist.