In recent years, the small business world has been overtaken by a new trend: the rise of the hybrid workforce. Whether or not work-from-home days were part of your workplace culture before the pandemic, companies everywhere are seeing heightened demands from their employees to embrace greater remote working flexibility.
Hybrid Workforce: The Myths vs Facts
There’s no question that a certain amount of stigma surrounds the implementation of a hybrid workforce. Are these ideas rooted in tangible data points or traditional ideals that may not apply to modern workforces? In this blog post, we’ll explore what the data actually says in response to the hybrid workforce myths. Along the way, I’ll share some hybrid work best practices to get you thinking about how you can make the switch work for your team.
Myth #1: Hybrid Work Productivity is Lower than In-Person Productivity
The myth that productivity is lower among the hybrid workforce than in-person workers is perhaps one of the most pervasive myths. The idea that employees use their work-from-home time as an extended vacation is a misconception that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Fact: Hybrid work appears to have no impact on productivity
In July of 2023, Stanford University’s Institute for Economic Policy Research published a study on “The Evolution of Working from Home.” The study found that while fully remote work correlated with a 10% productivity decrease, hybrid work appeared to have no impact on productivity. Employees were just as productive when they worked some days in the office as when they were in the office all five days a week.
Additionally, hybrid workers feel they are generally either more productive or just as productive while working from home, an important indicator of workplace satisfaction and protection from burnout. Data from the Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes, which spanned from January to June 2023, reveals that 43% of employees with a work-from-home report feeling more productive at home, another 43% report the same productivity in-person as from home and only 14% reported feeling more productive in-person.
Myth #2: Communication and Collaboration Is Easier In-Person
Without the physical “water cooler” chats or daily in-person meetings, some managers feel that allowing employees to work from home on certain days could detract from the solid communication and collaboration already established within their office’s culture.
Fact: The hybrid workforce can communicate and collaborate just as effectively as in-person teams
Research published in the Harvard Business Review suggests that working from home allows communication and collaboration that is just as effective as what might take place face-to-face. The key to optimizing remote communication on your work-from-home days may come down to the style in which you deliver and request information. The Harvard Business Review reports:
“Our research suggests that such bursts of rapid-fire communications, with longer periods of silence in between, are hallmarks of successful teams. Those silent periods are when team members often form and develop their ideas — deep work that may generate the next steps in a project or the solution to a challenge faced by the group. Bursts, in turn, help to focus energy, develop ideas, and achieve closure on specific questions, thus enabling team members to move on to the next challenge.”
Myth #3: Hybrid Work Policies Are Only Suitable for a Handful of Industries and Roles
Many owners and managers assume that their business isn’t suitable to support a hybrid workforce. The actual data, however, might surprise you.
Fact: Many unexpected industries are embracing a new hybrid workforce
Even industries that most managers wouldn’t associate with hybrid work are finding ways to offer the option (at least one day a week) to their employees. Here is a set of data from global consultancy McKinsey & Co., noting the percent of employees offered remote or hybrid work in those industries less frequently associated with remote flexibilities:
Food services (29%)
Myth #4: A Hybrid Work Model Only Benefits Employees, Not Employers
Another common hybrid work model myth is that the design is only a response to employee demand, and makes no difference to the employer’s bottom line.
Fact: While employee benefits of hybrid work may seem more obvious, employers benefit, too
According to research by Gallup, some of the most critical advantages of hybrid work include:
improved work-life balance,
more efficient use of time,
burnout mitigation, and
promotion of personal well-being.
When these employee needs are met, we know that great workers are more likely to stay with their employers. Perhaps this is one reason why, as reported by McKinsey & Company, “29% of employees would consider switching employers if their company went back to a fully on-site model.”
Myth #5: Small Businesses Aren’t Equipped to Transition to a Hybrid Workforce
Many small businesses believe that they don’t have the infrastructure to make a switch to a hybrid work model. Reasons for the trepidation may include a lack of resources to help train managers to lead a hybrid workforce, confusion about remote work compliance issues and a lack of clarity surrounding hybrid work best practices.
In reality: A PEO, like Axcet HR Solutions can lead small businesses to hybrid work success
Axcet HR Solutions is a certified professional employer organization (PEO) that specializes in helping small businesses meet their full potential by taking the tough HR tasks off their plate.
Have you been considering offering hybrid work, but are unsure of how to implement it? Axcet is here to help. We offer a full suite of PEO services to help you accomplish this and other HR goals including leadership training and employee development, HR compliance expertise, employee relations support, assistance with the development of formal hybrid work policies and so much more.
Are you ready to see how we can help your small business reach its goals? Schedule a consultation with our experienced HR consultants today.