The Future of Hybrid Work
I was on a Mediterranean cruise recently where the average age looked to be 75+, the majority of the people were retired and I engaged a few in conversation about the status of work. The vast majority said that work will be back to the pre-Covid normal within 5 years, meaning that employees will be required to return to the office 5 days/week. The prediction stunned me as most of the colleagues I speak with, albeit, they are much younger than the cruise crowd, believe that hybrid work is here to stay, myself included. We believe this is a fundamental shift in the employer/employee relationship that will drive increased flexibility in how and where we work for years to come.
It would seem that we are in good company given that a recent Robert Half survey https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/05/hybrid-working-your-office-future indicated that one-third of professionals (34%) currently working from home due to COVID-19 would quit if required to be in the office full-time. Nearly half of respondents (49%) said they prefer a hybrid work arrangement, where they can divide their time between the office and another location. Hybrid Work Is Here To Stay. Now What? (Back to Work, Better) (hbr.org)
According to the 2021 Work Trend Index, The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work-Are We Ready? (microsoft.com) over 40 percent of the global workforce considered leaving their employer last year, meaning a thoughtful approach to hybrid work will be critical for attracting and retaining diverse talent. Over 70 percent of workers want flexible remote work options to continue. Employee expectations are changing, and we will need to define productivity much more broadly — inclusive of collaboration, learning, and wellbeing to drive career advancement for every worker, including frontline and knowledge workers, as well as for new graduates and those who are in the workforce today. All this needs to be done with flexibility in when, where, and how people work.”
I could not find supporting data anywhere suggesting that my new cruise friends were correct in their contention that employees would be “required” to return to work in an office 5 days a week. That got me to thinking about the rate of change and how much some of them have experienced in the last 75–85 years. According to Futurism A Look at How Much Humanity Has Advanced Over the Last 100 Years (futurism.com)
World Literacy Rates
Traffic (Horses to Cars)
So, perhaps rather than a prediction they were making a plea, for the rate of change to slow down, for things to revert back to “the way they used to be”, however unlikely that may be.
Originally published at http://sherriesuski.com on April 13, 2022.