How Hybrid Work Will Help You Attract Talent in 2022
By and large, employees have made it clear that they’re not planning on returning to the office full-time in the near future.
That said, they’ve also made it clear that they still want the option of an office.
A staggering 96% of U.S. employees wish to adopt a hybrid working style, where they’ll spend some of their time working in an office setting and the remainder of their time working remotely—with younger workers in particular championing this part-office, part-remote working style.
Additionally, employers should note that 49% of employees reported that they would be likely to seek employment at another organization should their current workplace not offer their preferred working arrangement.
The pandemic has changed many things regarding the way we work, but what hasn’t changed is people’s desire to work independently and productively while still feeling a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Offering autonomy, flexibility, and a chance for in-person connection, the hybrid workplace model is the solution suited to fit everyone’s needs.
In this article, we’ll be highlighting some of the key reasons why hybrid work will be a game changer for your workforce in 2022—specifically when it comes to attracting and retaining quality employees.
Offer more flexibility and autonomy
During the pandemic, remote work became the norm and millennials made up the largest percentage of homebuyers.
That’s not a coincidence.
The promise of flexible working incentivized younger generations to trade shorter commutes for backyards, attached garages, and dog parenting—and most aren’t moving back into their 1,000 square foot apartments.
Still, those interested in hybrid work and the in-person perks it promises didn’t move too far away—opening the door for office visits a few times a week, month, or quarter. According to a survey by Eden Workplace, 52% of employees are looking forward to the social interactions that in-office work promises, while 44% look forward to escaping their homes to redefine the boundaries of their work-life balance. Fully-remote organizations can’t provide these opportunities as easily, giving hybrid organizations a leg up on these companies, as well as an advantage over fully in-office businesses.
On the other end of the spectrum is the digital nomad. Digital nomads are individuals who work from around the country (or the globe). They totaled 10.9 million as of 2020—a number that has more than doubled since 2018. The flexibility of hybrid work offers these nomads the chance to work from anywhere, including (at times) their company’s office.
Hybrid work gives these mobile workers the ability to spend more time pursuing their interests without ruling out the possibility of engaging fully with their organization.
Ultimately, hybrid organizations—particularly those with the option to work fully remote—continue to appeal to this growing demographic of American workers.
Broaden your geographical talent pool
Why limit your pool of candidates to just a city and its greater area?
Local talent is great for a business. These employees will be the ones who will take full advantage of an office’s perks. However, requiring employees to come into the office five days a week might deter those who live a little further out in the burbs and might be disinclined to make a 90-minute commute each way, every day—but might want to come in a few times a month to spend time with their team.
On a larger scale, having an office option can bring out-of-state employees into the office once a month or quarter while still letting these workers make their own choices for their families and personal lives. While there are certainly some legal and regulatory hurdles to jump if you’re not already prepared to employ out-of-state workers, these efforts will be rewarded with a larger group of potential applicants.
Remember, being a hybrid organization doesn’t mean employees have to come into the office—it just means the office is there when it’s wanted or needed. Hybrid work allows employees to work from wherever they’re most productive and useful. For some, that’s the office. For others, that’s their home, whether that’s downtown Atlanta or rural Pennsylvania.
Avoid office illnesses
As the world continues to navigate the pandemic, there’s a heightened sensitivity towards crowded spaces, super-spreader events, and passing an illness onto colleagues. According to Eden Workplace's Return to Office Sentiment survey, the majority of employees want health measures like hand sanitizer and social distancing when they return to the office.
One of the best ways to bring employees together while still reducing the risk of office illnesses is through hybrid work. Under this model, it’s unlikely the office will be at full capacity on a given day, and should an illness prevent workers from coming in, the company has infrastructure and policies in place to enable employees to operate remotely.
No one will know what COVID will look like in the next few years, and regardless, seasonal colds and the flu still run rampant. The ability to work from home during flu season and emerge back into a communal workspace may now be a perk that’s hard for workers to pass up if offered by a competing employer.
For concrete tips on how to keep your office safe even when illnesses spread, check out our recent article on how to prioritize employee safety during COVID.
Enhance worker productivity
Hybrid work offers employees the ability to work in a setting where they find themselves most productive—and it’s paying off.
When workers need a heads-down day to cross items off their list, they can stay home to avoid the distractions that the office inevitably brings up—from whirring coffee machines, to slamming doors, to employees taking calls at their desks. Conversely, when workers have high-collaboration days filled with meetings, it might make more sense to convene on-site, as in-person meetings are often more productive than the staring-at-a-screen-on-mute alternative.
Offering a hybrid work environment signals to potential (and current) employees that you trust them to work in a way that’s mutually beneficial both to them and the company they work for.
Attract more talent and build a stronger culture by going hybrid
Once the world opened the Pandora’s Box of remote work, we quickly realized it could never be undone. But at the same time, employees are craving the camaraderie and collaboration that only an office setting can provide. As such, hybrid working will be seen as a non-negotiable for a huge portion of job applicants moving forward. Time spent working hybrid or remotely has shown that this approach does work—and offers benefits that many employees simply can’t pass up.
Embracing this model through the right hybrid workplace technology can broaden your application pool, increase employee productivity, and signal trust and respect to your workers as the world navigates this new normal of work.