The COVID-19 pandemic had a massive impact on global business. In March 2020, Australians moved successfully from the office to remote working in a matter of days, many for the first time.As a result of tough lockdowns and highly effective track and trace programs, community transmission in Australia of COVID-19 has slowed. Most offices have reopened, and workers welcomed back to their desks.
However, the Melbourne Institute found that 70% of Australians working from home during COVID-19 wanted to do so after the pandemic finishes. In another survey conducted by Roy Morgan, only 5% of the people surveyed wanted to return to the office full-time, with 50% wishing to split their time between home and the office.
These preferences are evident in our quieter CBDs, with commercial real estate operators revealing that occupancy rates remain at around 40-50%, with peaks on Wednesday and Thursday and offices largely empty on Mondays and Fridays.
It seems that the hybrid work model is undoubtedly a permanent fixture in the Australian business landscape. But what does it mean?
Also Read: What are the New Work Models
A hybrid work model exists when an organization allows its employees to choose their preferred work location- work on-site, work from home or split their time between them. It has similar objectives to offering flexible office spaces, giving workers the freedom to choose where and when they do their best work.
In October 2020, Reddit was one of the first major organizations to adopt the hybrid work model permanently. Twitter adapted its workplace policies, stating that employees can work remotely and only visit the office when they want to. Paypal, Viacom, and Microsoft also adopted similar arrangements.
Also, in 2020, Atlassian, the A$68bn Sydney-based software business, created its "Team Anywhere" policy. It stated that employees could attend their local office only if need be. The only attendance requirements will be quarterly visits for important meetings and conferences.
While hybrid working is popular with many, what are the most significant advantages for both employees and employers?
With employees travelling to the office only 2-3 days a week, time and money spent commuting are drastically reduced.
Surveys indicate working from home cuts out an average commute time of 41 minutes and delivers an extra 37 minutes for leisure activities. Employee well-being is improved, environmental damage is reduced, and employers benefit with an additional 36 minutes spent working.
A SurveyMonkey study from 2020 revealed that employees who worked remotely were more satisfied with their work compared to their colleagues who were going to the office every day.
Many hybrid employees note significant psychological benefits, such as having more control of their schedules or getting more leisure time. Being able to dress as you wish, eating more home-cooked meals, and spending more time with loved ones contributed to boosting their personal wellbeing.
Real-estate costs typically account for 5-20% of an organization’s total costs. Suncorp recently estimated that they save $10k for each home-based employee.
In a study conducted by PWC, 31% of executives anticipate the need for less space as the number of remote workers increases.
Hybrid working also allows employers to repurpose their workspaces to enhance innovation and improve company culture. There is space for ‘collaboration hubs’ with reduced desk numbers and more opportunities to maintain social and team-based interaction.
Adopting the hybrid work model can help companies optimize their real-estate function and costs.
The purpose and function of an office can mean different things to different people.
Employers often focus on productivity goals, such as providing space for client sales meetings, conducting staff training, and improving cross-functional communication. Employees may think more about team socialisation, personal career development, and access to better equipment.
However, during the creation of hybrid workspaces and as part of the shift to a more flexible management model, a greater balance can be achieved. Employee productivity can be optimised by allowing them to work where they can be most productive. Employees can use the office to collaborate with team members. This can improve employee satisfaction without sacrificing company culture.
Hybrid working is our future, one which can help businesses attract the best employees, boost opportunities for collaboration and team-building while ultimately reducing real estate costs on the bottom line.
WorkInSync is dedicated to helping organizations adopt a hybrid work model. To understand the full capacity of the features, schedule a demo with us. Subscribe to our blog and stay on top of the latest developments in the hybrid work space.
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