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The Work-From-Home Debate: Does Hybrid Hold the Key to Success?

I’ve been doing a deep dive on in-person work vs. flexible hybrid/remote schedules.

What actually works?

What do we know about their impact on productivity, revenue, and retention?

Here’s what I’ve learned:

🔶 40% of US workers now work at least one day at home.

🔶 62% of companies offer work location flexibility (hybrid or fully remote). 38% require employees to be in the office full-time (down from 49% at the start of ‘23). 7% of companies are fully remote.

🔶 Fully flexible public companies outperform revenue growth by 16% (2020 – 2022). Excluding tech, they outperform by 13%.

🔶 Productivity does take a dip when working remotely full time - about 10-20% (at least on an hourly basis). Challenges with remote communication, barriers to mentoring, building culture, and issues with self-motivation appear to be reasons.

🔶 The ability to work from home is correlated positively with retention. People who work from home at least part-time are 14% less likely to look for other work than those who are in the office full-time. Retention benefits lessen a bit for those working remotely on a full-time basis.

Hybrid is the fastest growing type of work schedule. Nick Bloom (Stanford economist who is an expert in this area) suggests that determining hybrid schedules should be done on a team-by-team basis given different collaboration needs across departments.

For example, at ChowNow, a company close to me, salespeople come to the office 4 days a week, but others come in for 2 days. The one thing all teams do is have everyone on that team come in on the same day. As Chris Webb, ChowNow’s CEO, says, “In many ways, the people are the perk.”

Two key takeaways from this data:

✔️ If there is a Return-to-Work mandate (even part-time) we need to fully explain the benefit, the ‘why’ behind the request. Employees need to understand the value they personally will get from making this change, not just the value the company will receive.

✔️ We need to reskill managers on how to lead remote and hybrid workers. We must teach them how to mentor, build culture, and encourage self-motivation virtually.

More ideas on hybrid work can be seen in the image below.

Any other lessons you’ve learned about remote and hybrid work? Please share in the comments so we can learn from you! ✍️

* It should be noted that the research focuses on employees who can work from home. As the pandemic taught us, many front-line service, hospitality, health care, and manufacturing workers (to name a few) don’t have this luxury.

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