The next disruption is hybrid work – are we ready?

hybrid work

We’re on the brink of a disruption as great as last year’s sudden shift to remote work: the move to hybrid work — a blended model where some employees return to the workplace and others continue to work from home.

We’re experiencing this at Microsoft, and today we shared how we’re evolving our own hybrid work strategy for our 160,000+ employees around the world.

We’re all learning as we go, but we know two things for sure: flexible work is here to stay, and the talent landscape has fundamentally shifted.

Remote work has created new job opportunities for some, offered more family time, and provided options for whether or when to commute. But there are also challenges ahead.

Teams have become more siloed this year and digital exhaustion is a real and unsustainable threat.

With over 40 percent of the global workforce considering leaving their employer this year, a thoughtful approach to hybrid work will be critical for attracting and retaining diverse talent.

To help organizations through the transition, the 2021 Work Trend Index outlines findings from a study of more than 30,000 people in 31 countries and an analysis of trillions of productivity and labour signals across Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn.

It also includes perspectives from experts who have spent decades studying collaboration, social capital, and space design at work for decades.

Read on to explore how the year 2020 created lasting changes to the way we work, and the seven trends that will shape the future of a hybrid work world.

Flexible work is here to stay

Employees want the best of both worlds: over 70 percent of workers want flexible remote work options to continue, while over 65 percent are craving more in-person time with their teams.

To prepare, 66 per cent of business decision-makers are considering redesigning physical spaces to better accommodate hybrid work environments.

The data is clear: extreme flexibility and hybrid work will define the post-pandemic workplace.

It’s equally important to note, however, that leaders may be too narrowly focused on where to invest.

Even after a year of working from home, 42 per cent of employees say they lack essential office supplies at home, and one in 10 don’t have an adequate internet connection to do their job.

Yet, over 46 percent say their employer does not help them with remote work expenses.

Last year’s move to remote work boosted feelings of inclusion for workers because everyone was in the same virtual room.

The move to hybrid will break that mold and it will be a new and important objective to ensure employees are given the flexibility to work when and where they want, as well as the tools they need to equally contribute from wherever they happen to be.

6 more trends

  • Leaders are out of touch with employees and need a wake-up call
  • High productivity is masking an exhausted workforce
  • Gen Z is at risk and will need to be re-energised
  • Shrinking networks are endangering innovation
  • Authenticity will spur productivity and wellbeing
  • Talent is everywhere in a hybrid world

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