Workers who can choose where to work from are happier, but only one in five currently have that autonomy. In addition, 62 percent of German employees prefer hybrid working, but only 43 percent are allowed to divide their time flexibly between office and home office.
These are the findings of the current edition of the Hybrid Ways of Working Global Report by the Danish sound specialist Jabra. It was conducted among 2,800 knowledge workers in six countries and examines the mood and motivation of employees in relation to their workplace in times of hybrid work.
A key finding of the report: Employees who can decide for themselves when and where they work feel a clearly positive impact on their productivity, satisfaction and well-being. Companies therefore not only have to adapt and modernize existing working models, but also rethink the use of office space. This is the only way to ensure efficient cooperation, which also increases employee satisfaction.
Stay in the home office or back to the office?
With the realization that they can also perform at their best regardless of where they work, a new phase of hybrid work begins in which employees want to decide for themselves where they work. 58 percent of respondents in Germany who have full freedom of choice about their place of work prefer a hybrid work week. That percentage is double the proportion of those who only work remotely and more than three times the proportion of those who only work in the office.
74 percent of German employees, who are allowed to decide for themselves where and when they work, see their work experience as clearly positive. This proportion is significantly lower among those who have medium or low work autonomy – 70 and 61 percent, respectively. These differences are particularly evident in the sense of belonging, productivity, trust in managers, work-life balance and mental well-being. From a global perspective, there is also a difference between the generations: Only 19 percent of the Gen Z and Millennials surveyed want to work exclusively from the office, among Gen X it is still 26 percent and among Boomers 30 percent.
More autonomy not only plays a central role in increasing the commitment and satisfaction of employees, but also in stabilizing the corporate culture and economic success.
Implement office redesigns correctly
Organizations are transforming their offices with a strong focus on collaboration, but the report reveals there are other issues to consider. Particularly important for almost all employees: their own workplace in the office. Around four out of ten German employees stated that they would be less loyal and committed to their employer if they did not have a permanent job. 71 percent state that even if they didn’t have their own job, they would always try to secure the same one every day.
In addition, 78 percent of the meetings in Germany are completely virtual or hybrid, only 22 percent take place completely in person. Companies must therefore find and use virtual collaboration technologies that optimally integrate all employees – no matter where they are.
Work from anywhere
Gen Z is not only a generation of digital natives, but also of hybrid natives. Many started their careers during the pandemic, so remote and hybrid work is all they have experienced. Similarly, 64 percent of Gen Z respondents around the world consider their laptop, headset, and anywhere with a good internet connection to be their office. Technology will therefore become even more important in the future in order to offer employees a positive work experience.
These hybrid natives are also twice as likely as Millennials and almost three times as likely as Gen X to use co-working spaces, coffee shops or libraries as workspaces. As Gen Z continues to make up the workforce, companies need to understand and accommodate the different generational preferences for where they work to attract the best talent and remain competitive in the New Normal. Only if employees are equipped with the appropriate technology can their productivity, well-being and maximum professionalism be guaranteed in any work environment.
“For two years we have been in the biggest labor experiment of all time. Started as a necessary change to remote work, a long-term testing of various hybrid working models is now developing. In the third year of this New Works, we need to approach hybrid work and offices differently to attract and retain talent. Leaders need to find out what their employees really need to optimize their hybrid work experience. To do this, we need to provide a sense of belonging in a work environment that is largely virtual. The Solution: Let’s give employees the power to choose where they work, and give them the technology, tools, and support to be productive anywhere. It’s time to stop thinking about office work or working from home and think about a future in which we can all work from anywhere,” summarizes Holger Reisinger, SVP at Jabra.