The working from home trend is fading! Video conferencing company Zoom, which became a symbol for remote work during the pandemic, has joined the growing number of companies demanding staffers to get back to the office. The Covid pandemic is no longer considered to be a global health emergency by the WHO but it has permanently changed the focus of office work.
Zoom said employees living within 80 km of an Zoom office should come in at least two days a week, according to Business Insider.
After sending staffers off to work from home avoiding the virus, many companies have introduced rules on how many days per week staffers have to be at the office.
At the end of this year, 39% of global knowledge workers are expected to mix working from the office and from home. The number of employees who work only from home is expected to continue to fall.
A test of four-day workweek in the UK resulted in 92% of the test companies deciding to permanently use four-day workweek.
A forecast from market research firm Gartner predicts that 39% of global knowledge workers will work hybrid by the end of this year, up from 37% in 2022. Only 9% of global knowledge workers will work fully remote. In the US, 51% of knowledge workers will work hybrid and 20% fully remote.
The number of remote workers is expected to continue to fall year over year. Hybrid workers are defined as workers who work in the office at least one day a week.
“Hybrid is no longer just an employee perk but an employee expectation. Many employees started to partially return to the office in 2022, but the hybrid workstyle will remain prominent in 2023 and beyond”, says Ranjit Atwal, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner.
The report says IT workers are more inclined to quit their jobs than employees in other functions as they look for greater flexibility, improved work-life balance and better career opportunities.
Gartner predicts that by 2025, 10% of workers will use virtual spaces for activities such as sales, onboarding and working remotely.
“While all countries have increased their proportion of hybrid and fully remote work since 2019, the allure of fully remote and hybrid work varies significantly by country.”
“Japan employers are focused more on employees returning to the office full time compared with other employers around the globe. In Japan, the number of fully remote and hybrid knowledge workers will total 29% of its workforce in 2023.”
“In Europe, where face-to-face interaction remains a preference, the hybrid style of work is projected to increase in 2023. In Germany, fully remote and hybrid knowledge workers will account for 49% of the German workforce in 2023.”
“Given their cultural and vertical industry mix, the number of fully remote and hybrid knowledge workers in the U.K. will be on the rise over the same period.”
“The U.S. number of fully remote and hybrid knowledge workers will account for 71% of the U.S. workforce in 2023. In the U.K., fully remote and hybrid knowledge workers will represent 67% of its workforce in 2023.”
The pandemic made many companies accept staffers working from home. Now, a large test of a four-day week shows that 92% of companies participating have decided to continue with the shorter work week.
61 UK companies, many of them in the digital sector including software, participated in the test by think tank Autonomy including specialists from the University of Cambridge and Boston College in the US.
Of the 61 companies, 56 are continuing with the four-day week with 18 saying the policy is a permanent change, a report from the project shows.
Hybrid environment by definition means that employees are experiencing their work in very different contexts — some face-to-face, others remote — and those may vary by the day. As a result, hybrid workspaces aren’t uniform; some people may experience a hybrid environment as toxic while others do not, Mark Mortensen, professor in organisational behaviour at business school INSEAD in Paris, writes in Harvard Business Review.
To prevent such a development, he advises leaders to approach toxic behaviours in hybrid work in four ways: educate, lay a foundation, have ongoing conversations, and intervene quickly.
“The first step toward avoiding toxic behaviour in hybrid teams is to help people learn how it can arise. You may think, “Of course they know not to be disrespectful, abusive, or noninclusive,” but that’s not the issue. Sit down with your employees and have a conversation about how these outcomes can happen as unintended consequences of hybrid work arrangements and decisions. Remind them that toxicity is about behaviour — and that what matters isn’t what your intention was but how others perceive your actions.”
“A good starting point is to ask employees to reflect on hybrid work behaviours they may have experienced as toxic (for example, feeling routinely excluded from a social group or reading comments on Slack that they found abusive or disrespectful).
Lay a foundation
“One of the most effective tools you can put in place is a culture with built-in antibodies against toxic behaviours. In particular, focus on promoting empathy and psychological safety. A culture with a core of empathy encourages employees to consider the impact of their actions on their colleagues, increasing the likelihood that employees catch themselves before behaving in a way another might find troubling.”
Have ongoing conversations
“Because the experience of hybrid work is different among employees and dynamic over time (someone may be in the office today, surrounded by colleagues, and at home alone tomorrow), toxicity is a moving target. The only truly effective way to manage such dynamism is with an ongoing process — and the cornerstone is repeated, ongoing conversations. I encourage hybrid teams and organizations to have periodic check-ins here everyone is encouraged to raise concerns or flag toxic experiences.”
“Even with a good understanding of the issues, a positive cultural foundation in place, and ongoing discussions, hybrid working may still lead to behaviours that your employees find toxic. A big problem with toxic environments is that they tend to get worse: Toxic behaviours either feed on themselves, breeding more toxicity, or cause disgruntled employees to disengage, creating new tensions due to workloads needing to be redistributed.”
“To break the cycle, you need to not only keep an eye out for toxic behaviours but also be ready to move fast when you see them, help all parties engage in a dialogue, and work to reach a mutually acceptable solution.”