According to a March poll of 515 HR experts, C-suite executives, and in-house attorneys conducted by law firm Littler Mendelson, 71% of US firms will continue to adopt a hybrid work arrangement until 2023. Around 16% demand 100% in-person employment, 6% utilize 100% remote work, and 7% give workers an option.
Among those who allow a hybrid approach, some are growing more stringent with in-office restrictions. Nearly half of those polled claimed they were lowering the remote component of their hybrid model, while 39% stated they had not adjusted their workers’ work patterns. Only 12% are shifting in the opposite direction, providing greater flexibility and remote work possibilities.
According to Littler, the United States is still the most likely to accept hybrid work; nearly twice as many respondents to the firm’s European poll indicated their employers required in-person labor, and Littler pointed to previous research indicating similar patterns in Asia. “The persistently low U.S. unemployment rate and staffing shortages across several industries may still be giving American workers more leverage to push for hybrid work arrangements,” Littler speculated.
The current state of hybrid work in the United States is still in flux, as many businesses are still figuring out how to apply this new model and what it implies for their employees. Some organizations have said that they want to use hybrid labor indefinitely, while others are waiting and reviewing the issue on a case-by-case basis.
One of the most difficult aspects of hybrid work is maintaining a sense of connection and collaboration between workers who work remotely and those who work in person.
Littler’s research comes as little surprise to many trend observers. In the early months of the epidemic, practically as soon as companies realized employees could efficiently execute their tasks remotely, HR professionals and future-of-work scholars predicted that ubiquitous hybrid and remote models were here to stay.
Flexible work options have risen to the top of many employees’ wish lists. As companies battled the Great Resignation, offering hybrid employment was one way to distinguish out — or, in certain sectors, at the very least, provide table stakes. Those that stuck with the approach until late in 2022, when some businesses began to tighten up on flexibility and adopt additional return-to-office rules in anticipation of an economic slump, may still be reaping hiring benefits.
While employee desire for flexibility exists, the model has faced problems in recent years. According to a recent Gartner poll, poorly planned hybrid arrangements can annoy employees, and a lack of set norms for the model may force them to leave. Several studies, including one conducted by the Integrated Benefits Institute, have discovered a relationship between hybrid work and anxiety and sadness.
Recently, since hybrid work looks to be a long-term trend, attention has shifted to how businesses might give benefits more efficiently. According to Gartner’s analysis, improving employee engagement in the workplace may be accomplished by having employees communicate their preferences with colleagues and fostering more on-site relationships.