Much has been written about the hybrid model as the future of work, and a new study finds that to achieve that, 64% of employees would pay for access to office space, and 75% would give up at least one benefit or perk for the freedom to choose their work environment.
Hybrid work is a model in which employees have the ability to work in different spaces, including corporate offices, co-working spaces, cafes and from home.
Post-COVID, employees want to split their time between their company headquarters, home and other locations such as satellite offices, co-working spaces, and public “third spaces” like a library or cafe, according to a blind study by WeWork and Workplace Intelligence, an HR research and advisory firm.
But employees who are more satisfied and engaged at work want to spend twice as much time in these “other locations,” compared to their less satisfied and less engaged colleagues.
The study of 2,000 U.S. employees and C-level executives found that both groups desire hybrid so much that they’re willing to make a significant financial investment to ensure a successful transition to this new way of working. The survey also revealed a link between hybrid work arrangements and employee satisfaction, engagement and likelihood to recommend their company.
SEE: Follow these 7 steps to ask the boss for a hybrid schedule (TechRepublic)
Post-pandemic, 79% of the C-Suite respondents said they plan to let their employees split their time between corporate offices and remote working if their job allows for it. Another 76% said they’re likely to give their employees a stipend to work from home or a co-working space, the study found.
Employees, companies willing to make sacrifices for hybrid work
Employees want flexibility so badly that they’re willing to give up valuable benefits and perks, and companies are highly willing to support them and adopt hybrid strategies, the study found.
Desire to choose: 95% of employees want some level of control over how, where, and when they work—and 96% of companies are willing to give them that control.
Willingness to sacrifice: 75% of employees would be willing to give up at least one benefit or perk—including healthcare coverage, cash bonuses and paid time off—for the freedom to choose their work environment.
Personally invested: 64% of employees would personally pay for access to an office space in a location of their choice, and nearly half (48%) would pay more than $300 per month.
What the future of hybrid work looks like
In the new hybrid model, employees will work from multiple locations in any given week, including their home, company HQ, satellite offices, co-working spaces, and public “third spaces” like a library or cafe. They’ll also split each workday between different locations, according to the study.
Division of time: After COVID-19, employees want to spend 36% of their time at a company HQ, 30% of their time working from home, and 34% of their time at satellite offices, co-working / flexible shared spaces or public “third spaces.”
Company expectations: The C-Suite would prefer that employees spend 53% of their time in an office and 47% of their time working from home or another public space.
Flexible workweek: 53% of employees want to work in an office 3 days/week or less. When they do go into an office, 50% of employees say less than 5 hours/day is ideal.
Hybrid work is considered a benefit
Nearly all survey respondents reported understanding the benefits of a hybrid model, but certain types of companies and employees are more likely to be “early adopters” of this approach. Ninety-four percent of employees and 96% of the C-Suite respondents said that there are benefits to a hybrid approach.
Employees say the top three benefits of a hybrid approach are better work-life balance (62%), more control over their schedule (49%), a less stressful work environment (48%), and saving money on commuting costs (also 48%).
The top three benefits cited by C-Suite respondents were more flexibility (52%), higher productivity (49%), and higher engagement (42%).
Flexibility is seen as the ultimate perk: Overall, 87% of the C-Suite respondents said they consider flexible workspace options a benefit or perk for their employees. This number was higher in large companies (96%) vs. small (75%), urban locations (93%) vs. rural (80%), companies in the pre-start-up stage (96%) vs. the mature stage (79%), and industries like financial services (94%) and software & technology (94%), according to the study.
“Now more than ever, these survey results reinforce what the pandemic has made clear: COVID-19 has fundamentally altered the way we think about the office,” said Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of WeWork, in a statement. “Moving forward, employees and companies will need to adopt flexible solutions that support hybrid working styles in order to keep employees engaged and satisfied. As the results show, hybrid is the way of the future.”
The study concludes that people inherently want more freedom in their lives, including control over when, where and how they work, said Dan Schawbel, managing partner of Workplace Intelligence, in a statement.
“We found that even if companies don’t provide access to offices, many employees are willing to use their own income to have a hybrid arrangement,” Schawbel said. “The sooner companies accept, promote and adapt to a hybrid work model, the better it will be for everyone.”