This Week in Hybrid & Remote Work – April 30th Edition

Welcome back to another “This Week in Hybrid & Remote Work”, where we pull together five of the most interesting articles/posts we came across this week that discuss the global shift to hybrid and remote work scenarios. Some weeks are more focused on the technology discussion around enabling this global shift, other weeks are focused on the organizational implications of these changes. And some weeks – like this week – are all over the place with interesting articles running the gamut. 

With that – let’s dive in!

1) Survey: Working Parents Will Quit Without Remote Work (Forbes)

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen multiple surveys that show significant numbers of people are prepared to quit their jobs if their employers won’t allow them to continue to work from home – or at the very least split time between home and the office – after the pandemic. This survey focused on how parents feel about the subject, with a somewhat surprising result. A whopping 62% of parents said they would quit their jobs if they couldn’t continue to work remotely:

FlexJobs surveyed more than 1,100 parents with children 18 or younger living at home.

As before the pandemic, working parents cite increased productivity as a benefit of remote work (51%). Presumably, these working parents have found ways to make their environment set them up for success. Brie Weiler Reynolds, career development manager and coach at FlexJobs and adds: “These professionals work best when they work for companies that trust them, allow them to work where, when, and how they work best, and understand that processes and results are often more important than location.”

In thinking of the future after the pandemic, FlexJobs found 61% of parents say they want to work remotely full-time, while 37% prefer hybrid. Additionally, 62% of working parents say they would quit their current job if they can’t continue remote work.

Read the full article here.

2) Rejecting hybrid work will cost employers, survey finds (TechTarget) 

This article caught my eye because it has a ton of really big, compelling stats. $1 trillion spent in equipment and labor to shift to home offices? WOW. And while the stats are eye-popping, it’s worth sticking around for the actual analysis provided by the article, which delves into the total cost employers could face if they reject hybrid work:

In total, this pandemic-driven shift to home offices amounted, both in equipment costs and labor, to 0.7% of GDP, nearly $1 trillion. This is “about the same amount that the government spent on defense in 2020,” said Nicholas Bloom, a professor of economics at Stanford University and one of the authors of a working paper based on a survey of 30,000 Americans, titled “Why Working from Home Will Stick.”

But this new world of work comes with significant risks for employers. Work from home is so popular that job seekers may take the same job with a 5% to 10% pay cut if it allows a WFH option, Bloom said.

The paper estimates that 20% of full-time workdays will be from the home post-pandemic, compared with 5% before the pandemic. Employers who reject hybrid work may face problems. 

“My broad advice for firms is the labor market is heating up, and pretty soon we are going to be back in the war-for-talent era,” Bloom said in an email. “This will mean firms not offering a couple of days a week WFH will have to compensate their employees with significantly higher pay to stop them quitting.”

“If firms really hate WFH, they can pay their employees 8% more to keep them — but if they don’t, they should expect to see rising quit rates,” Bloom said.

Read the full article here

3) The new negotiation over job benefits and perks in post-Covid hybrid work (CNBC)

This article is based on a really interesting survey presented by the Harvard Busines School that shows just how stark the difference is between what PEOPLE want and what COMPANIES want when it comes to the future of work:

The tensions are evident in a recent Harvard Business School study of 1,500 remote workers. Just 18% of employees want to go back to the office full-time; 27% want to work permanently remote; and 61% want a combination of both. Meanwhile, about 70% of employers want people back in the office, citing worries about company culture, Neeley said. 

Which leads to the meat of the article, which is what this data means to the future of job negotiations:

Decisions about work from home policies should be decided at the upper levels to prevent friction between managers and employees, says Neeley, though another Harvard Business School remote work expert holds a different view, saying teams are best placed to make decisions, not C-suites or individuals.

For companies with stricter rules, workers can also use past experience to negotiate a more accommodating schedule, says Paul Wolfe, senior vice president of human resources at Indeed. 

“If you work at a company with more rigid rules, have a conversation with the manager, back it up with data,” says Wolfe. “If you’re a strong performer that’s a good thing to bring up as part of your negotiations.” 

Harrington says workers should initiate that conversation and be proactive, and he urges workers to be honest and direct with their managers and treat it like conversation versus an ultimatum. 

Some companies may allow remote work but require in-office participation for onboarding or quarterly meetings, an initiative Joblist incorporated from the get-go. The company maintains a San Francisco office yet most workers are remote Harrington said, adding that in-person is good for relationship building and long-term planning. Companies should survey their workers to gauge feedback.

“I don’t think employees should give up anything,” Tohyama says. “I think this is the way of the future.”

Read the full article here.

4) The Future Forum 

Okay, so this next one isn’t an article I read this week, but I’m going to break the rules a bit and talk about a super interesting resource I came across. It’s called the Future Forum, and one thing that’s interesting is that I feel like I should’ve stumbled across this much sooner. Future Forum is a consortium formed by Slack and their partners, and it’s focus is to help question the way work has always been done and help reimagine what work can become. From their site:

The sudden move to remote work provides the opportunity to question decades of orthodoxy, to reimagine culture and norms, and leverage technology to create a better way to work.

Future Forum enables leaders to reimagine work through data and dialogue, to create a people-centric and digital-first future of work. We believe that competitive advantage in this century comes down to people. How you attract and retain diverse talent, how you align them against common purpose that engages them fully, and how you enable them to act with agility to achieve great things. We believe that sharing of insights, thoughtful deliberations, and mutual dissatisfaction with the status quo will help us all lead a revolution to a better way to work.

There’s so much good data on this site, including their blog and the quarterly report they’re issuing. Ever since we launched the Digital Workspace Ecosystem Alliance earlier this month, I’ve developed an all new appreciation for what can be accomplished when you harness the power of a bunch of like-minded organizations and individuals who are all committed to something bigger than themselves. Future Forum is a great example of this, and I’m very impressed with what they’ve put together so far. 

Learn more about the Future Forum here

5) Want to Be a Smart Leader in the Hybrid Work Age? Start by Doing These 4 Things Daily (Inc.)

As we’ve discussed a lot in the past, the shift to hybrid & remote work is far bigger than just a technology conversation. One of the things we all need to keep in mind is the impact this shift is having on our people and our companies’ cultures. This article in Inc. does a great job of providing a simple framework that leaders should keep in mind every day to help keep things in check and to make sure that their most valuable assets – their people and teams – are being taken care of. Here’s the quick list, but it’s definitely worth clicking through for the quick read on how to apply these:

1. Provide career mobility options

2. Protect employees from remote-work burnout

3. Create a culture of recognition

4. Promote trust by getting your people involved in the business

Read the full article here

Thanks for joining us for another This Week in Hybrid & Remote Work, and let us know in the comments below what you’re been reading on these topics as well!