The hybrid work model seems to be here to stay and organizations the world over are finding ways to embrace it, defining policies and creating infrastructure to better navigate the intricacies of this new environment. As hybrid continues to evolve, new research is looking into what people value now and what has to change.
Of all the changes and disruptions to our daily lives brought about by the global Covid-19 pandemic over the past three years, hybrid work is perhaps the most significant and longlasting, a fundamental rethinking of our relationship with the office that seems to be here to stay. Hybrid work is a flexible work model that supports a blend of in-office, remote and on-the-go work, affording employees the autonomy to choose to work wherever and however they are most happy and productive. Importantly, hybrid work is still evolving and new patterns will keep on emerging as we continue to adapt to ever-changing conditions and developments—in the needs of the workforce, company culture, social norms, the business landscape and technology to name a few.
In this context, it would be interesting to know how hybrid work is faring around the world and how employees as well as organizations are responding to it. Recent global research by Steelcase, the global leader in office furniture and innovative workspace solutions, explored what people do, need and expect in today’s era of hybrid work. The results are quite interesting.
There is a correlation between age and preference for remote or in-office work
- The office is still key
On average, the majority of employees globally (70%) are working in the office at least three days a week. This number varies depending on a number of factors, including the line of work and the type of employer, as well as the country of residence. While in the US 55% work mostly in-office and 45% work mostly remotely, those figures stand at 53% and 47% in the UK, 70% and 30% in Germany, and 95% and 5% in China.
- Size matters
We are seeing patterns emerging around who is adopting hybrid and where. Small and midsize companies in small and midsize cities tend to work in-office the most. Big companies in big cities, doing computer-based work, are adopting greater levels of hybrid or remote work. Based on Steelcase’s research, 75% of employees in small companies work in-office compared to 69% in midsize and 60% in large companies.
- It differs by industry
Another key factor affecting the percentage of employees working in-office or remotely is the type of industry the company operates in. The industries with the highest percentage of employees working in-office are education institutions (87%), utility companies (84%) and manufacturing (80%), while the lowest percentages are found in telecoms (55%), tech (64%) and insurance (66%).
- Generational trends
One of the most interesting outcomes from Steelcase’s research is there is a correlation between age and preference for remote or in-office work, with the percentage of employees opting to work in-office standing at just 57% for Baby Boomers and 67% for Generation X compared to 73% for Millennials and 77% for Generation Z, who appear to be driven by a desire for better and faster career advancement.