The workplace has adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions by mainstreaming the work-from-home concept, which is seen as more than a trend and is likely here to stay. Sprout Solutions, a Filipino Software as a Service (SaaS) company, looks into how the workplace will evolve in the next normal via a study called Going Hybrid: The Future of Work.
The study was made a survey among 485 respondents from HR Departments, and 8,194 employees. Of these, 20% of HR professionals wanted a return to the Work From Office model, and 80% of HR respondents wanted a Hybrid or Remote workplace. Among the employees, 9% wanted to report back to work at the office while 91% wanted Hybrid or Remote.
The Sprout Solutions study has also found that HR teams need support adopting a hybrid setup. Among the respondents, 64.6% of HR admins and managers need help to understand how to make a hybrid setup work, while 70.71% of remote employees love their current remote setup but only 43.54% feel engaged.
“The sentiments of employees stem from a love of work and the flexibility to work on one’s own terms, but feel that there is a lack of support to make it sustainable in the long term. Then, as the workplace landscape adjusts to the hybrid future, HR teams need to re-evaluate and redefine current roles rather than to simply cherry-pick which roles can be done remotely. What they can do is to centralize support functions and make output-based work the primary guiding principle of their organization,” says Sprout Solutions Chief People and Customer Officer Arlene De Castro.
While working remotely, teams are no longer able to have those serendipitous conversations or just hang out during breaks, so there needs to be a focused effort to engage with others. “When these needs aren’t met, working from home could lead to isolation, feelings of unhappiness, and a diminishing of passion towards company goals. Leaders are expected to meet their virtual teams halfway, by considering activities that could contribute to team building and relationship development,” De Castro adds.
These insights show that employee behavior is starting to change as people realize the benefits of remote work. Based on the findings of this research, the current trends are clear: office workers want a hybrid model, but they also don’t want to lose out on the opportunity to connect and collaborate. In particular, WFO teams want to embrace change because the home environment empowers people to be flexible and to manage their day autonomously.
As for those who want to return to the physical office, 95% say they feel safe upon their return to the office space, but they want to feel safer. This entails providing the proper compensation and benefits that make WFO much easier to bear, i.e., free PPEs, transportation allowance, hazard pay, free parking, and free COVID-19 tests.
To ease apprehensions, more than half or 60% of the HR executive respondents share that they provide targeted incentives for WFO employees. These benefits extend beyond protection from COVID-19. Vaccination, while not mandatory by government, is mostly required by management, with 73.91% of the respondents saying that they do/will require vaccinations, subject to religious and/or medical reasons.
Bridging the Gap
For many, the future of work is a hybrid model, which is neither fully remote nor completely back to the office: rather, it’s a little bit of both. A hybrid setup combines both working from home and the office, and the manner in which this is practiced varies from company to company.
The Sprout Solutions study finds that 64.6% of remote leaders share that they need support to make the hybrid model work, 50.8% of WFO managers foresee a post-pandemic workplace that’s pre-dominantly remote, 70.7% of remote employees love their current remote setup but only 43.5% feel engaged and 44.6% of WFH workers foresee a fully remote future workplace.
With Hybrid work on the horizon for many industries, the key takeaway from the study is that there are gaps that need to be addressed to maintain or even boost productivity using this model. “The future of work needs flexibility, collaboration and engagement,” says De Castro.
There are several ways to implement a hybrid workplace arrangement. Remote Hybrid is made up of remote employees that may report to a physical office when necessary; In-Person Hybrid consists of employees that work at a physical office but have the option to work remotely; Mixed Hybrid is split into a fully remote and in-office workspace; Split Hybrid operates on a shifting schedule: for example, WFO on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and Work From Home on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“To make this effective, companies need to recalibrate their tech stack & benefits portfolio. Tech plays a significant role in making a hybrid setup work. With the right remote work tech stack, admins and managers can track employee productivity and performance better. The type, amount, and category that companies will use will depend on their size, industry, and budget. A successful remote work setup should consider having communication, remote collaboration, cloud storage, remote work management, and workflow management tools at their disposal,” De Castro explains.
The Tech Track
Sprout Solutions has an ecosystem of products and services to help companies manage their hybrid workflow, including digitizing traditional HR functions such as payroll and timekeeping, recruitment and employee engagement. It also has a tool called Performance + which is a unique Performance Management system that is integrated with a Learning Management system that aligns growth and development performance appraisals towards the company’s business goals.
From setting and tracking goals, developing succession plans, aligning competencies to strategies, establishing workflows, analytics, legal checks, and e-signatures, Performance+ can mirror existing company process and improve it, making it easy for managers and employees to complete appraisals in time, and allows organizations to grow efficiently with process that can scale. Companies can also avail of Professional Services outsourced from Sprout’s experts to aid small, medium-sized, and large enterprise businesses in the Philippines in whatever processes that they may need more reinforcement with, to help pave their way to success as they adapt to the next normal of work.
Adopting a hybrid setup is a must for organizations that value productivity and engagement. Make the most of your agile workforce and provide support where it matters the most. Improve retention and give your employees the holistic care they deserve with Sprout’s end-to-end employee experience platform. With Sprout, companies have access to a cutting-edge, world-class suite of HR solutions and create a future-proof hybrid workplace.