Hybrid Workplaces Are Here To Stay

06 Nov 2020 | 10.57 am

Hybrid Workplaces Are Here To Stay

And so is the cat on your keyboard

06 Nov 2020 | 10.57 am

More than 72% of organisations have implemented remote working policies in 2020, according to research from Microsoft, as against 22% last year, under the impact of Covid-19.

The results indicate that so-called hybrid workplaces are here to stay, with business leaders sure that 45% of employees will continue to work remotely and employees expecting to spend at least a third of working time away from the office.

Both employees and leaders participated in the survey, carried out by Boston Consulting and, overall, 97% of the respondents cited the importance of changing their firm’s ways of working to become more innovative and flexible.

Bosses found many benefits from remote working, including equal or greater productivity from remote workers (73%), better retention rates (68%) and increased sustainability (61% ), while employees rated dressing casually (79%), more time for hobbies (56%), personalised workspace (46%), and having their pet by their side (32%) as the top benefits.

According to Microsoft commercial director Aisling Curtis (pictured), the results stand to reason, as business leaders focus on trying to maintain culture and innovation.

Curtis said: “Since the onset of the industrial age, our workforce has been largely rooted in a predicable rhythm of business – a nine to five working day with two hectic commutes either side. With the onset of Covid-19, we’ve seen that 200-year-old model completely upended. 

“At Microsoft, we’ve been working with countless customers and partners to enable remote working as they look to continue meeting the needs of their own customers while keeping their employees safe.

“Now, while employees still see value in working from a main office at least some of the time, the research finds that, on average, people would like to spend approximately one third of time outside the traditional office setting. 

“But people see time spent in the office as a powerful way to maintain bonds with their colleagues. Indeed, 71% of employees in Ireland worked remotely during the first lockdown while leaders predict that 45% of employees will continue to work remotely.

“Drawing from my conversations with customers in recent months, I have heard from many that the challenge with more remote working has not been related to business continuity or productivity. Rather, the issue is around ensuring that teams continue to feel tight-knit and very much connected to the pulse of the company’s culture.”

And though maintaining a company’s culture and ability to innovate in a remote working scenario is challenging, Curtis pointed to the survey’s conclusion that Irish leaders believed their organisations were as innovative now as a year ago, whereas across Europe the numbers with that belief declined by more than 33%. 

Microsoft has a range of tools and other assistance for workers, businesses, job seekers, and communities on its website here. 

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