- Half of job seekers would prefer a hybrid working environment.
- More than 1 in 10 are seeking office only work.
- Schej’s 2021 report is available for download.
Has the novelty of working from home full-time started to wear off for UK employees? After months of attempting to set up the most efficient home office space, and wearing PJs with formal shirts in virtual meetings, an increasing number of job seekers are on the hunt for careers where they can meet up face-to-face with co-workers, even if it's only occasionally.
, a hybrid workforce scheduling app, carried out research among UK employees and managers about their experiences with different work models: remote, hybrid and office, and revealed some surprising results
Only 1 in 5 (20%) respondents said they would seek a fully remote job; whereas just over half (51%) said they’d prefer a hybrid environment, in which they have the flexibility to choose daily whether to work from home or the office.
More than 1 in 10 (13%) said they’d prefer a model where they work solely from the office, which is perhaps understandable given that many miss the face-to-face interaction provided by having colleagues around as well as the speed and ease of information exchange.
Marketing founder at Schej, Graham Smith, commented, “The initial excitement of a better work:life balance and no commuting seems to have been replaced by the reality of loneliness, poor team bonding and silo information.”
He added, “It’s also true that not everyone has a happy home life and sometimes the office can be seen as a safe space - if only for a few hours.”
One potential reason for jobseekers wanting hybrid work is the idea of proximity bias in the workplace. This refers to the unconscious tendency to give those in our immediate vicinity preferential treatment.
As a result, ambitious job seekers may realise that having days in the office is an opportunity to rub shoulders with senior managers and have accidental conversations with those in charge. This means they may be more likely to receive praise and promotion than their 'invisible' fully remote colleagues.
Talent acquisition and staff retention in a hybrid model
The hybrid working report also examined the pros of the hybrid model. Some believe it enables businesses to decrease their office space, however, according to managers, this isn’t the main advantage.
Topping the benefits list when it comes to hybrid working, 38.5% of CEOs & HR Managers said it resulted in better staff retention, followed by 29.5% who said it gave them access to a greater talent pool. Saving on office space scored relatively low on the benefits list, with just 17% who said this was a benefit.
Managers in the UK seem to be aware that current and potential employees are seeking out hybrid workplace jobs, seeing this as an advantage when it comes to acquiring the best talent in a competitive market.
Graham Smith commented, “Organisations that don’t consider a hybrid working model could find themselves fishing for candidates in a very small pool.” He continued, “But telling all your staff to work from home on a Friday is not hybrid. Hybrid means giving your staff genuine choice on where they work and on what days. Harmonising that with the needs of the company requires more than a spreadsheet.”
The new ways of working are still very new. Commentators have not yet agreed on the terminology: Hybrid? Blended? Flexible? Agile? Schej hopes their Hybrid Working Report
will bring some clarity in a confusing world.