Hybrid work is definitely here to stay. The part-time remote work situation has exploded in popularity thanks to the unique needs of the past few years, and employees are not particularly interested in giving up this flexibility anytime soon.
To better understand what the future of hybrid work will (and should) look like, the experts at Gallup have conducted a study of current hybrid work policies. Their findings, based on responses from over 8,000 remote-capable employees in the U.S., focus on answering five key questions to better understand how to make hybrid work effective for everyone.
- How many days per week are hybrid employees working on-site and how many do they prefer?
Among current remote workers, there is no clear consensus on what the “ideal” number of days on-site/in-office are. Currently, about one-third of workers spend just one day on site, another third are in the office two or three days per week, and the other third are on-site four days a week. However, there is one clear preference: only 12% of workers actually want to be in the office four days per week. The rest is relatively evenly split between one, two, and three-day preferences, with a slight edge to the two-day preference (29% of workers overall).
- Which days of the week are most popular for on-site work?
Particularly for roles – like those in manufacturing and related industries – that require in-person coverage all the time, it’s important for companies to understand how employees prefer to schedule their hybrid work. As one might expect, Gallup found that Mondays and Fridays are strongly preferred as work-from-home days, while Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are more popular choices for on-site work. Offering options or rotations for when coverage is required on “unpopular” days can help ensure a feeling of fairness and consideration across teams.
- How many days per week on-site are optimal?
While it would be nice to just be able to apply one solution to everyone, the answers to this question suggest that there’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all recommendation. In general, Gallup’s research found that two or three days on-site, per week, is the best range for most roles, but it varies based on the nature of the work and the amount of collaboration necessary. For more independently-performed roles, two or three days of in-person work suffices, but for roles where more collaboration is necessary, employee engagement was notably higher when they worked three days in the office (rather than just two).
However, when in-person work is required for a set number of days, the benefit to employee engagement disappears – organizations will need to craft a smart strategy to encourage collaboration without issuing edicts that actually hurt engagement.
- Which hybrid work policies are being implemented?
The actual ways in which hybrid work is implemented seem to vary widely. 29% of employees say their employer requires office attendance on specific days of the week, while 28% say they’re required to work a minimum number of days on-site but can choose which days. On the other hand, 43% report no “universal” on-site requirements. More flexibility seems to correspond with a more positive response from employees: 60% of employees prefer that their employer not set a universal scheduling policy, and engagement is higher among those employees.
- Who should set hybrid work policies?
As with other aspects of remote and hybrid work, Gallup found no clear, unified answer to this question. The most common answer, at 37% of respondents, was “entirely on my own,” followed by top leadership (26%), team managers (24%), and work teams (13%). Ironically, the most engaging policy is the least popular – 46% report being engaged at work when their own teams determine the policy. Keeping teams together and ensuring that employees feel content at work is critical for today’s HR leaders, and giving more power to the employee teams can help them feel more in control and more valued as individuals.
By Rose Dorta
Are you a high-performing leader or believe you have the potential to tackle a more challenging role? Would you be interested in career opportunities that are seeking these attributes?
I’d love to chat with you and answer any questions that you have. Email me, Rose Dorta, managing director of Kaizen HR Solutions, here.