We had the technology to enable remote work years ago. What we didn’t have was the corporate will to make those possibilities a reality. That all changed in early 2020 when a dangerous respiratory virus changed our office culture as we know it.
Overnight, everything changed.
In this post, we’ll explore what the hybrid work model is, statistics and the steps you can take to incorporate it. But first, what is hybrid work?
- What is hybrid work?
- Key hybrid work statistics
- Employee benefits
- Company benefits
- Future statistics
- The negatives of remote work
- Why are some companies resistant to change?
What Is Hybrid Work?
The hybrid work model consists of a strategy where teams are free to work in varying environments, which can range from working from home [WFM], the office part-time, or even local coworking spaces. The hybrid workspace was created as a way to unify both employer and employee demands. Employees are free to perform their job outside of the office or commute to the office or local workspaces if they want a change of scenery.
It’s important to note that remote work is not the same as hybrid work.
Remote work refers to work that is fully independent of a geographical location. Remote employees can perform their job entirely outside of the office environment with just a connection to the internet.
Hybrid work refers to the balance between having the option to work remotely or from wherever you are most productive. The term “Hybrid work” often gets misconstrued to mean you can work at home x days but must commute to the company HQ on other days. That is not hybrid. Hybrid work means having the ability to choose. Everyone works and learns differently and we should respect this by allowing employees to choose what environment makes them most productive.
Before we get into remote and hybrid work statistics in a lot more detail, we need to first understand why it’s important.
According to Owl Labs (a leading video conferencing platform), 16% of employees around the world are working fully remotely, and 62% of remaining adults say they work from home some of the time. This means right now, we only have about 22% (a huge minority) of employees that work in the office full time.
Key Hybrid Work Statistics
- Accenture surveyed 9,000 workers, and 83% of them said they would prefer to have a hybrid work model in the future.
- According to Prudential, 87% of all employees want to be able to work from home at least one day a week.
- Sixty-eight percent of high-level executives say they are planning some kind of remote or hybrid work model now that they can see the results.
- Eighty-three percent of workers prefer remote work or at least a hybrid work model.
- Fifty-five percent of workers say they want to work remotely at least three days a week.
- Thirty-seven percent of all workers pre-Covid had jobs that could be done remotely, but only 25% said they worked from home occasionally.
- The number of people who were able to work remotely during the pandemic have physically relocated during the past two years was 9%. This means that they may be unable to return to an in-office work situation.
- According to McKinsey, 90% of all companies surveyed say they plan to offer some kind of hybrid work option in the future.
- Less than 20% of managers and executives say that they want to go back to their office situation exactly as it was before the pandemic forced a switch to remote work.
- While 63% of high-growth companies have embraced remote work, 69% of companies that are either not growing or losing market share still insist on employees traveling to a physical office for work.
- Eighty-five percent of people who have been able to work remotely say that they have no plans to leave their job any time soon.
- When employees were surveyed, 40% said that their physical location had no effect on their productivity potential. A variety of factors, including mental health, access to technology and supportive management, were cited when Accenture completed this poll.
- Eighty-four percent of employees say that not having to travel to their place of work is the most important benefit of working remotely.
- Ninety-four percent of employees believe that their salaries should be based on their skills and experience – not their work location.
Some studies indicate that 61% of employees prefer to be fully remote. They might be willing to make a trip to the office on the odd occasion, but for day-to-day purposes, they want to spend their time working from a local workspace or their home offices. Here are some hybrid workplace statistics:
- 18% of the workforce, globally, currently works from home all the time.
- 2.9% of U.S. workers work from home half of the time.
These statistics have been rising for years – long before the pandemic started.
- According to Pew Research, 71% of all employees in the US worked from home during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, that figure was just 20%.
But the pandemic has supercharged work from home, and now that employees have seen the possibilities, it’s highly unlikely it will ever go back to what it was before.
Benefits Of The Hybrid Work Model– For Employees
It’s not hard to see why they asked if they prefer working from home to working in the office, nearly every employee polled chose remote or a local workspace. In fact, in an official study by Buffer, 99% of people would choose remote work if they could even if it was part-time or if they had to give up other things. Given the choice between commuting 1 hour to 1-½ hours one way to sit in a crowded office in uncomfortable clothing, including bad coffee and office politics, I’m betting we’d make the same decision.
Cutting The Commute
If you could devote less time traveling to your office, wouldn’t it make sense that you could be more productive?
People are also waking up to the fact that commuting is the second largest cause of emissions in the world. As countries work towards green goals, it’s likely that more will go after this low-hanging fruit. With more time on their hands, many employees are spending more time studying and learning skills that can be of use in their current jobs.
On average, employees save 40 minutes of commuting time every day. That is 3.33 hours per week, or nearly seven days per year, assuming you work a five-day work week!
Distractions are another big problem in the office, and 75% of people working remotely say they can avoid them more. This makes sense because they have more control over their working environment.
The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago asked 10,000 people if they thought they were as productive when working from home. They all said they were. In fact, 30% of those polled felt that they were more productive working from home than in the office.
- 77% of people who work remotely – even occasionally – have improved productivity. Of those, 30% work more in less time, and 24% do the same amount of work in less time.
Better Quality Of Life
According to the Wall Street Journal, hybrid work allows for both employees’ work lives and personal lives to be more fulfilling.
- 69% of millennials, according to CBRE, would give up other benefits – if it meant they would be able to work from home. Some are even willing to take pay cuts if they have to.
- Not only would most workers jump at a remote work opportunity, but being able to work from home also makes them 74% less likely to leave their job, and even before the pandemic, there were 50% fewer resignations from people who were allowed to work remotely.
Benefits Of The Hybrid Model– For Companies
The reduction in costs related to remote work is not something we just learned. Work from home advocates have been touting these savings for many years. It’s just that we had to have mass uptake of the “work from home experiment” to really test those figures.
Most businesses who have embraced remote work have found that they do save a lot of money this way.
Some of the studies that have been conducted in the past indicate that remote workforces save employers something between $7,000 and $16,000 per year. That’s on top of savings of about $5,000 for each employee.
Reduction Of Office Space Related Costs
One of the big cost savings to employers is in office space. If most of their workforce is not working from the office, they can choose smaller spaces where they store important documents and information, have a few “hot desks” for employees that are working on a hybrid model, and some space for core employees who cannot work remotely.
Office rental alone can cost between $595 per square foot at the top end and $61 at the lower end, so even eliminating a few hundred square feet could cut thousands off business overhead costs.
Companies don’t only save on costs. A study by Stanford indicated that companies earn, on average, $2,000 more in profit for every remote worker. So, there are some real bottom-line financial reasons to choose a remote or even a hybrid work model.
Employees have embraced remote work so much that in the U.S. alone, 39% of adults surveyed said they would consider quitting if it was taken off the table. That figure goes up to 49% if you talk to millennials and Gen Z employees. Due to this, remote work has become one of the top factors in attracting and retaining talent in the workforce today.
By switching from the idea that long hours are better, companies have seen a massive increase in productivity by instead focusing on agreed deliverables from their remote teams.
PwC, another global leader, surveyed a variety of business leaders, and 83% say the shift to remote work has been a success.
Gartner, the world-renowned research, and consulting company ran a survey asking whether employers planned to continue remote or hybrid situations permanently – 80% said they did
Is the Future Going To Be Remote Only or Hybrid?
Headlines have trumpeted “The end of the office as we know it”, but we’re not quite there nor is that realistic. Companies still need office space and teams need to reconnect to enhance company culture. It’s going to be the “traditional office” of one headquarter, 9 am-5 pm that will disappear as we know it.
Regus compiled a comprehensive report on their statistics related to these big changes, but there are a few key takeaways:
- Giant corporate offices are probably going to be the first to go. Not only are they the biggest real estate costs for companies, but many remote workers are moving out of cities – so smaller, satellite offices will start to make more sense.
- Corporate and commercial space rental costs are going down sharply. This is the single greatest shift in supply and demand the industry has ever seen, and there’s no end in sight!
- The number of company decision-makers who want to make changes to their corporate real estate in the near future is 87%. Most are looking to scale back the size of their offices, as they no longer need as much space – thanks to remote and hybrid work.
- Sixty-six percent say that they plan to redesign their office spaces to better accommodate remote and hybrid work models.
- The number of managers and decision-makers who plan to spend more on digital tools and platforms that allow better collaboration between teams and employees is 60%.
- The number of companies in the US that are planning or have implemented a hybrid work model is 74%.
- Average IT spending has gone up 6.7% since more employees have been working remotely.
There are other reports too. Some indicate ominous consequences for building owners and landlords who will not adapt to the future of work. In fact, in an article about the situation in New York in April, the New York Times points to 25% vacancy in the city’s most in-demand commercial and corporate districts.
There are similar statistics around the world. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a major city anywhere in the world where their commercial property vacancy rate is less than double digits.
It’s not all doom and gloom though – at least not for everyone.
Many companies that could only afford to rent before have now been able to negotiate the purchase of commercial space that they could never afford before.
Several cities are also finding that companies who own commercial buildings – especially in sought-after central business districts – are converting them into living or Coliving spaces. Combined with the remote worker exodus from cities, this is changing the way we use cities and could be a positive change for local economies. People might not be traveling downtown to work, but they’re making them their home, and that will always stimulate local business.
The last time we saw such a monumental change in how we live and work was the industrial revolution. So, while we can’t predict just yet what the outcome of all this change will be, there’s no denying that we’ll find a way to make it work. Even in the commercial real estate market.
We’ve seen all kinds of headlines splashed over the media about how companies have taken varying stances on the hybrid model. Technology companies like Twitter have allowed their employees to work from home forever, while other companies with real-estate portfolios have pushed for a return to the office approach.
About 44% of all companies in the world, don’t allow for remote or hybrid work options. They might have to rethink their stance though. Early news reports out of Europe indicate that there are several countries there that plan to make remote work a legal right, even after Covid.
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses. The other side of the remote work coin is that not all remote employees are getting the support they need. Below we have listed the top reasons why remote work can lead to issues.
The number of remote workers who admit that they feel disconnected from their colleagues is 24%. Buffer reports that employees listed loneliness (19%), and having trouble defining the line between work and non-work hours (22%) as the top negative factors of remote work.
54% of IT professionals worry more about remote workers in terms of the security risk they pose to the company.
Lack of Tools
Eighteen percent believe that they do not have the correct tools available to do their jobs effectively.
Lack of Communication
70% or fewer remote employees feel they are getting sufficient training from their companies.
Remote employees feel less connected to management, and only 16% feel their manager includes them in goal-setting exercises.
The total number of managers and executives who feel that the office is the best place for collaboration and to build interpersonal relationships with coworkers and colleagues is at 84%
With the right policies in place, employers can easily overcome these small hurdles.
The Corporate Resistance To Change
As shown in this article, most remote work and hybrid workplace statistics are overwhelmingly positive.
Employees are happier, they get more done, and are less likely to take sick days. They also save money and time commuting to and from work (and are willing to be more flexible to get work done because of it.)
Employers save money on office space, don’t see productivity drops, and can attract and retain a better workforce.
- The number of managers and executives who would like to see employees in the office at least three days a week is 68%.
- The number of company decision-makers who plan to make their offices fully remote is 13%.
- The corporate decision-makers and leaders who are concerned that remote work will affect company culture is at 32%.
- Ninety-two percent of all employers surveyed during hybrid work statistics studies said that they do not have a formal system to determine the remuneration package for hybrid workers.
- Ninety-seven percent of employers do not feel that they need to reduce salaries for hybrid workers, but 21% would make adjustments if their employees moved to a different location, contributed more or less, or if it affected their corporate culture.
- The move to bring office workers back to in-person work is much higher in the US at 22%. In other countries, including Japan and Germany, the figure is only 5%.
So why are some companies still opposed to hybrid work?
- Older companies are sticklers for tradition – they’ve always done things a certain way, and are resistant to change.
- The company relies heavily on social relationships and office politics – so middle managers might not like the idea that they get less “face time” to build their brand.
- There’s a lack of trust, and managers want to be able to “check in” on employees throughout the day.
- The company’s technology infrastructure isn’t up to the change – and they lack the will or interest in upgrading to more modern systems.
- Companies are worried that employees are either less engaged or might be working on a side-hustle on company time.
As you can see from this list, most of the reasons companies who oppose working from home or hybrid work models are based on insecurity and resistance to change.
Yes, employees who work from home might take some time off to go to the dentist or run to the store. Some might start their own business or leave the company – but they probably would have whether they worked from the office or from home. Others might not deliver the results the company requires.
But, the vast majority of people who do work from home or local workspaces are not only more productive and get their tasks done on time and correctly, but they also want to keep the arrangement going. So, provided they have clear goals and instructions, they are far more likely to work harder and deliver better results, so they can keep working where they are most productive.
If they have to take some time off to do something, they’ll make double sure to make it up so they can keep delivering to the required standard.
Work from home and the work-life balance it brings is the single greatest motivator of employees we have seen in centuries. There is nothing else that comes close in terms of a desirable perk. People are willing to go above and beyond to keep this arrangement going.
So, instead of resisting this change, smart companies should be (and are) using it as leverage when hiring and discussing promotions and role changes. Work from home and hybrid work situations are, without a doubt, a win for everyone involved.
What Is Best For My Company?
Like most things in life, there is no straight answer here. Everyone has different perspectives, motives, and agendas.
Remote work platforms blindly post that “everyone wants to be remote” without considering that not everyone has a great at-home work environment. Whether it’s kids, your roommates, the dog, etc. Some people (50% actually) enjoy the separation between work and life. The difference here is that they want the choice to engage in office comradery or a change of scenery.
Traditional companies believe that your best work “can only be done in the office” without considering that maybe employees will work harder for the perk of being able to cut the commute, spend more time with family, and actually have more time to work.
So what is the answer? The trick is balance.
- Your team creates your company’s culture (not your workspace). Ask them for their opinions. Your team wants to feel heard.
- Your workspace strategy should be optimized around performance (not time spent in an office).
- Empower people to do their best work no matter where they are.
By identifying with these core principles, you will be able to make the decision that works best for everyone.