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Hybrid or In-Person Work Over the Next Decade? New Data Points to the Former

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Let’s discuss hybrid and remote workforces.

To do so, however, we must also acknowledge relevant pushback.

According to CNBC, for example – despite immense endorsements for hybridity from even some of the largest enterprises on the world stage – 90% of companies will have implemented mandatory return-to-office policies for workers by the end of 2024.

This, as we know, is already happening (and across sectors).

However, this isn’t every company’s prediction. For many, the future of work is still an even-keeled blend of hybrid and remote models, sculpted by the advancements (and the lessons) from the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the renewed push to curb remote-work environments has certainly begun (as many directors have expressed disdain for hybrid work, and that team engagement suffers without in-person rules making a hot comeback), hybridity has been proven as extraordinarily viable (and accommodating, to boot) for workers’ flexibilities and diverse needs. It’s a light at the end of years and years of corporate tunnels, where it was never considered an option before COVID-19 shut everything down. It’s a new way of life for those craving healthy work autonomy, devoid of geographical constraints.

And technology will continue to be its linchpin, enabling post-pandemic productivity and emphasizing output wherever over hours sitting at a physical desk in a physical office space.

Of course, this is still a heated debate in its own right. The goal, at the end of the day, should rest on navigating workforce nuances and cultivating inclusive and conducive work environments, irrespective of “where.”

It’s the “how” that deserves more of a spotlight.

Case in point, the results from Omdia’s latest Future of Work study, data from which is indicating that “as work styles continue to diversify, 57% of both IT and HR leaders are reporting that employee satisfaction has improved when hybrid or remote.” The other side of that coin, though, shows that employees are less satisfied when a return to the office becomes mandated.

Also from the research:

  • 76% of businesses are reconsidering existing relationships in favor of digital suppliers.
  • 69% of those studied agree that hybrid work enables employee accessibility.
  • 63% agree it makes teams feel more connected, given “how” they connect becomes a matter of trust and agency, when working remote.
  • 61% state that employees feel less marginalized, and 59% state that hybridity helps close recruitment gaps in race and gender; these last two percentages touch on DEI benefits, for sure.

“It’s easier for executives to hold onto the old notion that people are only really working if they can see them down the hall,” said Dan Kaplan, a senior client partner at Korn Ferry. “It’s almost too hard for some leaders to comprehend a world where that option doesn’t exist, or to consider a radical new approach.”

Though, thankfully, many are.

“More diverse work styles have impacted employee productivity and satisfaction, as well as customer experience,” added Adam Holtby, a principal analyst at Omdia and author of its Future of Work study, “and businesses need the help of digital partners, processes and technologies in navigating successful future of work initiatives.”

Editor’s note: Another topic I stumbled upon while crafting this article included how the traditional five-day commute may be “dead” (though other crises in capitalism, i.e. unhealthy side hustles and people’s bandwidths stretched to breaking points, are still problematic). These are certainly thoughts to chew on.

For more looking-forward discussions like these, our Future of Work Expo is being held from February 13-15, 2024 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.




Edited by Greg Tavarez
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