Changing for the hybrid future of work

Doubts about how productive employees are when they work from home have also disappeared. An April 2021 study from the Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago examined the post-covid remote work plans of companies and found a predicted productivity increase of 5% for the U.S. economy. And a December 2020 PwC survey found that 34% of employees said they were more productive than before the pandemic, while more than half of executives said overall employee productivity improved.

Today, the same widespread disruption continues in the form of hybrid work: while some organizations are insulting workers to return to the office full-time, many are preparing for a new normal where employees will spend a few days in the office and a few days working remotely, with a combination of virtual and in-person meetings and collaboration. A CNBC survey of human resources, finance, and technology executives found that less than half of companies will use a hybrid employment model in the second half of 2021.

“I see hybrid work as one of the things that companies need to do right,” said Deniz Caglar, a head of organizational strategy practice at PwC. “We have to change how we work together and if we can’t get the hybrid model right, the company isn’t as productive. And in some industries, even a one to two percent change in productivity can make a big difference.

All of this is happening in a business scene where more and more employees are demanding continued flexibility in the aftermath of the pandemic. According to The Future of Accenture Career Studies 2021, for example, 83% of employees prefer the hybrid work model. And companies are listening: they know that the choices organizations make today are important, especially when they’re racing to attract and retain talent in a competitive marketplace.

“As companies prepare to start welcoming people back into the office, they need to be aware of the needs and motivations of the employee around the work and how they can change and grow,” he said. Jeff Wong, EY’s global chief transformation officer. “Companies want to attract and retain the best people, but almost everyone says they want something different than existing pre-covid.”

Organizations around the world face the challenge, working to establish the right processes, new technologies, and leadership support to help them achieve this powerful moment.

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