An overwhelming majority (86%) of employers plan to embrace hybrid working – a mix of home and office working – for the foreseeable future, according to a survey by HRTech solutions provider, HRLocker.

The survey of 300 Irish companies and 800 employees, reveals almost three quarters (74%) of employers see greater flexibility as a major perk, with the potential to attract and retain top talent. Other reasons given for continued hybrid working include:

  • Maintaining health and safety precautions – 50%
  • Cost savings – 24%
  • Greater productivity – 11%

Technology has played a major role in facilitating the continuance of remote working. 70% of respondents stated they had invested significantly in technology over the past 18 months, which has enabled them to communicate effectively and securely (90%), accurately monitor productivity (67%) and ensure business continuity (48%).

How hybrid models will be implemented varies greatly between employers, with many still uncertain about what the work environment will look like long-term. The vast majority of approaches focus on offering employees greater flexibility in terms of where they work rather than when they work, with the most popular options being:

  • Encouraging staff to work remotely two to three days a week – 40%
  • Alternate weeks between home and office – 25%
  • Employee driven hotdesking, where employees can book to come into the office when they wish – 15%

Employee Needs

While employers may consider hybrid working a new perk of the job, almost all employees (92%) see it as a necessity. 54% of employees surveyed stated they would be willing to quit their job if their employer did not demonstrate greater flexibility in relation to when and where they work post-pandemic.

It seems, however, that employers have staved off the ‘great resignation’ with more than two-thirds (68%) of employees expressing that they are happy in their jobs and 90% stating they plan to stay in their current roles for the next 12 months.

Asked what their employers had done best throughout the pandemic, the most popular employee responses included:

  • Empathy and flexibility – 68%
  • Open and transparent communication – 61%
  • Health and wellbeing – 50%
  • Greater autonomy and trust – 40%

Adam Coleman, CEO at HRLocker, said, “While the pandemic may have forced remote working upon us, it is hugely promising to see flexible working being adopted by so many organisations. Hybrid working has been shown to work. It’s enabling a greater work/ life balance. And, managed correctly, it’s boosting productivity. As we enter the ‘next normal’, new challenges will undoubtedly emerge, but we have the tech and we have the processes to overcome them.”

Struggling Middle

The survey laid bare the difficulty experienced by medium-sized companies in adapting to the new way of working. Businesses with 50 – 250 employees are the least likely to continue offering flexible working options to their employees post-Covid, with just over half (52%) making plans for long-term remote working. The research also found that employees in companies of this size are the least content, with just 60% expressing they are happy in their job.

“While large enterprises have minimised disruption by investing heavily in technology and small businesses have managed to maintain open lines of communication with their people, those in the middle have really struggled, neither having the tech nor the bandwidth to best manage their teams,” says Coleman. “HRLocker is designed with SMEs in mind, enabling them to automate HR admin and empower employees to better manage their careers.”

While retaining top talent should remain a priority for organisations, HRLocker has developed an informative, free whitepaper in response to demand from companies seeking to create better recruitment and onboarding experiences.