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Overwhelming Majority of Companies Will Work on a Hybrid Schedule

Most have predicted it, but CBRE’s 2022 US Occupier Survey make it official: most companies will adopt a hybrid workplace strategy going forward. “Employers are responding to employee desire for flexibility, and they are largely welcoming employees back under largely different work patterns,” Julie Whelan, global head of occupier thought leadership at CBRE, said in a recent webinar hosted by CBRE to discuss survey results.

According to the survey, 73% of companies will adopt a hybrid workplace model that allows employees to both work from home and in the office. Most companies will adopt what CBRE called “guided flexibility,” which gives companies control of the days employees are in the office or at home, while 12% of companies have full flexibility, where employees can choose their own schedule. Only 19% of companies have office-only policies, 4% have virtual first and the remaining 4% have remote work. “This has been consistent with past surveys that hybrid is the way forward,” added Whelan.

While employees have always been more amenable to this change, now managers are beginning to embrace the idea. “Those that reported hybrid work also report that the executive sentiment is strengthening around this idea,” said Whelan. “They know their employees want flexibility and they are very willing to provide that, especially given the labor environment that we are in.”

However, while companies are meeting employees on flexibility, they are clear that they want employees in the office with about 85% of companies making that claim and only 15% of companies allowing for a fully remote experience. “Despite all of the talk of hybrid work and work from anywhere, we still know that companies want their employees in the office at least half the time, if not more. Very few organizations want employees to be completely remote,” said Whelan, adding that 75% of companies are requiring a frequency of office visits.

The biggest challenge for hybrid work policies is balancing flexibility with predictability, according to Whelan. Employees want autonomy, but they also want to know when their colleagues are going to be in the office so that they can schedule meeting and other collaboration-related efforts. No one is coming into the office to sign into Zoom. “Managers want to know when people are going to be in the office so that they can plan their team meetings and events,” says Whelan. “Space planners and real estate professionals absolutely want to have a level of predictability in order to better plan efficiently for space needs. This magic of finding making that correct distinction between predictability and flexibility for employees is something that organizations are focused on today, but it is a difficult piece to get right at the moment.”

There have been different approaches to working this out. Right now, 40% of companies are dictating the work-from-home days; 44% are taking a collaborative approach to let employees and managers decide together and 13% are letting employees take the reins.
Reprinted with permission from the Fri, 27 May 2022 04:43:27 EDT online edition of GlobeSt © 2022 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877-256-2472 or reprints@alm.com.