Hybrid working has helped improve employee well-being, work-life balance, and performance around the world, according to a new global study from Cisco. While organizations have benefited from higher levels of employee productivity, more needs to be done to build an inclusive culture and fully integrate hybrid work arrangements to boost readiness levels and improve the employee experience.
The study revealed that six in ten (61%) employees believe the quality of work has improved. A similar number (60%) consider that their productivity has improved. Three-quarters of employees (76%) also believe that their role can now be performed just as successfully remotely as in the office. Yet the survey of 28,000 employees across 27 countries reveals that only one in four think their company is “very ready” for a hybrid working future.
Here to stay
It’s clear that hybrid working is here to stay, and for good reason, as both employees and businesses see tangible benefits across key metrics, from improved overall employee well-being to improved productivity and work performance.
However, there is still room to take full advantage of the opportunities of a hybrid future of work, especially when it comes to creating an inclusive culture, crafting employee engagement strategies, and deploying a technological infrastructure that allows organizations to be ready as their employees are.”
Hybrid working has improved various aspects of employee well-being
The research examined the impact of hybrid working on five well-being categories – emotional, financial, mental, physical, and social – more than three-quarters of respondents (78%) said that hybrid and remote working have improved various aspects of their well-being.
Time away from the office has improved work-life balance for 79% of employees. More flexible work schedules (62%) and significant or complete reduction in commute times (53%) have contributed to this improvement.
Nearly two-thirds of people (64%) saved at least four hours a week when working from home, and more than a quarter (26%) of those surveyed saved eight or more hours a week.
45% of respondents chose “time with family, friends, and pets” as the top choice for reinvesting this extra time. This has improved social well-being, with a significant majority (73%) indicating that remote work has improved family relationships and a half (51%) of respondents reporting that relationships with friends have been strengthened.
At the time of the survey, more than three-quarters (76%) of respondents felt their financial well-being had improved because they were able to save money while working remotely. The average savings has been just over $150 a week, which works out to about $8,000 a year. A whopping 87% saving on fuel and/or commuting as one of their top three savings areas, followed by decreased spending on food and entertainment at 74%. Nearly nine in ten (86%) believe they can sustain these savings in the long term, and 69% would consider these savings when considering a job change.
Additionally, more than two-thirds (68%) of those surveyed believe their fitness has improved with remote work. Seven in ten (71%) exercise more when working remotely, with an average increase of 130 additional sessions per year. A similar number (68%) say that hybrid work has had a positive impact on their eating habits.
Given the improvement in various aspects of well-being, an overwhelming majority (82%) of employees say that the ability to work from anywhere has made them happier. More than half (55%) say that hybrid work has helped reduce their stress levels. Around a third (29%) consider hybrid work to be more relaxing and that the work environment is less pressured.
While 27% of employees attribute the decrease in stress to the greater flexibility offered by hybrid work arrangements. However, more than half (55%) believe that micromanagement behaviors have increased with hybrid and remote work.
Strategic and tactical rethinking for organizations to better prepare for the future of hybrid work
With the obvious benefits of hybrid working, the study shows that nearly three-quarters (71%) want a combination of a hybrid remote and in-office working model in the future. About a fifth (20%) want a fully remote work experience, leaving only 9% who want to go into the office full-time.
Different work styles
But, there is uncertainty about how different work styles might affect inclusion and engagement. More than half of those surveyed say that those who work fully remotely will find it difficult to engage with their colleagues (59%) and with the company (57%), compared to those who alternate working remotely with working at the office. office. Furthermore, the research concludes that trust will be a critical element that organizations will need to manage: While 71% of respondents believe that their boss trusts them to be productive when working remotely, a smaller number (59%) believe that colleagues can be trusted to work remotely.
These results underscore the need for an inclusive culture to be at the forefront of the future of hybrid work. Seven in ten (73%) say their company needs to rethink its culture and mindset to make hybrid working truly inclusive.
Key changes to support the hybrid workforce that employees would like to see include greater flexibility in defining work hours (60%) and a greater emphasis on employee wellness and work-life balance and staff (60%).
At the same time, technology will continue to be central to enabling a future with an increasingly diverse and distributed workforce. Six in ten (62%) respondents believe that having connectivity issues regularly is career-limiting for remote workers. As a result, 84% say network infrastructure is essential for a seamless work-from-home experience, but only 68% say their company currently has adequate network infrastructure.
More than three-quarters (78%) also believe that cybersecurity is critical to making hybrid working secure, but less than two-thirds (65%) say their organization currently has the right capabilities and protocols in place. Only 62% believe that all employees in their company understand the cyber risks that come with hybrid working, and 68% believe that business leaders are familiar with the risks.