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Be Cool This Summer—Go Hybrid

Whether or not to offer hybrid work options is currently a hot and heavy debate between employees and employers across the country. On both sides, there is frustration, anger, and pain over the issue of flexibility, especially around when and where to work.

Today, employees are demanding that employers consider their overall wellbeing and respect their personal needs and choices. While we know employee expectations have changed dramatically over the past few years, it’s clear that employers are often failing to meet people where they are. Where they are in this moment is post-pandemic and ready to play and laugh in the summer sun.

Flexibility has become one of three main criteria by which employees judge employers (along with career progression and compensation). If remote and hybrid models are not possible in your business model (hospitality and healthcare, for example) or in certain roles, try being creative to find other ways to offer flexibility. Longer workdays with shorter work weeks? Job sharing? Choice of workdays or work groups? Friday afternoons off? Summer is an ideal time to let go of business as usual and explore ways to become the “coolest” employer around.

The summer months are the time people most want to be free to travel and take time off to have fun with family and friends. There are also more options to show how much you care about your employees by being especially kind and flexible in supporting their summer plans.

And model summer fun yourself. Take time off with your family and make it fun to be at work. Play some volleyball or take in some free outdoor concerts as a team. Goofing off together in summer is the best way to store up trust and appreciation for winter.

As your employees and customers focus more on their personal lives, business also tends to slow down. Summer is the perfect time to challenge your thinking as well as your practices—and not risk harming your business.

Signs of a Deep Values Divide

When it comes to work and workplaces, we are dealing with unprecedented change and uncertainty. Not the least of our problems is a deep values divide between traditional company practices and current employee expectations—with remote/hybrid work at its center. We wanted data to gain more understanding. So, in April 2023, TalenTrust collaborated with L.A.-based strategic management consulting firm, Optimize, to research and produce a report called, "The Hybrid Gap." It contains compelling facts about the growing hybrid trend and the differing mindsets between companies and employees. Here are some of the results:

  • 96 percent of workers say they’d prefer to work at home or in a hybrid environment.
  • 30 percent of employers say they required employees to be in the office every day.
  • 60 percent of employees feel they are more productive working from home.
  • While employers correlate hybrid work with health and wellbeing, employees considered an even greater correlation between working from home and improved wellbeing.

Post-pandemic, our assumptions and traditions about every aspect of work are in flux, leaving us in a period of change and uncertainty. With many more job openings than people to fill them now and well into the future, it’s candidates and employees who hold the power to choose. To remain talent competitive, companies must change their focus from productivity to creating the best possible employee experience. That means greater flexibility, often in the form of hybrid.

Employers and employees both benefit when everyone buys-in to remote/hybrid work models. Employees are able to experience the flexibility they want to achieve better work-life balance and an increased sense of overall wellbeing for themselves and their families. Job satisfaction improves and burnout fades away. Companies see higher productivity and lower turnover and often save on office space and overhead costs. In addition to financial gains, engagement, and morale rise.

Many companies look for a one-size-fits-all solution to flexibility. They won’t find it. Each individual and every company is unique, which means there is no optimal remote solution to apply. But hybrid is here to stay and, if you haven’t yet dipped into remote, summer is the ideal time to drop outdated practices and create a remote solution that fits both your business objectives and employee needs. Dive in!

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