Bridge the Gap In the Employee/Manager Remote Work Dispute

On Tuesday, we shared a blog post that illuminated the disparate viewpoints of managers and employees around the topic of remote work. While employees value the flexibility and autonomy of working remotely, data validates the concerns of productivity loss that many managers attribute to remote work. But organizations that can find the middle ground in this dispute will be able to appease both parties, and boost employee satisfaction and engagement as a result. “How,” do you ask? Research points to a well-orchestrated hybrid work arrangement.

A recent survey from The Conference Board shows that about 62% of US workers are satisfied with their job, the greatest share since the survey was first administered in 1987. A key driver? Flexible work arrangements. Across the majority of the 26 job satisfaction factors evaluated, employees with hybrid work arrangements reported the highest levels of satisfaction compared to fully remote or fully on-site workers. Hybrid workers are also significantly more satisfied than fully on-site workers across the elements that produce higher retention: quality of leadership, organizational culture, potential for future growth, and interest in work. A report by Owl Labs reinforces that being able to work from home at least some of the time makes employees less likely to leave their employer (75%) and more likely to recommend their company to others (78%), critical factors to driving employee retention and recruitment.

The case for hybrid work is clear; but what is the optimal hybrid work arrangement? A recent study from Gallup reveals that working two to three days in the office each week is ideal. However, there is no single answer, and the appropriate number of on-site work days for any given person depends highly on the level of collaboration their role requires. Data from Gallup also suggests that to optimize employee engagement, employers should not require a minimum number of on-site working days.

Other tips for optimizing your hybrid work strategy include:

  • Allow team members to collaboratively develop the hybrid work arrangement that works best for them. This practice is proven to elevate employee engagement and buy-in.
  • Dedicate on-site days for projects and tasks that require group collaboration and input, while reserving remote days for deep independent work.
  • While everyday is different, encourage teams to establish an agenda or routine that helps them make the most of opportunities to connect with colleagues in person. For example, team meetings should be scheduled for days when team members are in the office together. This will reinforce the value of on-site work.
  • Prioritize communication between on-site and remote team members. A successful hybrid strategy hinges on employees effectively connecting and collaborating no matter where they are working.
  • Regularly re-evaluate your hybrid work strategy at the individual, team, and organizational level, and use that feedback to make needed adjustments.

Flexible work arrangements are becoming an increasingly important distinction for organizations in their efforts to recruit and retain employees, but they shouldn’t come at the expense of productivity. We’re here to bridge the gaps in your organization and help you build a workplace culture that fosters sustainable inclusion and engagement among team members – no matter where they work – and ultimately boost your bottom line.