Owl Labs, a global collaborative technology company, today launched its annual State of Hybrid Work study, which reveals that flexibility is the key to retaining top talent in 2022 and beyond.
65% of UK employees would rather have less pay than work a full 5-day week, and over a third would choose to say no to a job if flexible hours are not offered. Offering greater flexibility will prove to be the key to preventing employees from pursuing ‘the big layoff’ – with almost one in three employees having changed jobs within the past two years and a quarter of employees actively seeking a new opportunity in 2022.
Proximity bias is a growing concern for employees in hybrid environments, where almost half of UK employees believe that proximity bias exists in the workplace. What’s more, over half of employees are more likely to ask for their opinion or engage with those they physically work with, rather than those who are remote.
Flexible is the new hybrid
By 2022, UK employees demand flexibility rather than rigid working hours. Already, 26% of companies have introduced flexible working hours. The choice of when, where and how employees work should be a joint decision between employer and employee.
Flexibility is also a priority when considering a new job. Job seekers would most likely turn down a job offer if they were not given flexible hours, if they were to work in the office full time, or if they were not given flexibility with respect to their workplace. On average, Britons would like to spend three days in the office and two days on telework – but they still want the choice of when to do so.
Over a third of Britons say they are more productive when working externally, while a further 43% have not experienced a change in their level of productivity when working externally. Interestingly, there is a gender difference where 40% of women indicate that they are more productive when working remotely compared to only 33% of men. Age is also a factor in productivity in the home, with 18-24 year olds reporting being least productive in the home – only 26% of them state that they are more productive when working remotely.
The shift to flexible work requires well-thought-out and targeted planning, yet only 36% of employees believe that their managers have received hybrid or remote management training. A further 16% believe they should receive more education in the future. It is not surprising that 30% of UK office workers have a harder time building relationships with external colleagues. As a result, 59% of managers (and 62% of managers) are more likely to ask their opinion or engage with those they physically work with, rather than those who are distant.
The possibility of the ‘big retention’ in 2022
To prevent the ‘major resignation’ of 2021 from running into 2022, employers need to implement well-thought-out retention strategies. The pandemic has caused a shift in encouraging an employee-first mentality for companies.
As a result, companies have begun to introduce forward-looking working goods: 14% introduced a four-day working week, 19% introduced condensed hours during the pandemic, and 26% introduced flexible working hours.
Keep employees engaged with immersive technology
A robust tech stack will play a crucial role in retaining top talent. While the possibility of an office metaverse may seem like a distant possibility, a smoothing of video conferencing tools may be an immediate first step in making online meetings more engaging, with nearly a third of employees saying there was room for video conferencing improvement. The top technologies that employees were eager to use in their company include: enhanced video conferencing technology, an office metaverse, virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms or avatars (10%)
Frank Weishaupt, CEO of Owl Labs says: “As we enter this next phase of work, it’s clear that employers in the UK can no longer just offer hybrid work as an option – they need to provide flexibility to retain employees and keep It’s also important that managers take responsibility for ensuring that they are properly trained in how to effectively manage hybrid teams. It is clear from our research that employees demand more from their employers when it comes to it. Offering a wide range of benefits has never been more important, as workers are open to exploring alternative employers that offer a better balance.Technology will also play an important role in maintaining an immersive workplace that keeps employees engaged Although the office metaverse may be some distance away, simple changes to improve video conferencing will have a significant impact on the overall teamwork and culture of hybrid work environments. “