Four years on after the pandemic, the global workforce is still debating the merits and downfalls of hybrid work patterns. Insights gleaned from Morgan McKinley’s Global Workplace Guide included:

  • Preference for Hybrid or Remote Work: 89 per cent of respondents express a strong preference for continuing in a hybrid or remote work model
  • Employee Satisfaction: Professionals working in hybrid models express the highest contentment with their work patterns, with half willing to forego pay raises for desired flexibility
  • Remote Rewind: Despite employee preferences, 56 per cent of companies globally are urging staff to return to the office more regularly
  • Employee Dissatisfaction: Onsite workers show higher rates of actively seeking new employment opportunities compared to hybrid and remote workers
  • Impact on Talent Attraction: Flexible working arrangements emerge as a crucial factor in talent attraction and retention, with 61 per cent of hiring managers highlighting its importance

The survey took in the views of over 3,400 professionals and 650 employers worldwide. It also found that 1-2 days in the office is the favoured weekly working pattern for 43 per cent of professionals, with a further 29 per cent selecting 3-4 days. Only 12 per cent are happy to be in the office for the full 5 working days. The survey also revealed that half of employees would even skip a pay raise if it meant they got their desired flexibility.

Despite employee preferences, 56 per cent of companies globally are urging staff to increase their in-office presence, indicating a disconnect between employer and employee expectations. The research also showed the potential attrition of employees with 56 per cent of respondents who work onsite five days a week being the ones most actively looking for a new job in the next six months compared to hybrid employees (41 per cent) and fully remote employees (44 per cent).

The survey also found regional differences from companies mandating for employees to return to the office with Hong Kong (91 per cent), Australia (65 per cent), Japan (62 per cent), Singapore (61 per cent), and China (59 per cent) exhibiting higher rates of return-to-office mandates compared to 40 per cent in the UK, 40 per cent in Canada and 42 per cent in Ireland.

“Four years post-pandemic, the global workforce is still grappling with the ongoing debate surrounding hybrid work models,” said Paul Strong, executive director, Morgan McKinley. “Simply mandating a five-day-a-week office presence would likely encounter resistance and productivity dips. Our research underscores the resounding preference for flexibility, with 86 per cent advocating for continued adoption of hybrid arrangements.

“Companies, therefore, need to implement a strategic and mindful approach to this remote rewind,” he said. “Striking the balance between flexibility and practicality calls for close collaboration through open communication channels and understanding the motivations driving employees’ desires for flexible work arrangements. 2024 will be a pivotal year to see if organisations see flexibility as not just a perk but a fundamental aspect of workplace cultures creating a more inclusive, productive, and resilient workforce.”

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