The unexpected opportunities in hybrid, flexible work environments

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The COVID-19 pandemic upended work as we know it, and the hybrid model is here to stay – whether employers want it or not. However, it’s an opportunity to reimagine how we think about work. So, as you and your team continue a sporadic return to the office, what ways of working will ensure everyone feels supported, included, and ready to perform at their best? Below, we list five hybrid work opportunities identified in The Adecco Group’s Resetting Normal research and offer our insights into harnessing them.

Better work-life balance for parents

Constant juggling. Crazy hours. Who said remote work was the promised land for working parents? Although 50% of parents said their work-life balance had improved in the pandemic’s wake, parents increasingly prefer to set boundaries between work and family time. Hybrid working gives workers more control over their schedule and shortens their commute time. Flexible work environments are especially highly valued by moms (81%), dads (73%), and those with caring responsibilities (79%) – but parents want to spend more time at the office (51%) than the rest of their colleagues (42%). Cloud-based collaboration tools give working parents the best of both worlds, empowering everyone to work from wherever suits them. Thankfully, driven by the pandemic’s urgency, most firms have already adopted these game-changing tools.

Rethinking the virtual workplace for younger employees

More than half of the nation’s total population are millennials, Gen Z, or younger. But young workers are feeling isolated and are finding it hard to grow their careers without the in-person networking their older colleagues enjoyed. It is vital to find ways to keep younger employees engaged and make sure they have experienced people around to help them grow. As teams and leaders get used to connecting with each other virtually, hybrid workplaces are facilitating relationships between colleagues who are far-flung, multi-generational, and of various seniority levels. Hybrid makes it easier to expand the reach of career-boosting programs like mentorship. ‘Reverse mentoring‘ is on the rise in the hybrid environment, too, helping young workers build vital skills, while giving leaders invaluable insights that help them stay relevant to younger colleagues and customers.

Collaborating and building community in the virtual workplace

From collaborative virtual meetings to virtual polls to whiteboarding: 63% of respondents said their digital and remote working skills improved during the pandemic. Communication and brainstorm increasingly take place on open online platforms, often incorporating real-time translation so colleagues of various language abilities can contribute. Instead of ideas staying stuck jotted on someone’s notepad, they get refined and turned into actionable tasks and scalable solutions. This ‘working out loud,’ approach also makes it harder to hide inaction or mask poor performance. Done right, hybrid working means expanded collaboration for faster innovations and a more open working culture.

Creating an inclusive future of work

Diverse teams drive innovation. Shifting to a hybrid working model is expected to create more opportunities for people with disabilities (75%), working parents (73%), and those from diverse backgrounds (69%). As well as making it easier for existing employees to fully participate, the hybrid workplace allows employers to hire and onboard remote workers from new, untapped talent pools across America and beyond.

At Adecco, we’re experts in helping employers like you navigate all aspects of today’s tricky employment and economic environment. From white papers to case studies to research papers, we have a wealth of insight on the changing world of work. Also: read our tips on managing remote teams, understanding employee absenteeism, energizing employees during tough times, and tackling ghosting coasting.

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