For many firms across various industries, developing and implementing a hybrid or flexible work model is top of mind. And, according to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index: 2021 Annual Report, implementing a hybrid model is not a passing accommodation – it is here to stay.
The Great Resignation
As many employers begin implementing and employees begin adjusting to hybrid work models, the looming threat of ongoing resignations is putting increased pressure on employers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently announced that 4 million people, or 2.7% of U.S. workers, quit their jobs in April. And, according to the Microsoft report, 41% of the global workforce is considering leaving their current position in the next year. The report also points to a number of pandemic-related issues that may be contributing to this potential mass exodus, including an exhausted workforce, digital overload, and a shrinking social network.
Stemming the Tide
Employers need to be cognizant of these pandemic-related issues that continue to affect workers. Employees should be given ample notice of any change in work arrangements as they may be dealing with childcare concerns, transportation issues, or other circumstances that affect their ability to return to the office immediately. Steps should be taken to begin alternating virtual meetings with in-person meetings to help ease the effects of “Zoom fatigue” and broaden workplace networks. Employers should also look to bring more transparency, openness, and authenticity to the workplace as a way to reengage with their employees. According to the Microsoft report, people who interacted with their coworkers more closely than before, even though mostly virtually, not only experienced stronger work relationships, but also reported higher productivity and better overall wellbeing.
It remains to be seen how employees will react to the new normal of hybrid work models. We believe leading employers will consider the many factors involved in bringing workers back to the office and devise innovative strategies to reengage employees while also driving higher levels of productivity.