As we learn to live with the COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid work environments are quickly becoming the expected standard among employees. Many employers are likely to make the choice of offering work flexibility that balances productive, engaged employees with the freedom to work from home fully or partially.
Remote work is paving the way toward better relationships between employer and employee
According to the latest 2022 HR trends report by Maclean, industry analysis shows the landscape of talent recruitment and retention has shifted. Employers are reporting that remote work is three times more likely to have a positive impact on employee attraction and only slightly lower numbers for employee retention. For jobs that cannot be performed remotely, organisations must work harder to reinvent their recruitment and retention strategies to be considered attractive.
The result? Creative solutions to this situation are producing new, more engaged employee-employer relationships and conversations.
New working models emerge
At Argus, for example, we found ourselves ahead of the curve as we listened to staff and quickly incorporated a work environment that fit the needs of our employees.
“We’ve been happy to offer a hybrid option, allowing those who prefer working in the office to return while also providing those who want flexibility – due to family commitments, a shorter commute or more quiet and focused time – the option of continuing to work from home,” says Kellianne Smith, Senior Vice-President, People Americas at Argus.
Smith notes that the preferences of her staff varied, and that Argus is happy to accommodate those needs as the positive impact on employee work-life balance and job satisfaction is a core pillar of the company’s relationship with its staff.
“Our hybrid model allows colleagues to utilise a number of shared spaces specifically designed for collaboration. We trust that this arrangement embraces the flexibility that most of our teammates are looking for after extended periods of working from home.” Many employees have said the Argus return-to-work model is “a great addition to the attraction and retention strategy” Smith adds.
Hybrid models don’t impact work quality or productivity
Argus, like many employers, was pleasantly surprised to find productivity has not been impacted. “We found that productivity improved in most cases.” Smith says. “We were very happy with how well our colleagues adjusted to new technologies, showing dexterity and creativity in their collaboration and work ethics. Because of this, we found embracing a hybrid model did not have a negative effect on client service or strategic output.”
Customer service has been prioritized as the hybrid work models change the flow of communication to ensure customers aren’t affected. “For any functions requiring an in-office presence, including frontline operations dealing with walk-in customers, property management or digital teams, we ensure those areas are staffed adequately to give clients the best experience possible.”
Conclusion: While hybrid work models have forced employers to pivot in unexpected ways, it’s clear that the changes have been primarily positive. Employers and employees alike are surprised with just how much flexibility and creativity they are capable of without impacting productivity. It seems that remote work models and improved communication are the two beneficial byproducts of a pandemic era that is best left in the past.