Surveys indicate that 77% of Canadian employees want a hybrid work model. Gallup research also reveals that employees working remotely part-time are the most engaged at 43%, with 38% and 32% engagement reported by employees working from home and from the office full-time, respectively.
Although the majority of employees want a hybrid work model, “a majority (81 per cent) [also] expressed concern that their companies aren’t ready or equipped to successfully manage this model”. From rotating schedules to meeting-free days, as well as managing post-pandemic health and safety, many organizations still have a lot of processes to put in place.
The hybrid work model has been heralded as ‘the solution’ that meets every organizations’ needs, without much discussion of what hybrid work actually means. That’s because it isn’t one thing, but a flexible approach to splitting the difference between WFH and WFO.
Here’s how some top organizations are handling the hybrid work model.
Google has long led the way for employee experience, with their well-known workspaces or “campuses” that are designed to create a sort of second home for employees, described as: “Large or small, each one of our offices is designed to inspire innovation, big ideas, and community”.
In an email recently sent to Google employees, CEO Sundar Pichai outlined the different options for returning to work. Google’s aim is to create “a hybrid workplace to help [employees] collaborate effectively across many work environments”. Sundar anticipates that around 60% of Google employees will be working from the office a few days a week, “another 20% are working in new office locations, and 20% are working from home”.
The audio streaming giant wrote in a February blog post: “We have been discussing the future of work and what it will look like for a couple of years, and have always concluded that globalisation and digitalisation are drivers for a more flexible workplace, that is better for both the company and our people”.
Similarly to Google, Spotify will be offering its employees a variety of flexible work options. With their “My Work Mode”, they will allow employees to “work full time from home, from the office, or a combination of the two. The exact mix of home and office work mode is a decision each employee and their manager make together”. Additionally, Spotify will allow employees more freedom to work from different cities and countries.
Spotify writes that they recognize that these changes may have an impact on their in-office culture, “but listening to our employees and embracing the need for change” and adapting is more important for their culture long-term.
Canadian financial institution CIBC plans to continue emphasizing onsite work, as they believe it’s a critical part of their client relationship-building. However, CIBC also recognizes the importance of remote work options for their culture, and according to LinkedIn, will work to avoid a “one-size-fits-all approach” in favour of evaluating employees’ needs on a case-by-case basis.
According to Tech Radar, as of September, Apple will require employees to be in the office three days a week (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday). A Slack survey of Apple employees found that “more than a quarter (36.7%) of the 1,749 respondents said they were worried they would have to leave Apple due to the lack of flexibility surrounding the company's work from home policies”.
Organizations will have to figure out the balance between in-person collaboration and flexibility.
Whether a start-up or an established enterprise, organizations still need to work out the logistics of what hybrid work means for them. While many companies are willing to offer their employees hybrid work models, it’s with varying degrees of flexibility. As seen with companies like Apple, offering less (or no) flexibility means the potential for higher turnover and a poorer company culture.