Flex is Next: Reflecting on 'The Great Misalignment' in workplaces

Britta Schellenberg
Britta Schellenberg
Published on 
12.3.2021

We hope you’re having a great Holiday season! The Holidays are a good time for deep reflection about your priorities. We know from nearly all the data that employees have been re-prioritizing their relationship to work for the last 18-24 months now. What’s become clear is that people prioritize flexibility in where and how they work. 

Employers who retain and attract talent are the ones who have accommodated those shifting priorities, putting employee experience first, putting people over places.

Employers who continue to lose talent are those that have ignored misalignments between what employees want and what the organization provides.

As VP of Marketing here at Robin, I read a lot about the hybrid workplace, and every two weeks I share my favorite articles with you. 

Feel free to let me know what YOU think.  

Psychology Today: Why employees leave (and how to retain them)

A must-read article in Psychology Today, Is it the Great Resignation or the Great Reprioritization?, surveys the top reasons why employees are currently leaving their jobs. It explains that, other than concerns over compensation, the top reasons people leave are:

  1. Work-home balance. The work is so demanding you don’t have enough time or energy left to enjoy non-work activities.
  2. Remote work policies. There's a misalignment in remote work preferences and organizational policies.

As a result of the pandemic, employees have radically reprioritized what they’re looking for in a job, with flexibility around where and when work happens becoming a critical factor in whether an employee stays or leaves. Retaining employees today is about avoiding misalignment between employee demands and what the organization offers -- it requires building a company infrastructure (including your tech stack) that supports employee flexibility around where and how work happens.

The article’s last paragraph offers some sage advice: “organizations might be able to capitalize on these newfound priorities to not only retain employees but attract new ones. As workers return to the office, leaders should proceed with great caution, transparency, and open-mindedness. A failure to do so might instigate a mass exodus of employees that are interested in more accommodating opportunities.”

Wired: In-demand tech workers now demanding more flexibility in where and how they work

Wired just published a fascinating article, Great Resignation? Tech Workers Try a Great Reconsideration Instead, about why so many technology professionals are leaving their jobs and finding new ones offering more flexibility. The Wired article aligns almost perfectly with the Psychology Today article detailed above. Wired opens the article with an Amazon engineer who receives the company’s new RTO policy, which means he’d need to go back into the office after New Year’s. Wanting more flexibility than Amazon was offering, he opens himself up to a recruiter and quickly takes another job. 

Tech workers, Wired notes, are different from most workers demanding workplace flexibility in one important respect: they are harder to find and therefore harder to keep because everyone is trying to hire them. The article is blunt about what employers must do to retain top tech talent: “In tech, though, employers might not have much choice—it’s already wildly competitive to find engineering talent. . . Employers might not be able to compete without making concessions around where, when, and how employees work.” 

For many in-demand technology workers, not having good options for remote and hybrid work is an employee experience killer and reason enough to leave an organization for greener (more flexible) pastures.

Propmodo: The role of the human-centric office in hybrid work

Propmodo’s real estate focused blog recently explored The Office as a Tool to Alleviate “Remote Fatigue.” The post looked at how the office can be used in a hybrid work strategy to reduce employee burnout and “digital fatigue” because of its unique benefits, including how the office strengthens cross-departmental communications and facilitates surprise, beneficial interactions with colleagues in hallways and over lunch. There’s a social energy and kinetic quality about working in the office that remote tools like Zoom simply can’t match. 

“Gartner recently suggested companies move from a location-centric culture to a human-centered culture but offices can do both,” says the Propmodo blog: “Metaverses cannot duplicate the office environment and remote work, as discussed, leaves much to be desired” in terms of creating digital fatigue and burnout.

The post does not explicitly name Robin, but concludes that “experience platforms that bring people together in a flexible [way] are crucial for the success of the office. What people want out of an office continues to evolve but, by looking at existing data and keeping in touch with people, offices can answer the cries of employees wanting to be seen more than just the neck up. The sweat pants will have to go but the perks of being in an office are worth it.” 

Thank you for reading and see you again in two weeks.

Meanwhile, continue to focus on employee experience — when you accommodate the needs of your employees, they’ll reciprocate with their productivity and loyalty. Robin is here to help you help them, retaining, engaging, and attracting the people who enable you to grow.