The State of the Industry: Future of Work survey (email required to download), recently released by AT&T and Dubber Corporation, was conducted to gain insights from senior executives about their current and future work models, the challenges posed by those work models, and the deployment of technology solutions and strategies to support them.
The survey findings make it clear that hybrid work has become standard for how work happens now and in the near future. In fact, 81% of the surveyed senior executives believe hybrid work will be the predominant working model for at least the next three years.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the survey is that the overwhelming majority of businesses (72%) lack a detailed hybrid work strategy. Moreover, 76% of businesses don’t have the right key performance indicators (KPIs) to support a hybrid work strategy.
How Hybrid Work Impacts Employee Experience
The surveyed senior execs expressed a clear understanding of how hybrid work impacts employee experience. A stunning 97% of respondents said a hybrid work model would help them attract the young talent they need to grow their businesses. Nearly 9 out of 10 (86%) of senior execs also believe their existing employees prefer a hybrid work approach (and they’re correct, as surveys of employees show). Nor are senior executives very concerned about losing employee productivity due to hybrid work: 79% of them believe hybrid work is effective in driving productivity.
But despite the near-unanimity of senior execs around
- The predominance of hybrid work and;
- Its strong impact on employee experience (and productivity)
Nearly 3 in 4 businesses lack a detailed strategy for making hybrid work effective. What gives?
Top Challenges to Hybrid Work
Nearly all surveys, including the new State of the Industry: Future of Work survey, show a wide gap between business leaders and employees around expectations for returning to the office. Employers want to return to the office for a number of reasons, while employees have been less enthusiastic.
The top challenges to hybrid work, as identified by the surveyed senior execs, are:
- Maintaining employee oversight
- Losing institutional knowledge, and;
- Sustaining company culture.
All these challenges are traditionally viewed as unique advantages of in-person, in-office work environments.
Despite employer challenges (or objections) to hybrid work, senior execs are leaning into the need to invest in technologies to create an “employee tech stack” that supports a hybrid work model.
“COVID-19 has been the single most transformative event in shaping the future of work. Attitudes towards working models have dramatically transformed over the last 24 months, and the “hybrid” working model will soon become default. Firms need to upgrade their employee technology stack and undergo a cultural reset to prepare for this new normal.”
The Future of Work is Already Here: Businesses are Playing Catch Up
The survey makes it clear that senior executives know the future of work is hybrid, and that it’s already here. Moreover, they clearly understand that their employees, existing and future, prefer hybrid work. How businesses implement and support hybrid work will significantly impact employee experience and productivity.
Having the “right” technology, processes, and people in place will be essential for supporting hybrid work. Any solution also requires the right mindsets, for leaders and employees alike, one that’s willing to say, ‘maybe we don’t have all the answers, but we’re willing to learn from experience and leverage those lessons to inform what we do next.”
At Robin, we build technology to support hybrid work. But we also enable our users to collect data that can help inform how they make decisions and plans/strategies around hybrid work.
A Final Thought
Like the senior executives in the new Future of Work survey, we may not know the “just right” strategy to support hybrid work (spoiler alert: one-size office configuration or one-size hybrid work strategy won’t fit all organizations), but we believe it’s okay not to have all the answers and instead use incoming data/experience to find them. The future of work is something we’re all co-creating in real-time.
There are two ways to “read” the new Future of Work survey. You could say it’s unacceptable that 72% of businesses don’t have a detailed strategy in place for supporting hybrid work. You might also see that figure as a forward-looking recognition that work has undergone tremendous changes over the last two years, and that any detailed plan for hybrid work should be written in pencil, with eraser close at hand.
At Robin, we’re here to enable the future of work as it’s happening. Our solutions support employee experience and productivity, while helping organizations flexibly address evolving challenges.