Everyone is working hybrid these days, so you might think it must be a successful model for any business. But is it?
Here at deskbird, we believe that the simple introduction of a flexible work model does not equal its success. Quite the opposite: bad implementation of the hybrid work model leads to worse performance and unhappier employees. At the same time, successful hybrid work models can generate up to a day of productivity per week for each employee, increase happiness, and foster talent retention. But how?
Getting the most out of the work week
Many researchers focus on productivity and how it is impacted by different working models. Some of the most recent studies show that in a 5-day work week, the productivity level reaches its peak when working remotely for the entire five days. On average, thanks to “in-the-zone-productivity”, fully remote workers are 47% more productive than their counterparts working from the office every day of the week. Before diving into the downsides of the remote work model, let’s look at how the hybrid way of working impacts productivity.
Working from home and going to the office three times a week still produces greater productivity. However, concerning hybrid work environments, we have concluded a difference in productivity levels between coordinated and uncoordinated hybrid work. The relationship between productivity and days spent in the office is depicted visually in the graph below. In the first case, there is only a slight decrease in productivity for those who spent two or three days in the office. In contrast, in the second case, an uncoordinated approach to hybrid work significantly decreases productivity.
This trend can be explained by the productivity gained from face-to-face collaboration, sometimes required to solve highly complex tasks, brainstorming together, or synchronous communication. Without coordination, coworkers may miss the opportunity to meet one another face-to-face. Also, productivity decreases with uncoordinated work as there is a chance that two colleagues who are supposed to work together, are not in the office on the same day. Furthermore, the worker in the office does not reap the benefits of in-the-zone productivity.
What about other factors?
While productivity levels are a crucial measure for success, we feel it’s not the only factor organizations should consider when choosing a working model. Therefore, we introduce the curve of employee happiness to our model.
As productivity increases with more days spent working remotely, happiness actually decreases with every remote day and employees are happiest when working none or one day remotely. For those working remotely two days per week or more , happiness diminishes significantly. Research finds that remote work increases loneliness by 67% , and loneliness is the number one reason why employees are unhappy. Additionally, for people working from home, 70% feel it’s difficult to contribute or be part of a conversation, 67% feel disengaged, and 60% feel left out. 64% of employees that worked from home during the pandemic said that their meeting style preference is a hybrid video conferencing call (State of Remote Work). To sum it up, fewer remote days means a greater sense of belonging and purpose. In-office presence is still a huge contributor to a strong company culture that builds social capital. High social capital leads to more engagement, loyalty and thus talent retention. But at the same time, most employees (88%) agree that flexibility with regards to their work location has increased job satisfaction. In addition, just like productivity levels, happiness rises with coordination in hybrid work models.
So, what works best?
Looking at the graph from a mathematical perspective, we want to find the point where the sum of productivity and happiness is maximized for hybrid models. It lies between two and three days of remote work, whereas the sum for a coordinated hybrid work model is higher than for the uncoordinated work model. In simple terms, coordinated hybrid work wins and provides the most productivity and employee happiness for organizations. Indeed, we find that well-coordinated hybrid work can win your employees up to a day of productivity, each week!
Let’s turn our attention to the curves again. The difference between the uncoordinated and coordinated hybrid work models embodies approximately 20% of the entire productivity range. Therefore, in a hybrid world, coordinated hybrid work gains significant productivity. So what’s the catch? It can take quite a lot of effort! That’s why digital tools like deskbird are key to reduce that effort – for workplace managers and employees alike – and realize the full potential of hybrid work. deskbird is a simple and intuitive tool for employees to plan their weeks and see who is in the office.
We are not done with the good news just yet. Research also proves that employees are happier when they know who else is in the office when they come in. And in this instance, the gap is even bigger. No coordination of hybrid work leads to a drop in employee happiness by up to 40%, a nightmare for all organizations. And happier employees are more likely to stay.
In a nutshell
Looking at maximizing employee’s productivity and happiness, coordinated hybrid work clearly wins. With a productivity gain of around 20% on average per week, and happiness increasing up to 40% compared to an uncoordinated work model, the numbers speak for themselves. If you are rather a fan of theory put into practice, check out our success stories to read about how we actually make hybrid work with our customers.