More than 80% of firms changed to accommodate hybrid working
Mon 2 Oct 2023
A significant number of businesses (82%) have changed their office space needs to accommodate a flexible and hybrid working approach, according to a new survey from IWG.
The survey of 500 businesses found that 54% of organisations now have offices or co-working spaces outside of main city centres, while 38% have second locations in commuter towns as businesses attempt to accommodate staff who desire more flexible working.
“Working models have changed in recent years due to the pandemic. Businesses should focus on adapting to new working models to accommodate the needs and wants of their workers and improve employee experience in order to stay competitive. It’s good to see some businesses now relocating outside of city centres, which saves money and brings further benefits to employees and communities,” said Sridhar Iyengar, Managing Director for Zoho Europe.
Employers are said to face challenges regarding the new flexible approach and the statistics support this claim, as businesses attempt to accommodate the needs of staff, while organisations such as HSBC have said they would move their global headquarters away from Canary Wharf to smaller office after more than two decades.
“Locating outside of traditional busy, overcrowded cities can help distribute economic wealth more effectively. Opportunities can be brought to more rural areas, rather than the usual drain of talent seen with workers moving away to where the opportunities exist in cities. Quality of life is improved for employees, who can be nearer their families, enjoy a more affordable lifestyle and enjoy more space and less crowding in their surrounding areas,” added Iyengar.
Assessments on current productivity when compared to pre-pandemic levels show no clear sign of change, and the research found that 73% of businesses have been able to cut their office space costs as a result of reduced central city office space needs, while 36% say they are paying less in expenses for staff travel.
Businesses need to consider several factors carefully when developing effective hybrid or remote working models. Cost, employee experience, company culture, communication and productivity all play a key part. Technology plays a crucial role in any remote work, boosting staff motivation, productivity, and business success.
“Employers should ensure employee satisfaction is top of the agenda by offering work arrangements that take these needs and wants into consideration, or risk losing staff for whom salary and job title are no longer the sole deciding factors when considering their career paths. The battle for talent continues and without prioritising policies that support employees in maintaining the work-life balance they desire, businesses will ultimately lose out,” said Joanna Kori, Head of People at Encompass Corporation.
Mark Dixon, Chief Executive of IWG, said businesses are realising that hybrid working makes sense for their bottom lines and benefits their workforces.
“It’s encouraging to see that businesses are translating their hybrid working savings into real benefits for employees. Not only does this help in the immediate term, with improved productivity and wellbeing, but it will also help them retain and recruit the best talent,” said Dixon.
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