One of the biggest shifts in the workplace over the last few years has been the boom in remote and hybrid work. This flexible work model is now part of the “normal” that employees are expecting, and HR teams will need to continue building it into overall strategy.
To get a better sense of what workers really want out of hybrid work, Gallup surveyed over 8,000 remote-capable American employees. Their expert team then categorized their findings into five key insights that every HR team should keep in mind.
- How many days per week are hybrid employees working on-site and how many do they prefer?
At the moment, there is no single “best” answer to this question; it varies widely between teams and organizations. Surveyed employees were split almost evenly into thirds: one group currently spending one day on-site per week, one group spending two or three days on-site, and one group working on-site four days per week. However, when asked about what arrangement they would prefer, only 12% of workers chose the “four days” schedule. The highest percentage (29%) like being in the office two days a week. For teams with a focus on diversity and inclusion, it’s important to keep these preferences in mind, especially how they might be affected by factors such as office culture, family caretaking, and other aspects.
- Which days of the week are most popular for on-site work?
In probably the least surprising insight in the survey, Gallup found that workers are least interested in coming into the office on Mondays and Fridays, while they’re more likely to pick Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays when given the choice. Employers have a similar perspective and are less likely to ask employees to come in on weekend-adjacent days.
- How many days per week on-site are optimal?
Gallup’s research found that employee engagement and collaboration seems to be strongest when employees are in the office two or three days per week, but that’s not necessarily applicable to all roles. For roles that have a high degree of independence, the lower end of two or three days is effective, but the more collaboration necessary, the more likely it is that employees will benefit from the full three days of in-person work.
There is a catch, however, that HR teams should be aware of when crafting hybrid work policies. The engagement benefits described here only apply when employees and teams choose those schedules themselves. When it’s imposed through a mandate of certain days or a certain number of days universally required, the engagement benefit disappears.
- Which hybrid work policies are being implemented?
Flexibility is the key benefit to hybrid work, so it’s not surprising that the policies being implemented vary quite a bit. 29% of employees say their employer requires office attendance on particular days, while 28% report having a minimum number of on-site days but being allowed to choose which ones, and 43% report not having any universal requirements. It’s clear, however, that more flexibility corresponds with higher employee engagement and satisfaction: 60% of employees prefer to make their own scheduling choices, and engagement is highest among those whose employers don’t require a set number of days on-site.
- Who should set hybrid work policies?
HR and diversity teams will find themselves grappling with whose authority should set these hybrid policies, and whose perspective is centered in making those decisions. In Gallup’s survey, 37% of respondents reported being allowed to craft their own schedules. 26% said top company leadership did the job, followed by team managers (24%) and work teams (13%). The greatest level of engagement, however, is reported by that smallest group: 46% report being engaged at work when their schedules are decided upon by their own groups. It’s a key way to put more power in the hands of individual employees and their diverse needs – and, in turn, benefit from their improved engagement and effectiveness.
By Ruben Moreno
About the Author
After a 25-year career in Corporate Human Resources and HR Executive Search, Ruben Moreno and his two partners co-founded Blue Rock Search based on a simple but ambitious vision of creating a firm that would “Change Lives and Organizations One Relationship at a Time.” Ruben leads the Blue Rock HR and Diversity Executive Search practice specializing in the identification, assessment, recruitment, and onboarding of Chief HR Officers and Chief Diversity Officers and their respective teams — inclusive of leaders in Talent Acquisition, Total Rewards, HRBP’s, Learning & OD, HR Technology, HR Operations, and HR Analytics. Ruben has helped place hundreds of HR Executives and built deep relationships within the CHRO community across multiple industry verticals. His clients consider him a trusted partner who takes the time to understand their business and add value beyond executive search.