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Hybrid is here to stay

Unless you work for a company such as Goldman-Sachs which wants people back in the office yesterday, many people now want or expect to work from home or coworking space at least a couple of days a week. Remote and hybrid work will rise to 300% of pre-COVID levels, and post-pandemic the number of remote workers will grow six-fold to reach 30% of the global office worker population. Cisco Webex believes 98% of meetings will now include remote participants.

Employees want hybrid …

Employees certainly seem to want a hybrid model. Cisco believes 57% expect to be in the office 10 days or less each month; YouGov says 57% of British office workers want to work from home permanently, while Forbes reports that 85% of people expect to work from home at least a couple of days a week. The statistics go on and on.

… but leaders are out of sync

Many business leaders are faring better than their employees. 61% of leaders who work remotely or in a hybrid model say they are “thriving” – 23% higher than those without decision-making authority. Business leaders must find a balance between getting back to ‘normal’ and accommodating what employees want – the best of both worlds. According to Gartner, 74% of CFOs intend to shift at least some employees to remote work permanently.

Where, and when, work gets done will be determined by what makes the most sense to drive the highest levels of productivity and engagement.

— Gartner

Hybrid is not the same as flexible

No matter what hybrid looks like, it’s shouldn’t be confused with flexible working because many organisations will be dictating top down who goes in, when and where. Microsoft has given the option to permanently work-from-home, however that hinges on manager approval.

Similarly Google allows you to work from home 14 days a year, but then you need approval for more. That’s not exactly flexible. It is important to note that flexible work is one of the most important ways you can increase diversity, equity and inclusion in any setting. 

Security needs a new approach

According to The State of Security in a Hybrid World, 72% of security decision-makers say procedures and controls have become more complex as organisations transition to hybrid work, with 71% fighting to keep up with the increased volume of security threats. 56% say security investments have increased over the last 12 months, and 71% say their IT environment is now more secure than it was before the pandemic.

Hybrid is accelerating digital transformation

We’ve seen unprecedented acceleration in digital transformation driven by the pandemic and hybrid working. According to Gartner, 69% of boards of directors say the effects of the pandemic crisis, the economic crisis and the social crisis are accelerating digital business initiatives.

In fact, a McKinsey Global Survey of executives revealed digital transformation projects have been accelerated by three to four years. And according to Cisco, 48% of CIOs predict that more than half of their IT budget will be spent to bring pandemic technology investments to full potential.

Hybrid means rethinking the workspace

Office space no longer stops at the office. Leaders must consider how to equip all workers with the tools they need to contribute. 66% of business leaders are redesigning their office spaces for hybrid work according to Microsoft, while Cisco reports that 96% want to improve their work environments with intelligent workplace technology. Employees, however, are more concerned about health and safety, with 97% wanting changes to make the office safer before they return.

The way forward

Taken together, these trends show that we are no longer bound by traditional ideas of space and time when working together. Instead, we can shift our assumptions about work and embrace choice and flexibility. As we all adapt to new hybrid work models, business leaders and employees alike can rethink their operating model for a successful and sustainable shift to hybrid work that works for everyone.

At Westcon-Comstor, we deliver the solutions and services businesses need to transition successfully to a hybrid work model. Contact your account manager today, or read our other blog:

Hybrid by Design insights