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Why Some Companies Are Skipping the Hybrid Work Option

It can seem like there’s a binary divide happening in the world of work right now: remote vs. in-person work. And many employers have chosen to move to hybrid work schedules when faced with a workforce that wants the best of both. 

Hybrid work can seem like it combines the best of both worlds, allowing for some in-office interaction and collaboration while reducing commute time and increasing productivity for employees. 

But a successful hybrid workplace is surprisingly hard to implement, even though 61% of employees are currently working in some sort of hybrid arrangement. Many companies are deciding that instead of splitting the difference, they’ll choose between remote vs. in-person work. 

The Downsides of Hybrid Work 

In a survey, more than 80% of company leaders and HR professionals said that hybrid setups are emotionally exhausting for employees. 

That’s probably because the hybrid office doesn’t have many of the benefits of remote vs. in-person work. Employees who prefer the socialization and camaraderie of a full office don’t get much of that in a half-empty hybrid space. 

Workers who enjoy the focus and autonomy (and the lack of commute) that remote work offers don’t get when they’re expected to be in the office several days a week. If employees are expected to commute in regularly only to sit on hours of Zoom calls in a silent office, they’re getting the worst of both worlds. 

1. Failing to Deliver on Flexibility 

When employees are happy with their company’s time and location flexibility, they’re more than twice as likely to recommend working for the company, according to Linkedin’s 2022 Global Talent Trends report

But, if employers set up a hybrid system with rigid rules about what days and times employees must be in the office, that negates much of the flexibility employees have been used to in the last three years when working remotely. Workers who prefer to be in-person might be stuck with an empty office on those non-mandated days. 

2. Proximity Bias Arises

When some employees are spending more time in the office than others, as in a hybrid model, proximity bias creeps in and opportunities for advancement are likely not equal. 

In fact, SHRM research found that 62% of managers believe that full-time remote work hurts employees’ career objectives, and 34% of remote workers say working remotely permanently would reduce their career opportunities. 

Employees who are working from home more while their colleagues are in-person more often may feel left out of conversations, exciting project assignments, and career opportunities. 

Being fully remote or fully in-person makes tasks easier to coordinate and work opportunities more equitable. Getting a hybrid workplace right takes significantly more time and thought. 

Why Companies Choose Remote vs. In-Person Work 

With those drawbacks, it’s no surprise that many companies are moving to either all-in-office or fully remote models. 

The finance industry has been leading the charge to go back to the office, and Morgan Stanley saw more than half a million job applications last year despite their strict in-office requirements. But many tech businesses, like DropBox and Shopify, are moving towards a fully remote model. 

Of course, businesses that choose one road or the other will also face challenges, like getting employees who prefer in-office work to adapt to remote life, or hiring issues because many employees are looking for flexible positions when switching jobs. 

What works for your company is ultimately up to what your employees and managers prefer. Retention, productivity, talent acquisition, and employee happiness are all important factors you need to consider as you determine how your organization will work and succeed. 

For more information on how Cangrade solutions can support your retention efforts in any work environment, contact us today.