The Hybrid Office Survey
An Employer's Perspective on the Rise of the Hybrid Office
Research from 2,000 owners, CEOs, and C-Suite members who are planning to offer remote flexibility long-term post-Covid offers insight into how offices and workspaces are likely to evolve in the years to come.
While remote work has been on the rise for years, many employers who were clinging to a traditional full-time office environment prior to the pandemic are now at a crossroads. The pressure on employers is coming from all sides, employees are demanding flexibility, other companies are changing their stance on remote work and many business leaders are having to reassess how they’ll compete in hiring and staff retention if they don’t adapt.
To better understand how employers are reacting and adapting to this new reality, Plugable surveyed business leaders across the U.S., providing a glimpse into how the workplace is changing and offering guidance to other owners and executives who may be uncertain about how to forge ahead.
About the Respondents
Plugable surveyed 2,000 owners, CEOs and members of the C-suite in the United States at companies with 10 or more employees. This survey data was collected in April 2021 in collaboration with market research partner, Pollfish.
C Level Executive
The Pressure Is On and Employers Are Responding
Employers are responding to both internal and external pressure to change up their policies on remote flexibility post-Covid, putting guidelines in place to manage their teams.
feel pressure externally as other employers begin offering more flexibility or fully remote positions
2 in 5
business leaders who plan to offer full or partial remote flexibility had an entirely in-office staff or only select employees with remote flexibility prior to the pandemic
9 in 10
employers report feeling pressure from employees to make a long-term shift to a remote or hybrid working environment
Most Employers Have Already Put Plans In Place To Set Guidelines And Expectations For Remote Workers
|We’ve already created and communicated a plan||60%|
|We’re in the process of creating a plan||35%|
|We have not created or communicated a plan yet||4%|
|We don't intend on creating a plan||<1%|
Employers Planning To Increase Spend On Staff's Home Office
As remote work shifts from a temporary to long-term reality for many companies, employers are re-assessing their employees' needs for their home workspace.
of employers feel confident they’ve provided sufficient technical resources to support their staff while working from home over the past year
of employers are very confident that their employees currently have a workspace well suited for productivity
Top Items Employers Report High Likelihood of Increased Spending On for Their Employees’ Home Office in the Year Ahead
|Security tools and software||74%|
|Computer hardware and equipment||63%|
Top items employers have provided to employees for their remote setups in the last year
|Laptop docking station or USB hub||38%|
|Desk chair or other office furniture||37%|
Is the average amount employers estimate they’ve invested in their employees workstation at home
Creating An Efficient, Hybrid Workplace Requires Thorough Planning
For those companies intending to shift to a hybrid workplace, where employees flex between in-office and remote working, employers face a number of decisions as to how they’ll move forward while still maintaining effective communication and collaboration.1
of those managing a hybrid workforce feel strongly that staff should be required to be in-office a minimum number of days per week or month
feel strongly that staff should follow a consistent schedule of days when they’re in office vs remote
Number Of Days Employers Think Staff Need To Be In-Office To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Communication And Collaboration
|2-3 days per week||46%|
|Once per week||30%|
|2-3 times per month||15%|
|Five days per week||5%|
|Once per month||2%|
|I don't believe they need to be in office at all||1%|
Looking at This Data Another Way, Nearly Half Are in Favor of Once per Week or Less in the Office
|0-4 times per month||48%|
How Employers Plan To Retool Their Offices To Enable Productive Collaboration Between Remote and Non-Remote Staff
|Changing meeting room layouts to make it easier for remote staff to participate||59%|
|Adding video conferencing rooms||55%|
|Increase the number of shared hot desks and/or open seating areas for employees||50%|
|Enhancing video conferencing equipment in existing rooms||47%|
|Have all, or nearly all, shared hot desks to accommodate the flow of employees||42%|
|Upgrading audio technology for calls in common spaces||41%|
|Hosting training sessions on best practices for remote collaboration||32%|
Trust And Communication Will Be The Key To Positive Relations Between Employers and Employees
While employers are embracing the reality of a long-term remote/hybrid workforce, many are still concerned about how well their staff will perform while working in a remote capacity, yet with many workers reporting high stress levels and a decrease in work/life balance, employers will need to adapt.
Top Suspicions That Business Leaders Express Surrounding Non-Work Activites While Staff Are Remote
|Playing video games||52%|
|Sleeping during work hours||43%|
|Sleeping in/not starting work on time||33%|
|Leaving home for non-essential trips||30%|
|Shopping online during the day||26%|
|Talking on the phone with family/friends for long periods of time||26%|
|Drinking alcohol during the workday||24%|
Types Of Staff Employers Are Most Concerned About As It Relates To Remote Work Performance
|Staff who recently started their careers||61%|
|Staff who were recently hired||48%|
|Staff working alongside young children at home||46%|
|Staff working alongside spouse/significant other||32%|
|Staff who are close to retirement||30%|
|Staff in managerial positions||18%|
Top Concerns of Employers When Interacting With Employees Remotely
Visibly distracted by their surroundings
Appearing as if they've just woken up
Mutual trust, understanding and transparency between employers and employees will be key
Employers are in an increasingly difficult position given their lack of consistent access to their employees’ work activities while a large portion of staff are off-site. While once they may have been able to walk around their office and see their team actively typing an email, making a phone call or sitting in a conference room amongst colleagues, the remote workplace makes it difficult to feel confident that business is moving at its usual pace.
Yet according to many recent reports, employees have been more stressed and overworked than ever before, suggesting a misalignment between employees and business leaders that could be disastrous for morale and motivation over the long-term. Employers will need to learn to trust their employees to be responsible and productive, focusing on results and output over hours.
On the other hand, employees will need to acknowledge when they’re communicating with an employer, boss or even colleague whom they rarely communicate with given the shift to a remote or hybrid workplace, and ensure they’re presenting themselves in a way that makes the other confident about their home workspace, professional demeanor and/or ability to work productively. Employees will also need to be more vocal about their needs as they become more accountable for the quality and efficacy of their home workspace.
Employers will need to ask more questions and be even better listeners
There is a clear disconnect between the opinion of employers and those of employees. While recent reports indicate that staff feel unsupported by their employers as it relates to their remote workspace, employers are of the opinion that they’ve provided adequate support to their employees. Without the benefit of in-person interaction in many cases, it will be important that employers go out of their way to uncover problems and challenges that their employees are experiencing and finding solutions to help them.
Technology isn’t a luxury, it’s a business necessity
The importance of technology and how it contributes to productivity can’t be overstated. While many employers limited their investments in staff resources over the past year of remote work to providing laptops, there are significant gains employers will find from giving employees more resources that fuel productivity, such as additional monitors for multitasking and cross-referencing, video conferencing solutions to improve collaboration, docking stations that allow for simple desk sharing and even ergonomic furniture that reduces discomfort for employees while at home. In the long-run, investments in technology are likely to create the foundation for a productive, remote workforce, so long as employers are willing to look to the future.