There’s definitely mixed emotions about this topic.
Can you hear the cringing and moaning of company exec’s out there?
Encouraging employees to work from home is not as silly as it sounds.
There’s 4 areas we will elaborate on when it comes to going fully hybrid. These are areas that will be impacted considerably when considering mandating an allocated 2 or 3 day in-office work week:
- Office desks
- Office space
We’re going to go out on a limb and say that getting people to work remotely, or at home for a set of allocated days can not only be beneficial to both employees, and employers, but it can also make your company more productive and sustainable to boot. Let’s explore how.
How many desks do you really need?
More often than not people who work in an office have their own allocated desk or desk-space area. Meaning that many employees will arrive at work and sit at their desks. (or more recently stand at sit-to-stand desks). So for employers this also means one desk for every employee. Introduce Hybrid working, and you’ll find that this one desk, one employee scenario will quickly change.
As you’ll see later on in this blog, there is a direct correlation between going hybrid and reducing the amount of desks you will need. Working at home for an allocated number of days in the week has benefits for all when you consider the reduction in resources needed for employees who are working in the office on the days they are not at home.
In a recent study conducted by Gallup of around 140,000 employees it has shown that as the pandemic loses steam, employees are not so happy to head back into the office. Approximately 59% of those employees are hybrid working, meaning they work between 10% and 100% of the time at home, with 32% preferring to actually work fully remote. Only 9% are working fully on site.
So there’s a real shift happening! We say embrace it, and we’ll tell you why.
A consolidation in office space is happening now
The future of how people will be working is still figuring itself out, however what’s really apparent is organisations who are not supporting a more flexible view on the new changes will face a potential backlash. Employees who are not given at least a choice in how they want to work are at the risk of less engagement or even worse, leaving to find other employment with more flexible working conditions.
What does all this have to do with office space? Well, it turns out that if you embrace a new way of working, and reduce the number of days in the office you can also reduce your overall office costs by up to 40%!
Let’s delve deeper…
Changing an employee’s office time to three days a week and two days at home means a reduction of 40% in desks required and potentially reducing the amount of meeting rooms and overall office space.
If you have 100 employees who utilise desks and desk space, and by reducing to a three day in-office work week, you only have 60% of your staff in the office at any one time.
For example, this would mean a savings of approximately $80k per year on an annual rental/lease of $200K/year. Now in reality you may want to cater for more than 60% of your staff being in the office, so these calculations are only a guideline, but there is a compelling story to tell here. There’s significant savings to be made by simply moving to a hybrid workforce model.
However, it’s not always about the money. Let’s explore some of the more intangible benefits of moving to a hybrid working.
There’s more reasons to change than a financial one
As there’s clear financial benefits to hybrid working, there’s also intangible ones, and in many cases these intangible benefits outweigh the financial ones. The Gallup study also provided some clear evidence that when not giving employees the flexibility to work remotely, it will wreak havoc on many aspects of the their lives.
It states that when not given a say in how they want to work the employees experience:
- Significantly lower engagement
- Significantly lower wellbeing
- Significantly higher intent to leave
- Significantly higher levels of burnout
A key takeaway from the research shows that failing to offer more flexibility in work arrangements means a significant risk to employee engagement, performance and overall well-being.
There’s many reasons why people prefer to work from home on some days. An important one being able to balance family and work commitments. Many people have reported to feeling better mentally & physically, being more productive and well connected with their organisation they work for.
With reasons like these there’s no wonder why around 38% of people want to be in the office about 50% of the time.
Organisations that have embraced Hybrid working have seen significant gains in productivity. Actually leaders and managers prefer a hybrid workforce, and many are opting to mandate certain days working at home. It’s also interesting to note that they are also hesitant to have a fully remote workforce. One thing is for sure, that there’s much to gain in employers being more flexible.
New Hybrid workplaces need to be thinking more and more about what type of changes need to be made to boost productivity . Things like giving employees more flexibility when working in team environments. They need to also be providing the right tools to ensure the productivity outcomes required of them. Empowering employees to book meeting rooms and desks provides visibility of knowing when their colleagues are in the office is also an important consideration.
Does Hybrid working reduce environmental impact?
There’s much debate around whether there’s an actual improvement on environmental impact when it comes to hybrid workplaces. What is clear is that with less commuting and reducing consumption in both power and waste, there’s significant positive impact on natural resources.
According to a report from the biofriendlyplanet.com, globally people are reducing paper waste and printing less for meetings, as well as producing less food related waste with less usage on plastic lunch bags, plastic cutlery and take away coffee cups. Just by reducing the amount of office space, there’s obvious immediate reductions in power, water and other resources.
How can companies make Hybrid working more sustainable?
Hybrid working does represent an opportunity for organisations to better observe and influence new behaviours and working styles. Some strategies to consider when creating a sustainable culture across your workplace are:
- Start a Sustainability workgroup
- Many organisations are beginning to make sustainability a part of their day to day working lives by forming a committee or working group that focuses on, and implements sustainability activities across the organisation.
- Encourage a safe & sustainable home work spaces
- Extending safe work practices to homes such as ergonomic desk setup and implementing sit to stand desks can help maintain a comfortable home working environment.
- Provide tools and tips to help reduce printing waste
- Encourage your employees to think about their need to print documents and provide new ways of sharing data rather than printing it.
- Have leaders and managers lead the way with changes
- To help adoption of these changes implement a program whereby leaders are leading by example when it comes to the sustainability activities mentioned above.
- Encourage reductions & recycling of e-waste at home
- Implement an e-waste recycling program for people at home. Extend what activities are being done in the office, to reduce e-waste at home and provide this to their employees. This may include battery recycling and anything electronics related that should be disposed of properly.
- Mandate a three day in-office working week
- Help reduce the environmental impact on commuting to work by allocating a 3 days at work, 2 days at home working week. This not only helps with reducing carbon load, but can reduce office based costs, such as rental and lease costs as well.
As working from home (WFH) policies become increasingly more popular, it is likely there will be reduced sustainability impacts. Employers will need to be more conscious about what impacts will occur when implementing a hybrid workforce. They’ll need to understand more about how a remote workforce impacts their overall sustainability goals.
At Ezy Sign-in we provide solutions to help you monitor employee movements, book desks and meeting rooms, and capture worked hours using electronic timesheets. Using data gathered from our products you can analyse and ascertain what activities you may implement to help make your workforce more productive, whilst achieving added benefits of reducing costs relating to office space and other office resources. Our sales teams are available and happy to help work on your specific needs.