What the Hybrid Workplace Means for the Future of Hiring

by Nick Iovacchini

Right now, there are two critical things currently happening in many workspaces that could shape businesses for years to come.

The first is that hybrid work is becoming the new normal. People are slowly streaming back into the office thanks to the COVID vaccine, but many are still working from home, either for logistical or health reasons. Thus, a combination of working from the office and working remotely seems to be what many businesses are adopting, and it will likely stay that way even in a post-pandemic world.

The second, and perhaps the more important of the two, is that Generation Z is now entering the workforce, and employers are learning to adapt to their needs and workstyle in order to hire and retain them.

When it comes to hybrid work models, a study by my company, Kettle, showed that nearly two-thirds of respondents found this model important when considering a potential employer, and nearly 70% said they would select an employer that offered flexibility over one that didn’t. Furthermore, nearly half of those surveyed said that if their employer mandated in-person work and didn’t offer hybrid or remote options, they would look for work elsewhere.

So, it’s clear that the newest generation of employees highly value a hybrid environment where they have more control over where and how they work. The problem is that they don’t think their employers are prepared for the new reality of work.

In our study, 53% of respondents said they did not think employers were prepared to implement hybrid work models, which, when paired with the data presented above, poses a major problem for hiring and keeping Gen Z employees. Thus, it is critical for employers to prioritize implementing a hybrid workplace that will work for everyone.

Why aren’t companies ready?

Organizations may not be ready for a full-time hybrid workforce for a few reasons. The first is that employers may be out of touch with their employees. Leaders are reporting better satisfaction, stronger relationships with colleagues, and earning a higher income. Being remote might not have the same adverse effect on leaders as it does on their workers, and that could lead to them not recognizing the importance of a hybrid work model. With a hybrid work model, it’s important to note the adverse effects of remote-only may include feelings of isolation, lack of visibility by upper management, or distractions at home (i.e. children, pets, etc.)

Similarly, it seems that many organizations don’t have a detailed vision when it comes to hybrid work. A McKinsey study showed that, while nine out of ten executives envision a hybrid model going forward, 68% have no detailed plan in place yet. This leaves workers uneasy, not knowing if they will be able to work the way they want to. And for Gen Z, who definitely wants to stay hybrid, that could be a major issue.

The new workforce values their mental health

Perhaps going hand-in-hand with Gen Z’s tendency to favor hybrid working is the fact that they focus more on their mental health than previous generations and are more likely to report these concerns. According to the American Psychological Association, Gen-Z is significantly more likely (27 percent) than other generations, including millennials and Gen Xers, to report their mental health as fair or poor. Our research showed that two-thirds of respondents said that a hybrid workplace would benefit their mental health and wellness.

Organizations are increasingly under pressure to deliver mental health benefits to employees. Investing in health and wellness initiatives like fitness stipends or meditation app subscriptions for their employees can help reduce overall costs, prevent burnout and improve workplace morale.

What leaders must do

With all this in mind, the top priority for businesses is to implement a hybrid workplace structure where team members can feel satisfied with their work-life balance and leaders will have support from their teams. In order to create an attractive remote working environment and draw in Gen-Z hires, employers must be willing to adapt and grow with their employees.

Nick Iovacchini is the co-founder of KettleSpace — they provide hybrid workplace tech to some of the largest companies in the US.

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