3 New Studies End Debate Over Effectiveness Of Hybrid And Remote Work – Forbes

The debate over remote and hybrid work continues to grow. Some companies resisted, and iron-fisted leaders pulled the old hat trick (“It’s your job to work hard and deal with stress, so grin and bear it.”), arguing against the concept of remote work. Others cited productivity concerns and tactical problems that limited a supervisor’s ability to observe and coach employees. A handful of business leaders pushed back. Josh Feast, CEO of Cognito Corporation, argued that supervisors could find innovative ways to connect with and manage workers from afar “by ensuring their colleagues feel heard and know they are not alone. Exhibiting heightened sensitivity to emotional intelligence—particularly in a time where physical isolation has become a necessity—is vital.” Alice Hricak, managing principal of corporate interiors at Perkins and Will, said working from home showcases new approaches and debunks old ideas that it leads to low productivity, less visibility and little opportunity for collaboration.

What Does The Scientific Data Show?

To resolve the debate, it’s time to go beyond subjective opinion and look at the objective science. David Powell, president of Prodoscore said their data showed that if an employee was highly productive in-office, they’ll be productive at home; if an employee slacked off at the office, they’ll do the same a home. “After evaluating over 105 million data points from 30,000 U.S.-based Prodoscore users, we discovered a five percent increase in productivity during the pandemic work from home period,” he said. “Although, as we know, any variant of the Covid-19 virus is unpredictable, employee productivity is not.”

Two studies in early 2022 validated the views of remote/hybrid work advocates. Research from Owl Labs found that remote and hybrid employees were 22% happier than workers in an onsite office environment and stayed in their jobs longer. Plus, remote workers had less stress, more focus and were more productive than when they toiled in the office. Working from home led to better work/life balance and was more beneficial for the physical and mental well-being of employees.

A study from Ergotron sampled 1,000 full-time workers. It found that as workers become more acclimated to hybrid and remote office environments since the onset of Covid-19, the hybrid workplace model has empowered employees to reclaim physical health, and they are seeing mental health benefits, too. A total of 56% of employees cited mental health improvements, better work-life balance and more physical activity. Key highlights from the study include:

  • Job Satisfaction. Continuing to embrace flexibility is essential. Most employees (88%) agree that the flexibility to work from home or the office has increased their job satisfaction.
  • Physical health.The hybrid workplace has empowered employees to reclaim physical health. Three-quarters of respondents (75%) stated that they move more frequently and have a more active work style when working remotely.
  • Work-life balance. Three quarters of respondents say their work-life balance has improved as a result of hybrid or remote working. Even though some employees are dedicating more time to their work, if they’re able to fit it in and around other aspects of their lives, they say they feel the positive effects of a better work-life balance.
  • Comfortable work environments. Of the workers surveyed, 62% said improved workspaces with comfortable, ergonomic furniture are important and improve company culture. 
  • Wellness programs. More than three-quarters of respondents (76%) revealed that their employers implemented wellness programs to support mental and physical health, with 30% of those being brand new since the onset of the pandemic.

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“Promoting health and wellness among employees can improve well-being and productivity,” said Chad Severson, CEO of Ergotron. “Over the past two years, employees have adapted to the hybrid and remote work landscape—and they now prefer it. As employers look to attract and retain talent, focusing on practices that promote well-being and help employees thrive wherever they work will be critical.”

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