Preparing for a New Era: The Evolution of Hybrid Work in 2023 and Beyond

Portrait of successful businesswoman using laptop in cafe while working remotely

Companies all over the world are calling for their team members to come back into the office, but employees are sticking to their guns in 2023 and beyond. Their answer is a firm “thanks, but no thanks.” Such sentiment is particularly true among Gen Z and Millennial hybrid workers. The two demographics will make up 75% of our workforce by 2030. Clearly, there’s no denying that remote work will be part of how we do business going forward!

For those organizations considering whether to maintain their current workplace and hiring strategies or to switch up their communication and collaboration solutions, we have compiled some noteworthy facts on hybrid-working models:

Flexibility is Key to Successful Hybrid Workers

While more employees work onsite than previously, 83% of workers around the world now work, at least partially, remotely. Not only that, work-life satisfaction has plummeted by 4% since last year. The result is depleted energy brought to the office from employees’ personal lives. Therefore, it is not difficult to understand why a mere 29% of workers now trust their company’s leaders have their best interests at heart. It’s also no wonder that hybrid workers now spend an average of 8 hours per week juggling their commitments both inside and outside the office.

Employers must understand the hybrid demands of their employees if they want to create a cohesive team. 71% of hybrid workers state that flexible working will be essential to them moving forward. As a result, companies need to provide hybrid options that enable hybrid workers to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

According to a recent survey conducted by Cosmopolitan, Gen Z workers are prioritizing hybrid workplace flexibility (68% of millennials agree) over full-time in-person or remote work. We now know mental health and personal well-being are important in job satisfaction. A work-life balance is essential for this demographic when determining job satisfaction. Though only 24% favor the former option, 21% prefer permanent remote employment as their ideal working arrangement.

Gen Z workers are interested in working. They just place less emphasis on their work being a part of who they are. They have priorities outside of the workplace; viewing their jobs as just something they do. Additionally, they are not looking at their current job as a career they will still be working at in the years to come.

Third Place Isn’t Where You Think it Is

Younger generations of workers (Gen Z and millennials) are much more open-minded about their workplaces than Gen Xers or boomers. While only two-thirds of the former embraced working from home, 90% of the latter expressed a preference for it. To them, work locations aren’t restricted to office settings and homes. These workers find value in “third places” such as coffee shops and coworking spaces that give alternative experiences.

Gen Z workers are twice as likely to favor physical meetings over virtual ones than their Boomer counterparts. 31% of them prefer an office setting and half of them choose a third place. As such, companies would be wise to factor these statistics into the decision-making process when exploring new office locations and the technology they will require–especially if that location is surrounded by various third places for employees to take advantage of during the workday.

It’s Time to Embrace AI

Workers deem that it is pivotal for success to leverage technologies such as AI and automation within the next three to five years. In the hybrid age, hybrid workers will be able to maintain a balance between their office and home life, enabling them to set their own boundaries and find a schedule that works for them. Such an approach also allows organizations to tap into a larger talent pool since hybrid work provides access to remote employees from all over the world.

According to a report from IBM, we are now at a pivotal moment for artificial intelligence (AI) adoption and its implications on businesses and society worldwide. The global AI adoption rate has grown to 35%, representing an increase of four percentage points from the previous year. Freelancers, employees, managers, and all other professionals can benefit from using AI to help increase productivity and streamline tasks. To make the process easier, we have created a list of different AI tools that can be incorporated into any work life.

The Times, They Are A-Changin’

A Gallup survey of 70 million employees revealed that only 6% would like to work entirely in-office from now on, while 34% prefer a permanent role where they can work remotely. This is according to the Gallup report titled “Returning to the Office: The Current, Preferred, and Future State of Remote Work”. We can only speculate if those who are passionate about being able to work remotely for extended periods of time will welcome the projected nearly tripling of permanent remote workers by 2023.

Why does it matter where you work? Back in the day, when punching the clock and grumbling about your job was the norm, workers more often than not had to show up at work and put on a happy face. But in today’s world of business, employees that don’t work in their ideal surroundings have a notable decrease in employee engagement, along with higher exhaustion and the urge to leave. Without being able to operate or live optimally, they are unable to perform at their peak capacity. Maybe it’s not a new problem, but in today’s new reality, workplace satisfaction plays a vital role.

Attaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for all generations: Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. 62% of the youngest generation (Gen Z) prioritize “a fun, positive social atmosphere at work” over their salary needs – something that resonates with Millennials too who anticipate organizations to ensure they are enabled to create this delicate equilibrium. Together, these groups recognize its importance in order to thrive both inside and outside of the office walls.

Reclaiming My Time

Respondents cite avoiding the commute as a main cause for wanting to stay remote or hybrid. According to the American Time Use Survey, switching over to remote work during this pandemic period, freed up an enormous 60 million hours of time that would usually be spent commuting back and forth from workplaces. The evidence shows that working from home has encouraged people to start their work day earlier, making use of the time they would have spent commuting. However, workers’ total paid work hours decreased and were allocated toward activities unrelated to their job.

With that newfound time, employees are putting a higher priority on other activities. Remote workers are now more deliberately carving out time for these activities each day, and here is an overview of how much their daily participation has increased:

    • Getting some extra rest. (Hours spent sleeping are up by about one hour)
    • At-home leisure activities. (Increased by more than two hours)
    • Nonmarket labor such as home upkeep, maintenance, and repairs, in addition to meal preparation, are all essential tasks that can be classified as nonmarket work. (Up by 10 out of the house and 36 minutes at home)

    It’s A Different World

    According to a study by Owl Labs, remote and hybrid workers experience 22% more job satisfaction than those who work in-office full-time. What’s more: the same survey revealed that these individuals feel 62% more productive while working remotely — and tend to remain employed longer than their on-site colleagues.

    It appears hybrid work is here to stay, as Gen Z and millennial workers are demanding more flexibility in the workplace. Companies have noticed this shift, with many opting for hybrid work models that allow employees to work from home part-time while still having access to an office environment when needed. This not only offers hybrid workers more freedom but also enables companies to reduce overhead costs associated with office space.

    In the modern world, there are no longer two kinds of employees: those who work remotely and those who come to an office. Employees can now choose how, when, and where they want to do their job – whether it is collaborating in person or honing into a project at home or while traveling from a cafe. It may be hard for employers to make this type of transition but its rewards are long-lasting; increased employee satisfaction, productivity levels that skyrocket and staff retention rates will soar! Ultimately hybrid working benefits everyone involved.

    The Future is Now

    The hybrid work model is the future of work, and it’s time for employers to embrace this shift by developing hybrid-friendly policies that meet their employees’ needs. By adapting to hybrid workplace structures, companies can benefit from increased job satisfaction, productivity, and staff retention rates.

    If you are searching for an all-in-one solution to keep hybrid workers happy and productive – including hybrid or remote contact center agents, you need the tools that Carolina Digital Phone provides. From call queues, time of day call routing, and robust call center analytics, you’ll find a complete suite of tools to keep your hybrid workers content no matter where they are working. Contact Carolina Digital Phone today at (336) 544-4000 to learn more!