5 Key Trends Leaders Need to Understand to Get Hybrid Right

5 Key Trends Leaders Need to Understand to Get Hybrid Right

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1. Employees have different priorities when it comes to work and life

When it comes to work, employees are redefining their “worth it” equation: what they want from work and what they’re willing to give in return.  Compared to before the pandemic, 47% of employees are more likely to put family and personal life over work. And 53% are more likely to prioritize their health and well-being — that figure rises to 55% for 

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1. Employees have different priorities when it comes to work and life

parents and 56% for women. These aren’t empty words — the Great Reshuffle is far from over. Fifty-two percent of Gen Z and Millennials are considering changing employers this year (up 3% year-over-year), and 18% of all respondents quit their job in the past 12 months, with well-being, mental health, work-life balance, and lack of flexible work hours cited as top reasons.

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2. Managers feel wedged between leadership and employee expectations

As the people closest to the unique needs of employees, managers have a key role. However, they’re feeling stuck between new employee expectations and leaders’ decisions.  More than half of the managers we surveyed (54%) feel their leadership is out of touch with employees.

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2. Managers feel wedged between leadership and employee expectations

Case in point: Our 2021 study told us 73% of employees want flexible work options to stick around long term. But this year, 50% of leaders say they either require or plan to require employees to be in the office full time.

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3. Leaders need to make the office worth the commute

We used to equate the office with work, but now that we’ve proved work can happen from just about anywhere, what role does the office play?  Many organizations have been clear in encouraging employees to come back in, but what’s been less clear is the why. If leaders don’t get this right, they’re going to risk employees giving up on the notion of hybrid completely.

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3. Leaders need to make the office worth the commute

In fact, 51% of employees who are currently working in a hybrid model say they’re considering going fully remote in the year ahead.  It seems after a year of an almost-hybrid model, they’re just not convinced hybrid can work for them. Thirty-eight percent of them say their greatest challenge is knowing when or why to come into the 

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3. Leaders need to make the office worth the commute

office, and only 28% of them have a team agreement that answers those fundamental questions.

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4. Flexible work doesn’t have to mean “always on.”

Many of us have felt like we’ve been working more than ever since early 2020, and our data proves it.  Looking at anonymized productivity patterns in Microsoft 365, we’ve seen a steady uptick in the average workday span (+13%), after-hours and weekend work (+28%, +14%, respectively), time in meetings (+252%), and chats 

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4. Flexible work doesn’t have to mean “always on.”

sent (+32%). It’s a rising tide that’s not sustainable. However, there are promising signs that employees are being more intentional with their time and reshaping their workdays. Compared to last year, meetings start later on Mondays and wrap earlier on Fridays, and fewer meetings take place during the lunch hour.

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4. Flexible work doesn’t have to mean “always on.”

People are taking much-needed time off, with a 10% year-over-year increase in out-of-office calendar blocks.  Employees are also finding ways to recreate the value of short hallway conversations, with a rise in 15-minute ad-hoc calls, which now make up about 60% of all Teams meetings.

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5. Rebuilding social capital looks different in a hybrid world

We’ve all felt the effects of remote work on our workplace relationships, and our data reinforces it.  While 58% of hybrid employees have been able to maintain thriving relationships with their direct teams over the past year, only half of those who are fully remote can say the same, and even fewer (42%) have a strong relationship with those outside 

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5. Rebuilding social capital looks different in a hybrid world

of their immediate team. Newly onboarded employees also stand out as a group who will need more support: They have weaker workplace relationships, and 56% say they’re likely to consider changing jobs in the year ahead.

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