Employees want more freedom over work, says Jabra survey

Research by Jabra shows 60% of employees prefer hybrid work but only 20% can choose where they work as return to the office gathers pace post pandemic

Employees with full say over where they work are happier in their job, yet only one in five are able to do so, according to survey by Jabra.

Jabra’s 2022 edition of the Hybrid Ways of Working Global Report surveyed 2,800 knowledge workers across six countries including the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, and India.

The survey says 60% prefer hybrid working but only 39% are able to divide their time between home and office. Reasons for preferring a hybrid approach include wellbeing, happiness and increased productivity.

As more organisations return to office-based working, employers need to be mindful of the benefits employees feel they get from having more flexibility.

The survey shows that 53% of employees who have full freedom to choose where they work are currently choosing a hybrid model.

Interestingly, employees with full control over when and where they work report a higher work experience score. Globally, Gen Z and Millennials are more reluctant to work full time in the office, with only 19% reportedly preferring that option, compared to 26% of Gen X and 30% of Boomers.

Office redesigns must be about more than physical spaces and consider virtual technology

Organisations that are redesigning offices for collaboration should recongnise that all workers would prefer a dedicated personal space in the office, and would feel less committed to the company if this was not the case.

Jabra’s research also shows that 87% of meetings are either fully virtual or hybrid, with only 13% happening fully in person. Leaders therefore need to think carefully about how virtual collaboration technologies can help employees feel a sense of belonging.

The rise of the “anywhere office”

Gen Z represents a generation not only of digital natives, but also of hybrid natives. Many began their professional career during the pandemic, so remote and hybrid work is all they’ve ever known. As such, 64% of Gen Z globally consider their “office” to be their laptop, headset, and wherever they can get a strong internet connection. This highlights the growing importance of technology in defining the employee experience.

These hybrid natives are also twice as likely as Millennials, and almost three times as likely as Gen X, to say that their usual workspace is co-working space, café, or library. As Gen Z continues to take up a larger proportion of the workforce, organisations must understand these key generational differences in location preferences in order to attract the best talent and thrive in a work-from-anywhere future.

“We’re two years into the greatest work experiment of all time,” says Holger Reisinger, SVP at Jabra.

“What began as a necessary shift to remote work has evolved into a long-term exploration of hybrid ways of working. As we enter the third year of this new era of work, we must think about hybrid work and our physical working spaces differently to retain and attract talent. 

“Leaders need to take a step back to ask, listen, and understand what employees truly need to enhance their hybrid work experience. Critically, we need to find a way to create a sense of belonging to a workplace that is virtual first. Give employees the power to choose their desired working space and offer them the technology, tools, and support to be productive no matter their environment. Let’s move beyond thinking solely in terms of WFH or WFO to a work-from-anywhere future.”

 

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