The last year has been challenging for both employers and employees. Workers have faced record levels of burnout and a spiralling cost of living while companies continue to battle historic labour shortages.
So could hybrid work help improve the situation?
New research from Glassdoor, the worldwide leader on insights about jobs and companies, examined more than 527,000 reviews by UK workers to shed light on how hybrid work impacts employees and their job hunting behaviour.
The findings show that hybrid-discussing workers are significantly more satisfied in their roles than their non-hybrid counterparts. So much so that they are nearly half as likely to look for a new role as other employees.
And ‘hybrid’ is proving to be the hot topic amongst employees, with overall mentions of the word growing 17 times year-on-year (up over 1600%). Furthermore, positive discussion of ‘hybrid’ has skyrocketed 3682 percent since the pandemic began in 2020.
When it comes to the quality of workplace experiences, reviews left anonymously by employees on Glassdoor reveal that hybrid-reviewing workers rated their company significantly higher for every workplace factor than non-hybrid workers, indicating greater satisfaction in their role. And work-life balance is the starkest difference for employees who mention ‘hybrid’, rating this 4.4 out of 5 versus 3.8 for those who don’t.
The research also found that although both 1 in 4 hybrid and non-hybrid workers click on job ads within a week of leaving a review on Glassdoor, those who do not mention hybrid working are nearly twice as likely to start job applications. In total, 2.4 percent of hybrid employees applied to a new job within a week of leaving their review, versus 4.3 percent of other employees – a 43 percent difference.
While companies can’t stop employees from looking for new opportunities, the research indicates that employers who offer their staff a good hybrid working experience are likely to have less turnover.
In addition to analysis of its data, Glassdoor surveyed 2,000 UK office workers to further understand the impact of successful hybrid working patterns on employees.
It is clear that the majority find flexible working a positive experience, with nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of hybrid workers in full-time employment saying they are happy with their arrangements.
But what do workers see as the main benefits of flexible working? Over half (58 percent) said they were more productive and 63 percent were generally happier. Six in 10 (64 percent) hybrid employees report improved work-life balance and greater autonomy over their work (74 percent) while also being able to better attend to personal responsibilities such as caring for children or life-admin (66 percent). Furthermore, 1 in 2 (49 percent) said they were less likely to look for a job because of the flexibility to switch between home and their workplace.
With inflation hitting a 40-year high, 6 in 10 (58 percent) hybrid workers say flexible working has helped them to manage the increased cost of living. In comparison, 1 in 4 office workers (23 percent) say commuting has made it harder to cope with the cost of living.
However, there are downsides to hybrid working that emphasise the importance of putting good underlying policies in place. Four in 10 (43 percent) hybrid workers have found it harder to connect to their colleagues, struggled to learn from their peers (41 percent) or found it challenging to build a relationship with their manager or senior colleagues (41 percent). A third (35 percent) of hybrid workers also feel that their working arrangement has stunted their progression.
Glassdoor’s UK economist, Lauren Thomas, said, “In today’s tight labour market where there are record levels of job vacancies and unemployment is low, employees are the driving force for changing how we work.
“While some companies may be reluctant to allow hybrid working, Glassdoor’s research shows that workers are generally happier, more productive and less likely to consider leaving if they are allowed autonomy and flexibility over their working pattern.
“However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the world of work post-pandemic. Companies need to introduce proper hybrid working policies for those who are at the start of their career, or are not managers, to continue to learn, flourish and make connections at work. The key to successful hybrid working is creating a workplace community and culture that supports employees professionally and personally.”