Employers: This is how you can maximize the productivity of your hybrid employees

by Ana Lopez

Opinions expressed by businessupdates.org contributors are their own.

A new study from the University of Birmingham has found that since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, managers have taken a more positive view of the benefits of remote working and flexible working. The survey surveyed 597 managers and found that 51.8% of them agreed that working from home improves employee concentration, 59.5% agreed it increased productivity and 62.8% agreed it motivation increases. In addition, an even higher proportion of managers, 76.5%, believe that flexible working generally increases productivity. Importantly, the survey also found that line managers were more likely to view more flexible working as a performance-enhancing tool (71.2%) than senior management (65.6%). This highlights the importance of educating senior management about the benefits of flexible working and the positive impact it can have on employee performance.

Managers now need to learn how to maximize hybrid work productivity by identifying what employees can most productively work on at home and what to focus on when they come to the office. Considering that approx three quarters of all U.S. companies are adopting a hybrid work model, optimizing this mix of employee activities is critical to both the success of individual companies and the U.S. economy as a whole. So what are the best practices in determining which tasks should hybrid employees work from home?

Some might say it’s simple: let the regular employees and their direct supervisors figure it out for themselves. However, afterwards Helping 21 organizations find successful hybrid work arrangements and writing one bestseller on this subjectIn my experience, employees often fail to maximize their productivity.

Related: Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, is right. New hires are less productive in a hybrid work environment – but why?

It’s not because they’re lazy or deliberately inefficient: it’s just that they’ve never learned how to do hybrid work effectively, and don’t know what they don’t know. Without guidance and professional development in this area, lower level supervisors and middle managers in particular eventually end up in hybrid environments with traditional office-oriented methods of working. The result is lower productivity, engagement, and morale, hurting both the bottom line and the employee welfare and career success.

The worst thing about coming to the office

One key filter to determine what to do where: To maximize productivity, hybrid work models must minimize employee travel time. Coming to the office should have a specific purpose that outweighs the significant costs – in time, money and stress – associated with the commute.

A survey by Hubble asked what respondents liked about working from home – 79% of respondents cited the lack of commuting, making it by far the most popular answer. According to a recent research by Zebra35% of Americans would be willing to take a pay cut in exchange for a shorter commute. Of those who would take a pay cut, 89% to 20% of their salary would be sacrificed.

Americans waste a lot of time commuting. The 2019 US Census data shows that about 10% of Americans commuted more than an hour, primarily those living in densely populated urban areas. On average, Americans commute half an hour there and back.

Moreover, commuting costs a lot of money. According to a Flexjobs analysisemployees can save up to $12,000 a year by working remotely full-time. This includes savings on transportation costs such as gasoline, car maintenance and parking, as well as the cost of buying professional clothing and eating out at expensive restaurants. While there may be some additional costs associated with working from home, such as higher utility bills and the cost of cooking at home, these costs are typically much less than the cost of commuting.

Peer reviewed research found it that longer travel times correlate with less job satisfaction, more stress and poorer mental health. And happy employees are productive employees, as discovered by economists at the University of Warwick. They did experiments to discover that a feeling of happiness made people about 12% more productive. Likewise one study led by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School at BT, a British telecommunications company, found similar results: happy employees were 13% more productive.

In addition to the productivity gains from happier employees who avoid commuting, those who work from home actually work longer hours. Research from the University of Chicago discovers that employees who work from home spend about a third of the time saved not commuting to their primary job.

What kind of work should hybrid employees do at home to increase hybrid work productivity?

The vast majority of the work most employees do is more effectively done from home anyway, even if commuting wasn’t an issue. For example, much of the work done by individual employees involves targeted tasks that they perform themselves. Research shows that workers are more focused while working from home, without the distraction of the office.

Another category of work that takes up a lot of employees’ time is asynchronous collaboration and communication. That could be sending emails, editing a Google Doc or Mural board, or doing virtual asynchronous brainstorming. A McKinsey analysis shows that email alone takes up an average of 28% of knowledge workers’ working time. There’s no reason to commute to the office just to read and send emails.

A third important activity that is best done from home is virtual meetings. In a survey from the collaboration software company Slack, employees report spending two hours each day in meetings. Stuart Templeton, the head of Slack in the UK, said employers risked turning their offices into “productivity killers” by letting their staff come in just to make video calls. calling is a terrible use of the office.”

Of course, for those employees who do not have a comfortable and quiet home office, it is important that employers provide an alternative workplace for these three tasks, either in an employer-owned office or in a coworking space. Yet the vast majority of employees prefer to work on such tasks at home.

Conclusion

The commute undermines employees’ happiness, making them less productive. In addition, employees are happy to spend a substantial portion of the time they save commuting to work at their primary job. Thus, to maximize the productivity of hybrid workers, all office activities must balance the significant burden of commuting. In addition, the vast majority of activities that hybrid employees do can be better done at home anyway, such as focused individual tasks, asynchronous communication and video conferencing. That means most hybrid employees should spend most of their time working remotely.

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