Nobody has a definitive fix on what the modern work environment will look like in the post-Covid new normal, but most would agree that firms will need to implement a hybrid model of working. This is an especially strong desire among Gen Z workers, but there is some push back against hybrid working from some employers, a survey from Kettle has found.
In its study on Gen-Z and the future of the workplace in the era of the coronavirus, the workspace technology company commissioned a survey of more than 1,000 US-based Gen-Z employees who’ve recently entered the workforce.
While nearly 70% said they would select an employer who offered a hybrid model over one who didn’t, almost half (47%) of Gen-Z’s said if their employer mandated in-person work and didn’t provide hybrid or remote options, they would seek employment elsewhere. Two-thirds of respondents (67%) said a hybrid workplace would benefit mental health and wellness.
Yet the survey also unearthed a number of challenges regarding hybrid work. Top among these were communication between remote and in-person employees (28%), loss of company culture (14%) and ensuring remote employees are treated the same as in-person employees (13%). Worryingly, 53% of respondents felt that their employers were not prepared to implement hybrid models.
“Beyond flexibility and choice, hybrid work helps employers deliver on several key Gen-Z values,” said Nick Iovacchini, CEO and co-founder of Kettle commenting on the research.
“Work-life balance is a top incentive when looking for a job, as well as more inclusive and environmentally conscious companies. A hybrid workplace checks all of these boxes, allowing for more diversity in hiring while helping to reduce a company’s carbon footprint and optimise their use of physical space.”
Another issue revealed was that social isolation is a top challenge in remote work. In the study, Kettle found the biggest challenges that may come with working from home were social isolation (49%), distractions in the home such as childcare and pets (45%), difficulties collaborating with team members (39%) and lack of visibility by upper management leading to a fear of not being promoted (37%).
The company said that months of working from home has confirmed that although employees enjoy the flexibility, they may have feelings of social isolation. It added that social isolation can be detrimental to mental health, so having the option to work in an office or a third workplace, such as a cafe or hotel lobby, can eliminate feelings of isolation and provide a convenient option for interaction with others in a creative space
“We’ve seen how a hybrid workplace helps to reduce stress levels, boost productivity and encourage a work-life balance. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health and hybrid helps to cut down on stressors making it a win-win for everyone,” Iovacchini added.
“It’s critical that leaders are enabled to plan and know who is located where and when. With a proper framework and goals in place, leaders and teams can ensure there’s continuity between meetings on Zoom, in person, or across mixed modalities. With this structure, team members can feel satisfied with their work-life balance and leaders will have support from their teams.”
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