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Hybrid work flexibility the leading driver underpinning successful work experiences

Study finds that while just over half of CEOs strongly believe their organisation is recognised as an employer of choice, less than half of firms provide employees with the technology they need for hybrid work

Three years after the Covid-19 pandemic changed the shape of working life, firms are implementing more structured approaches to work. But while 90% of businesses see the enablement of hybrid and remote work as having a positive impact on their bottom line, less than half believe their employees have access to the technology they need to work well both at home and in the offices, according to a study from NTT.

The leading IT infrastructure and services company’s 2023 Global employee experience trends report explored how current workplace trends, such as hybrid work and AI, are influencing employee experience (EX) strategies and the correlation between EX and business performance.

The study found that approximately 56% of hybrid workers spend half the work week at the office. Yet with hybrid work models still favourable and recognised by the majority of business leaders as fundamental to positive EX, the study warned that businesses need to ensure they are providing employees with the technologies they need to work effectively, regardless of location.

This, said NTT, showed how the EX-narrative has evolved over the past several years. The company added that it was a business-wide priority to proactively ensure employees are empowered and have the right technologies in place to feel connected and drive efficiency.

Top-performing companies that increased their IT spend and invested in EX technology were found to be 56% more likely than underperformers to report improved business growth due to improvements to EX, and 89% more likely than all others to have significantly increased employee satisfaction.

In addition to hybrid work, EX was revealed in the survey as being affected by the rise in AI, with the emerging technology voted as the top enabler of future customer experience (CX) and EX strategies, and AI interfaces rising to become the norm for four-fifths of firms within the next 12 months. Despite this, 87% of firms indicated that human-led support remains a critical element in their customer engagement.

“NTT’s report findings are reflective of today’s dynamic work landscape, including a more permanent era of hybrid work and focus on employee engagement,” said Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics, assessing trends revealed by the report.

“The adoption of AI is growing, driven by the real business outcomes revolutionary AI technologies are bringing. Organisations are seeking guidance on how to harness all that AI has to offer to succeed in dominating their markets while supporting employee fulfilment and well-being.”

Amit Dhingra, executive vice-president of network services at NTT, added:“The disconnect between what employees need and what businesses provide them with is still too large. Too often, we see hybrid working strategies focusing on one type of working style, despite employees wanting the flexibility to work in a way that suits them.

“It was positive to see that 73% of organisations agree that hybrid and remote working has led to their investment in mobility over the past two years to promote flexibility, but more still needs to be done to reduce the disconnect and improve EX. This is especially true given that satisfied and engaged employees are 66% more likely to deliver exceptional customer service.”

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