Over the next months, many companies in the U.S. will begin the process of returning to the office. But offices won’t look like they did before COVID-19. Our research firm, Forrester, projects that 70% of companies will pivot to a “work-from-anywhere,” hybrid work model in which at least a selection of employees can work anywhere at least two days a week, while spending the remaining days in an office.
Even reluctant leaders will consent to these changes to capture an array of business benefits: lower talent attrition and better recruitment successes driven by the improved employee experience of hybrid work, for example.
The benefits of anywhere work may appear small at first but act like compound interest that accrues over time. Let’s say that you don’t offer some form of flexible, hybrid work. Your employee attrition rate increases and your Glassdoor ratings fall. And you now have trouble recruiting because other employers offer a better employee experience with hybrid. None of this leads to an immediate meltdown, but slowly, over a period of a couple of years, your organization’s talent base will diminish.
And yet, if not offering hybrid work can hurt your company, so, too, can jumping deeper into anywhere work than your company is ready for. While organizations adapted heroically during the involuntary work-from-home period, results were uneven; a study in Harvard Business Review showed that well-run companies saw productivity gains but that poorly run companies saw declines.