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Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.
The pandemic created a whirlwind of challenges for leaders, including how to figure out the best way for their employees to work. After more than two years, the hybrid approach has emerged as a leading model - but not everyone is a fan.
Hybrid working models were seen as beneficial in providing employees with a better work-life balance, increased productivity and improved relationships with colleagues. They were also seen as a way to give each employee the flexibility to work in the way that was best for them — some people still wanted to go into the office, while others did not.
While this may seem like an ideal setup, a global report from TINYPulse, an employee-engagement software company, found that 80 per cent of human resources executives report that hybrid work is exhausting for employees. It also says workers reported that hybrid work is more emotionally draining than working fully remote, and more taxing than working in the office full-time.
However, according to a McKinsey & Co. report, many executives believe hybrid work will continue to gain traction — but the majority don’t have a strategy or alignment among leadership on how to carry it out permanently. That may be one of the big reasons why the approach is faltering and why some executives are opposing this way of working outright.
On June 23, the chief executive officer of Yelp, Jeremy Stoppelman, announced the company would move to a fully remote work model instead of hybrid, citing the underutilization of office spaces as one of the biggest indicators that employees preferred remote work. They also took into account the results from employee surveys.
“We learned that we could not only effectively operate our business as a distributed remote workplace, but that our people could thrive and be just as, if not more, productive while remote,” he wrote on the company blog.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Mr. Stoppelman referred to hybrid work as “hell” and “the worst of both worlds.” Employees are often commuting to an office with few co-workers present, are forced to live in expensive cities if they want to visit an office, and companies are missing out on savings and talent, he said.
At the other end of the spectrum, Tesla boss Elon Musk has demanded a return to the office.
“Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla. This is less than we ask of factory workers,” Mr. Musk wrote in a leaked e-mail.
In a second e-mail, Mr. Musk said the more senior people are in the organization, the more important it is that their presence is felt in the office.
While other leaders may take a different approach to announcing a change, Mr. Musk is not alone in his preferences. New research from Microsoft shows that half of leaders say their company already requires or is planning to require employees to return to in-person work full-time in the next year.
What I’m reading around the web
- The party is permanently over at Airbnb. The company, which introduced a temporary global ban on parties and events in August, 2020, has decided to make the decision permanent. Since then, the company has seen a 44-per-cent year-over-year drop in the rate of party reports.
- Netflix is experimenting with a new release strategy that leans into the idea that we no longer want to, or need to, binge-watch shows. This strategy, which mirrors a more traditional release schedule, may help boost their declining subscriber retention rates.
- Imagine a city where all of the buses were free. That’s exactly what has happened in Alexandria, Va., home to nearly 160,000 people. Read how the pandemic was the catalyst for change and how one of the least-loved forms of transit became beloved.
- The remote work world has created a new kind of worker. The FBI is warning that there has been an uptick in cases where “deep fakes” — a type of artificial intelligence used to create convincing images, audio and video hoaxes — and other stolen personal information are being used to apply to jobs in the United States.
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