08/18/2023 • 4 min read

Our Hybrid Workplace Study Findings

We surveyed North American organizations to learn about their hybrid policies

by Haworth, Inc.

At Haworth, we focus on how organizations, their facilities, and their people intersect. We’ve heard plenty of questions from our clients: How do we optimize employee engagement when people work in multiple locations? How can we build spaces that draw people into the office and support different workstyles? How are people best supported in a hybrid work environment?

Leaders want to ensure they’re doing what’s best for their organizations and employees. Creating hybrid work policies involves many considerations, and people want to make evidence-based decisions. Haworth conducted a comprehensive study into the state of hybrid work in North America.

Our team produced 6 key findings:

  1. Hybrid Work is the New Normal
  2. Focus on Human Performance
  3. There’s Still Uncertainty
  4. Acoustics Matter
  5. Tech Can Make or Break Hybrid Work
  6. Location Has an Impact

Hearing the feedback and insights from customers and valued partners we work with regularly was impactful.  We are reassured of the validity of these findings as we look to other external research experts that have similar findings.

Hybrid Work is the New Normal

Hybrid policies vary from organization to organization. Seventy-nine percent of participants in our study already have hybrid work policies, and 8% more are considering a future policy for hybrid work. Policies vary by organization, but 3 mandatory in-office days per week is the most common. Allowing employees to come into the office without specific time requirements is the second most popular approach.

Focus on Human Performance

Companies are motivated to recruit and retain employees, and employee preference is the main reason why leaders have implemented hybrid work.

A survey by The Conference Board found similar results. Nearly half of CEOs across the globe promote the hybrid work model to attract, recruit, and retain employees. According to a CBRE survey, more than 70% of US hybrid workers claim that trust in their employer is stronger than it was pre-pandemic.

Employees really push for hybrid work policies. They want flexibility, but they also want their space to support their performance.

There’s Still Uncertainty

Many organizations are still testing hybrid policies, and top leadership has been driving those decisions: 73% of executive or organizational decision makers are determining how to implement hybrid work. There has been flexibility: 56% have changed their plan since January 2022.

But uncertainty can be frustrating. In Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index, “38% of hybrid employees say their biggest challenge is knowing when and why to come to the office.” Those employees want different policies, as “40% of employees say they want full autonomy to come and go at will, and 60% want more structure and set parameters/expectations.” Most just want clear communication from their leadership.

Acoustics Matter

Acoustics have a significant impact on employee experience. Forty-eight percent of organizations reported that acoustic distractions were an issue in their work environment. Virtual meetings may work well for remote workers, but having them at your desk can distract your coworkers. Open offices don’t offer much privacy for meetings either.

A JLL study found that acoustics is the most underdelivered aspect of the human experience at the workplace. Once distracted, an employee may need up to 25 minutes to regain focus.  Constant distractions make it hard to get work done.

Tech Can Make or Break Hybrid Work

It's frustrating if you don’t have the right tools to do your job. Technology is critical to success in the hybrid workplace, and most organizations have made updates: 81% upgraded video meeting technology, 47% brought in monitors for remote presentations, and 26% have added smart whiteboard. Others have implemented sensors and room booking software.

According to Leesman, “Hybrid working can only work if the necessary technology infrastructure is in place to support the flow of work across different locations and, possibly, time zones.” Their data shows that technology isn’t the biggest obstacle for at-home work, as 93% of employees say they have the software applications and programs they need, and 87% are satisfied with remote access to files and networks.

Work from Anywhere

Work happens within an ecosystem of three physical locations: office, home, and third places. Find out how the role of the office has changed to become the epicenter of work— with a variety of flexible spaces and technology that support collaboration, connection, culture, and well-being to empower a hybrid workforce.

Location Has an Impact

Each organization’s unique offices and locations affect their hybrid work models. In our customer conversations with people across North America, we heard how they’ve adjusted their policies based on where their people work.

When asked what makes a quality office environment, CBRE study respondents valued shorter commute times, environmental features (access to daylight, acoustics, air quality), improved technology in the office (personalized lighting system, contactless entry), and availability of car parking.

Looking toward the Future of Hybrid Work

Organizations are adjusting their hybrid policies. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to hybrid work, and leaders still have questions about the best policies for their employees. Hybrid work is here to stay, and Haworth is keeping our finger on the pulse of workplace trends through our research.

Hybrid Work Research Findings

Download our Insights for Leaders, an overview of our Hybrid Research Workplace Study


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