The IT, cybersecurity, and tech world has been a vanguard of remote and hybrid work in the past. Now, the rest of the working world is catching up – and that means tech teams will need to be even more competitive to stay ahead of the curve.
For the latest insights on the current state (and future) of hybrid work, the experts at Gallup conducted a study on today’s hybrid work policies. Surveying over 8,000 remote-capable employees in the U.S., Gallup synthesized the responses into five key areas, which are essential reading for any organization looking for a competitive hybrid edge heading into 2023.
- How many days per week are hybrid employees working on-site and how many do they prefer?
Gallup asked employees about their current hybrid policies, and there’s not currently one overwhelming favorite schedule, either in practice or in preference. Current practices are split almost evenly three ways, with roughly one-third of employees reporting spending one day on site, two or three days on site, or four days on site per week. In terms of preference, there’s one clear answer as to what they don’t want: only 12% of prefer being in the office four days per week. The other 88% of workers are pretty evenly split between preferring one, two, or three days, with two days earning the highest percentage (29%) by a few points.
- Which days of the week are most popular for on-site work?
If your IT team needs someone in the office at all times, it’s important to understand how employees prefer to schedule their hybrid days. Gallup’s survey found – perhaps unsurprisingly – that workers prefer not to be in-office on Mondays and Fridays and are more likely to choose to work on-site on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays when they’re given the choice. This is one area where employers and employees are largely in sync, so care will need to be taken in making schedules fair for those oddball days and shifts.
- How many days per week on-site are optimal?
For most roles, Gallup found that two or three days on-site each week produces the best results, but that can vary significantly depending on how independent or collaborative the individual roles or teams are. For those in fairly independent roles, two or three days of in-person work is perfectly fine, but for roles where more collaboration is crucial, employee engagement was clearly found to be higher when they worked three days in the office.
In the highly competitive world of IT and cybersecurity, however, it’s critical to note one thing. When in-person work is required for a set number of days per week, as part of policies implemented from higher up, the benefit to engagement and satisfaction vanishes.
- Which hybrid work policies are being implemented?
Hybrid work itself is ubiquitous, but there’s no “right” way to implement it. For instance, 29% of employees report being scheduled for specific on-site days of the week, while 28% say they’re required to work a minimum number of days in person but can choose which days for themselves. Meanwhile, 43% say their company has not implemented any “universal” on-site requirements. In general, though, more flexibility seems to correspond with a more positive response from employees: 60% of employees prefer not having a universal schedule policy for in-person days, and engagement rates are higher among those.
- Who should set hybrid work policies?
IT and cybersecurity have an incredibly high level of competition for top talent, and giving employees more control over their own scheduling might be one way to stand out. 46% of employees report being engaged at work when the scheduling is left up to their own teams, yet only 13% say that arrangement is in place at their companies. 37% also said that their scheduling is up to them, while 26% said policy is set by top leadership and 24% by team managers.
By Daniel Midoneck