More needs to be done to make hybrid work more inclusive and flexible
1 June 2022 | News Summary
- 84.7% of Aussie employees say the ability to work from anywhere has made them happier
- 66.22% of employees felt that their productivity has enhanced
- 84.3% claimed to have saved money while WFH, and on average, save over $10,000 a year
- 6 in 10 employees say productivity and quality of work have improved
- Only 1 in 4 employees feel their organization is very prepared for hybrid working (26.3%)
Hybrid working has helped improve employee wellbeing, work-life balance, and performance across the world, according to a new global Cisco study. While organizations have benefited from higher employee productivity levels, more needs to be done to build an inclusive culture and fully embed hybrid work arrangements to boost readiness levels and enhance employee experience.
Cisco’s “Employees are ready for hybrid work, are you?“ study surveyed 1,042 Australian employees and found that six in 10 (62.7%) employees believe that quality of work has improved. A similar number (66.2%) felt that their productivity has enhanced. Three-quarters of employees (79.5%) also feel their role can now be performed just as successfully remotely as in the office. However, only one in four Australians think that their company is ‘very prepared’ for a hybrid work future (26.3%).
“It’s clear that hybrid working is here to stay, and for good reason as people and businesses see clear benefits across a range of factors – from improved employee wellbeing to better productivity and work performance.”
—James Comer, Cisco Australia and New Zealand’s head of people and communities
James Comer further stated: “However, more needs to be done to embrace the opportunities of a hybrid work future – particularly to include everyone, co-create employee engagement strategies, and deploying technology infrastructure to bring organisations to the right level of readiness for their people.”
“We think about hybrid work as a mindset, not just a concept, built on a culture high in trust that embraces inclusivity – no matter where you choose to work that day. That means considering how technology, people practices, wellbeing, culture and leadership capabilities are shifting in the new world of work. It’s this multi-faceted approach that is key to success in a hybrid world.”
“People are determining how they want to work moving forward, and from where. Our role is to enable them to work from anywhere seamlessly, so everyone has an equal and accessible seat at the table.”
Hybrid working has improved various aspects of employee wellbeing
The research examined the impact of hybrid working on five categories of wellbeing – emotional, financial, mental, physical, and social wellbeing – with over three-quarters of respondents (79.1%) saying hybrid and remote working has improved various aspects of their wellbeing.
Time away from the office has improved work-life balance for 82.4% of employees. The study reveals that while most people find hybrid working better for their life overall, Aussies are struggling with flexibility. Only 50.7% say more flexible work schedules are a factor in contributing to an improved work-life balance. As well, only 49.0% of people said that removing commuting times from their day helped with work-life balance.
Nearly two-thirds of people (66.3%) saved at least four hours per week when they worked from home, and over a quarter (24.2%) of respondents saved eight or more hours a week.
42.4% ranked ‘time with family, friends, and pets’ as the top choice for how they reinvested this extra time. This has enhanced social wellbeing, with a significant majority (68.2%) indicating that remote working has improved family relationships and 54.0% of respondents reporting strengthened relationships with friends.
At the time of the survey, over 84.3% of respondents felt that their financial wellbeing improved because they could save money while working remotely. The average saving has been a little over $216 per week, which works out to approximately $10,000 a year. A sizeable 83.1% ranked savings on fuel and/or commuting among their top three areas for savings, followed by decreased spending on food and entertainment at 78.6%. Close to nine in 10 (88%) believe they can maintain these savings over the long term, and 71.2% would take these savings into account when considering changing jobs.
In addition, over two-thirds (69.5%) of respondents believe their physical fitness has improved with remote working. Seven in 10 (76.4%) exercise more when they work remotely, with an average increase of 133 additional sessions a year. 65% say hybrid working has positively impacted their eating habits.
Given the improvement in various aspects of wellbeing, an overwhelming majority (84.7%) of employees say the ability to work from anywhere has made them happier. Only 41% report that hybrid working has helped decrease their stress levels – one of the lowest numbers in the world. Around a third (32.1%) find hybrid working more relaxing and the working environment less pressurized, while 29.7% of employees attribute the decreased stress to the greater flexibility offered by hybrid work arrangements.
However, not all reported positive experiences, with just under half (48.5%) believing micromanaging behaviours had increased with hybrid and remote working.
Strategic and tactical rethink for organizations to better prepare for hybrid working future
With the evident benefits of hybrid working, the study shows that nearly three-quarters (72%) want a combination of a remote and in-office hybrid working model in the future. Only 8.7% want a fully remote working experience, and 19.1% want to go to the office on a full-time basis.
However, there is uncertainty over how different work styles might impact inclusion and engagement. Over half of the respondents say that those who work fully remotely will have challenges engaging with their colleagues (57%) and company (58%), compared to those who toggle between remote and in-office work. Furthermore, the research finds that trust will be a critical element for organizations to manage – while 74% of respondents believe their manager trusts them to be productive when working remotely, a lower number (64%) believe their colleagues can be trusted to work remotely.
These findings underscore the need for an inclusive culture to be at the forefront of the hybrid working future. Seven in 10 (73%) say their company needs to rethink its culture and mindset to make hybrid work truly inclusive. Key changes to support the hybrid workforce that employees would like to see greater flexibility in defining work hours (58%) and greater emphasis on employee wellness and work-life balance (59%).
At the same time, technology will remain critical to enabling a future with increasingly diverse and distributed workforces. 57% of respondents believe having connectivity issues regularly is career-limiting for remote workers. As a result, 85% say networking infrastructure is essential for a seamless working from home experience, but only 72% say their company currently has the right networking infrastructure.
More than three-quarters (76%) also believe that cybersecurity is critical for making hybrid working safe, but less than two-thirds (66%) say their organization currently has the right capabilities and protocols in place. Only 64% think that all employees across their company understand the cyber risks involved with hybrid work, and 69% think business leaders are familiar with the risks.
Read the report:
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About the report
The COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the way people work. With hybrid and remote working becoming commonplace, the Cisco Employees are ready for hybrid work, are you? study uncovers insights into how employees have fared over the past two years and what is needed for employees and organizations to thrive in the hybrid working future. Commissioned by Cisco and conducted by Dynata, the research included 28,000 full-time employees from 27 countries, touching every continent other than Antarctica. The study was conducted between January and March 2022.
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Cori Moran, Head of PR & Communications, Cisco Australia & New Zealand
Adela Amanowicz, PR Manager, Cisco Australia & New Zealand