The rise of hybrid natives
We all know the term “digital natives” to describe those who grew up with digital technologies as an integra →
The 2022 edition of the Jabra Hybrid Ways of Working Global Report has hit the press. In collaboration with Barco – an industry leader in workplace collaboration solutions and creator of ClickShare – we surveyed 2,800 knowledge workers in six major global economies to map out the current state of hybrid working.
Many organizations have now settled well into their hybrid working setups. However, there’s still a long way to go in boosting employee well-being, optimizing our workspaces, and adopting professional collaboration technology. Our data highlights a few key areas of focus for leaders, as well as draws into the spotlight other important trends for the future of work.
Maximize autonomy for increased employee well-being, productivity, and trust
We are entering the next stage of the hybrid working journey and employees have seen that a vast majority of them still excel at their jobs regardless of where they are. At a time when many companies are calling for a return to the office, many employees are calling for more power to determine their own work arrangement and decide if they want to WFH or WFO. The majority (57%) of fully autonomous employees currently choose to work a hybrid workweek. This is more than double of those who choose to work fully remote and more than triple of those who choose to work fully in office.
In addition, employees with full control over their work arrangement (i.e., where and when they work) unanimously report a higher work experience score (77%) than their medium (73%) and low autonomy (65%) counterparts. These differences are most apparent when it comes to feeling a sense of belonging, productivity, trust in leaders, work-life balance, and mental wellbeing. There is also a split in opinions across generations, as Gen Z and Millennials are more reluctant to work full time in the office, with only 19% preferring a full office week, compared to 26% of Gen X and 30% of Boomers.
Autonomy will be an essential part of improving employees’ satisfaction and engagement at work and key to stabilizing the foundational pillars of organizational culture and success.
Office redesigns must be about more than physical spaces
Organizations are redesigning offices for collaboration, but the report shows that there are further considerations to bear in mind. Across all types of workers, there’s a desire to have a dedicated personal space in the office. Almost four in ten workers say they’d feel less loyalty and commitment to their company if they didn’t have a regular, permanent workspace. Meanwhile, almost seven in ten workers confess they’re creatures of habit: if they didn’t have a regular, permanent workspace in the office, they would still try to sit and work in the same spot every day.
In addition, our data shows that as the amount of time a given employee spends in meetings increases, so too does the preference for their home office over the traditional office workspace. Of those spending more than 50% of their time in meetings, 75% prefer their home office. With eight in ten meetings now being either fully virtual or hybrid, leaders will need to think very carefully about how virtual collaboration technologies can help employees feel a sense of belonging both in the office and outside of it.
Professional technology makes for more inclusive and productive meetings
The future of work is virtual-first. With hundreds of millions of people collaborating on Teams, Zoom, and other unified communications platforms every day, these digital environments are the new standard for how we connect to one another. In fact, many employees have only ever met some of their colleagues on these platforms. Because of this, it’s critical that leaders do all they can to get the most out of the virtual workspace, so employees can create more human and authentic relationships with their colleagues.
Our research found that users of professional audio devices reported feeling more included in virtual meetings than those using either consumer audio devices or the microphones and speakers built into their laptops. In fact, users of professional headsets were 11% less likely to feel left out of the conversation in virtual meetings than consumer device or built-in audio users. Similarly, professional headset users were 14% less likely to report not being able to hear what’s being said in the meeting than built-in users and 12% less likely than consumer device users.
At present, only 30% of workers globally are using professional audio devices. As 80% of all meetings globally are either fully virtual or hybrid, with only 20% happening fully in person, it’s crucial that employees are able to make the most of them with purpose-built technologies. A lack of proper technology may make relationship-building in these virtual environments more tenuous and difficult than it needs to be.
Read and download the report
There are many more interesting trends and recommendations to be found in the full report. You can read and download it here.