A hybrid working model with a mix of remote and in-office time is the most productive way of working for employees going forward, according to a new study.
A poll of more than 2,500 workers conducted by recruiting firm Hays found the majority of Australians want remote working to stay in some capacity in a post-COVID world.
Many Australian businesses were forced to quickly adopt remote working and digital solutions after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Australia is slowly emerging from this and companies are cautiously returning to the office, some element of remote working is here to stay.
More than 60 per cent of workers surveyed said that a hybrid working model, with some time spent in the office and some working from home, is most productive going forward.
Hays Australia and New Zealand managing director Nick Deligiannis said this year has proven to many companies big and small that remote working is possible.
“Social distancing measures have certainly proven that a large percentage of the workforce can work productively and successfully from home,” Deligiannis said.
“For many employees, overall performance, job satisfaction and work-life balance even increase as less time was spent commuting or dealing with the distractions of office working.
“But at the same time, there are a number of employees who want to bring staff back into the one central office for the cultural and collaboration benefits that face-to-face working offers.”
A hybrid working model takes both of these major factors into account, Deligiannis said.
“Given this, a longer-term shift towards a hybrid working model could be the ideal middle ground that allows employees to work flexibly on certain days of the week, then come together with colleagues in a central workplace with others,” he said.
“This would allow people to balance office life and remote working in a mix that works best for them and their employer, while offering the organisation the staff attraction and retention benefits that come from a flexible and digital employment model.
“Already, as employers begin to encourage staff back to the office, they are reimagining their flexible working policies to accommodate a hybrid working model longer-term.
“Such employers are intentionally looking to the future and how they and their staff can benefit most effectively from this new way of working.”
The poll found that only 21 per cent of those surveyed said that having just a central office is best for their productivity, with 18 per cent saying that remote working full-time is most conducive to productivity.
It comes after another study conducted by Hays last month found that more than half of Australian workers surveyed were not yet ready to head back into the office due to COVID-19 concerns.
The report also revealed that more than 70 per cent of respondents in Western Australia had already returned to the office or were planning to in the next three months, while only just over 30 per cent in Victoria had done so.
A number of large tech companies have already announced plans to continue remote working in some capacity permanently.
In August, software company Atlassian announced it would no longer be requiring its employees to return to the office at all if they didn’t want to, while global giants such as Twitter, Square and Coinbase have done similar.
Dropbox has also said it will become a “virtual first” company, with all of its employees to mainly work remotely.