Since 2022, organisations have been embracing and evolving hybrid models of work in lieu of returning to the office completely. Over the past year, however, it appears that people are craving connection and community more than ever.
In a new report released by HubSpot, researchers surveyed over 5,000 full-time remote, flex, and in-office workers from organisations across 10 markets.
The survey found that 63.4 per cent of workers prefer to work at home, 8.3 per cent in the office, and 28.3 per cent flex, which is a combination of working at home and in the office.
It also appears that 33 per cent of flex employees, or employees working both at home and in the office, find establishing connections and relationship-building to be the biggest challenges of working with a hybrid team.
About 43 per cent of flex workers choose to go to the office to socialise with co-workers.
Indeed, when given a choice, about 52 per cent of workers said they would prioritise relationships with colleagues over a salary increase.
Additionally, feeling connected to their organisation’s mission and goals is pretty important for workers in the survey. About 70 per cent say that they feel connected to their company culture. About 69 per cent say they feel connected to their organisation’s mission or purpose. On the other hand, only 34 per cent of them say they feel connected to their colleagues.
What’s more, connection to colleagues plays an important role in company retention. About 66 per cent of workers said having a close friend at work impacts their intent to stay within their organisation.
"We’re entering a new frontier in the future of work, and it’s one that’s defined by connection. While it’s clear that the workforce of today has become used to the autonomy to live and work from wherever they choose with remote work, there’s certainly a trade off between communication and connection with culture and colleagues,” says Kat Warboys, Marketing Director of APAC at HubSpot.
“Connection is critical to high-performing teams. When employees feel connected to each other and their culture, it boosts alignment, enables problem-solving, and strengthens productivity,” Warboys added.
About 43 per cent of workers also said they want their companies to invest in team-building initiatives in order to foster a strong work culture. About 31 per cent of those surveyed believe that connection among teams would help make customer service experience better, especially those working at large organisations with at least 1,000 employees.
Compared to 2021, email continues to be the preferred method of communication. However, researchers say employees opt for in-person meetings, which show a desire for connection in a hybrid world.
About 46 per cent of those surveyed believe the emergence of asynchronous tools like Zoom and Slack has increased their productivity.
The 2023 Hybrid Work Report can be accessed here.