As we continue to see pandemic restrictions being lifted in various parts of the world, it’s becoming increasingly clear that many employees prefer to stick with a hybrid working model. This combination of working from home and returning to the office has proven to have many benefits, including increased productivity, greater flexibility, and a better work-life balance for all involved.
Despite these basic benefits, there is still more that employees want out of this new working model, and it hasn’t always been easy for companies to accommodate demands and preferences on the fly. However, given the turmoil workers have had to face, companies still need to do their best to adjust, and it is ultimately the responsibility of HR departments to respond to shifting needs. HR managers need to advise management on changes employees are undergoing, and compensation and benefits managers may need to adjust compensation packages to include new perks and benefits tailored to hybrid arrangements, as well as ensure appropriate alignment with market salary ranges.
But what exactly are hybrid workers looking for in this new environment? What benefits does this new type of employee need?
1. More Paid Time Off
Working from home means that people have more control over their schedules. Those who want to can even, in some cases, work a bit harder at the beginning of the week in order to have some extra time off on Friday. And while this might not always be an option for hybrid workers, this doesn’t mean they might not want the occasional day off to recover from work at the office. This would have sounded unreasonable a few years back, but today it’s necessary to offer employees the freedom to choose a day to rest every so often without fear of repercussions or loss of pay.
2. Subsidized Home Office Equipment and Services
One of the first challenges employees faced while working at home during the pandemic was that of dealing with outdated or inadequate equipment, software, and/or internet services. In some cases, this meant that they had to unexpectedly invest in things like computers, licenses or subscriptions to software they could access for free at work, and even new furniture. And unfortunately, many employees found that their companies weren’t always up for paying for home equipment (though some states do require reimbursement).
As hybrid models of work are more widely implemented, it is becoming more important than ever for organizations to accept that some of their employees now have multiple workplaces, and that the expenses for maintaining the relevant hardware and software should, at the very least, be shared between the employee and the company.
3. Access to Mental Health Professionals
While plenty of employees now prefer hybrid work models, employee engagement researchers have also found that many workers find hybrid arrangements to be emotionally exhausting. This may have to do with employees having to switch their environment and working style repeatedly during the week. It might be partially due to lingering stress factors relating to the pandemic. And it may also have to do with simpler inconveniences, like starting a home work day only to realize a laptop has been left at the office. Regardless, the point is that hybrid work turns out to be more stressful than expected for some. In response, companies should be ready to offer stress management workshops and access to mental health professionals (things they should arguably already be doing anyway).
4. Childcare Benefits
When an employee returns to work at the office, even if it’s just for two or three days a week, it’s not just said employee who has to adapt. The whole family is affected; parents back at work can experience separation anxiety, and kids who may have gotten used to having mom and dad at home more often will suddenly be without them.
As a result of the latter factor in particular, greater demand for childcare benefits should be expected. These can range from subsidies that would allow parents to hire a nanny, to predictable schedules that protect the employee from having to unexpectedly leave home for a meeting (or worse, a business trip). For offices that can manage it, even on-site childcare facilities would be greatly appreciated by employees.
Hybrid work makes for a complex adjustment, with pros and cons for employers and employees alike. As much as it can improve conditions in some respects however, such a radical change understandably leads to shifting demands from workers. So it goes without saying that companies that successfully adapt to these demands will be looked on favorably by the workforce.
Post solely for the use of flowscapesolutions.com
By Jessica Maine
About The Author
Jessica Maine is a freelance writer and marketing consultant –– and a full-fledged digital nomad! She is currently on a prolonged tour living and working in different U.S. locations, with a plan to settle down to pursue a graduate degree in 2023. Her writing covers a range of topics primarily relating to business, entrepreneurism, and current events.