Home Unbound: how attitudes to hybrid have changed in 2022

The office still needs to make significant changes around hybrid working, health and safety to meet worker expectations in the US, according to a review of two employee surveys by smart building expert Brivo

We know that hybrid models of working are set to become a permanent fixture in the landscape of work after the pandemic. Employees want flexibility and organisations want employee retention – so hybrid is the best compromise. But where does that leave the office?

A report by Brivo, which works in cloud security access, explores the changing attitudes of workers in the US towards the office and the advent of hybrid working. This report, entitled ‘Home Unbound: Transitioning Back to the Office after Covid’, compares the survey results from 1,000 US workers from May 2021 to January 2022.

The purpose of these surveys was to gather responses across more than a dozen business sectors and explore people’s health and safety concerns about returning to work and their preferred working arrangements.

Hybrid working: stick or twist?

The survey results show that more people are expecting hybrid work to become a long-term work arrangement within their organisations – with less than half (45 per cent) of survey respondents expecting to be back in the office full time within six months. This number is down almost 10 per cent from the previous survey in May 2021 – indicating that people are increasingly expecting hybrid to stick.

The data from the survey found that the desire to work from home fluctuates depending on gender and job level. While over a third of men (36 per cent) indicated they would continue working from home indefinitely, only 28 per cent of women said the same. This could be due to the uneven distribution of domestic tasks while at home between men and women.

In terms of job term, over three-quarters of C-Suite respondents indicated they would never return to the office full time, compared to just a quarter of non-managerial employees

How have attitudes changed?

The research report compares the results of both the May 2021 survey with the January 2022 survey about how employees feel about returning to the office.

In both surveys, respondents’ reasons for wanting at least some time in the office were highly motivated by a desire to maintain relationships by having in-person collaboration. The key difference is that in January 2022, respondents cited ‘having more face-to-face time with managers and mentors’ as a key reason for wanting to come back to the office; re-establishing a sense of routine  fell off the list of priorities from May 2021.

Expectations for health and safety

For those who wanted to continue working from home full-time, the biggest concerns they expressed about returning to the office were: proximity to other people, office hygiene and protective measures, and contact with other people during their commute to the workplace.

Safety around Covid-19 is still a consideration for much of the US workforce. When respondents were asked what their desired measures for health and safety in the office were, the top four included: digital proof of vaccination, limiting the number of people on site, touchless door entry, and contact tracing.

However, the survey found that what organisations are actually implementing does not meet those desires. Organisations are focusing their hygiene efforts on cleaning and sanitising with the top four measures most commonly used including: providing masks, sanitiser, other protective gear; increased cleaning protocols; enforcing physical distancing; and contact tracing.

The Brivo survey demonstrates that expectations around the workplace and hybrid working are constantly evolving to reflect the current Covid-19 situation. It is clear from the data that the office is still an important tool to bring colleagues together, but organisations should be mindful of the measures they should put in place to make employees feel safe.

Read the full Home Unbound report here.

Brivo is a Corporate Member of WORKTECH Academy
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