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Proceeding with the “New Normal” of Work Modalities

Insights from our client companies and their strategies for workplace arrangements

Written by HRCap, Inc.

September 9, 2021

In working closely with our clients on everything from Executive Recruiting to Leadership Coaching, to Organizational Consulting to Succession Planning over the past few months, we have found that many now feel certain on how to proceed with the "new business normal". Some are taking a far more precautionary approach, using employee surveys and market data to inform decisions and to adjust their business model. A few have simply reverted back to pre-pandemic work setups.

Many of our clients were able proactively embrace remote or hybrid work for the following reasons:

  • Realizing that offering remote work for certain roles is leverage to retain and attract talent.

  • Implementing remote work saves costs and leads to greater business outcomes.

  • Trying different modes through trial and error has allowed them to find what works best.

The companies that did not execute a remote work model, or even a hybrid one, are still figuring it out. This may be due to the following reasons:

  • Relying on a business model, products, and services that cannot be sustained in a remote or hybrid workplace model. Many clients that focus heavily on R&D, Manufacturing, and Supply Chain may not be suitable for remote workplace arrangements.

  • Being sensitive to perception internally and externally. Some clients believe that an in-person workplace leads to more productivity but also want to stay aligned to the market changes

  • Desiring to conduct more surveys and analysis for decision making. They are extra cautious.

As Forbes suggests, offering remote work is an attractive option for many mid-career and executive professionals who are Baby Boomers (individuals born between 1946 and 1964) because they are able to move, or not move throughout the country and thus have more flexibility in their current or prospective role. In the recruiting stage, applicants who value flexibility may be more inclined to accept a job offer if there is an option to work remotely or have a hybrid work schedule. However, research by TIME shows that Gen Z (individuals born after 1996) slightly prefer more in-office rather than remote work because they are just beginning their careers and see the need for in-person interactions and networking. Lastly, Gallup found that Millennials (individuals born between 1980 and 1995) favor remote work and comprise 52% of remote workers. They prefer a remote work environment due to the belief that working remotely is more flexible and wellbeing is increased due to work life balance.

Related: What did companies have in mind when it came to back-to-office plans in August 2021?

Now, the verdict is out on large companies back to office mandates. As of September, companies such as Google, Uber, Amazon, and Starbucks have officially postponed their return to office to 2022. In a study by Littler, an employment & labor law firm, 40% of 1,600 employers in the United States have said that they had delayed back to office plans as of September.

With the debate over promotion disparities happening between remote workers and in-office workers, hybrid work may serve as the middle ground. SHRM notes that over 70% of executives planned to increase investment to support hybrid work in initiatives such as investing in tools for virtual collaboration and IT infrastructure.

Here at HRCap, we had implemented a 100% remote work model during the first few months of the pandemic, then carefully experimented and switched to a hybrid model through trial and error. We had different teams come in on different days throughout the week to allow for social distancing, but also drive greater productivity and employee engagement. We’ve found that this model strikes a meaningful balance: employees have the opportunity and flexibility to get work done uninterrupted, while also getting the desired face time with peer colleagues and upper management on in-office days for team collaboration and alignment. This has allowed us to be more progressive with our own hiring plans--building teams and recruiting new members to grow our respective functions. Our aggressive but optimistic goal is to double our headcount, service coverage, and revenue by 2025 in doing so.

It’s not too late to make a better workplace under this new normal. We know that HR departments are having to pivot quickly as rising developments change what we redefine as the new normal. Remaining open and adaptable during a candidate driven market is ideal.

We engage with over 300 new candidates (entry through C-Suite levels) daily in our recruiting and consulting work at HRCap. In our next newsletter, we provide insights from our candidates who have shared their preferences for work arrangements, which we hope to be timely insights for our clients.

Source: HRCap, Littler, Forbes, TIME Magazine, Gallup, SHRM, WSJ


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