85% of people want hybrid working, with flexibility set to be a key battleground for employers

9th December 2020: Flexible working options may be the next key battleground in the war for talent, as new research from eir Business showed that 85% of people say flexibility would be a key factor in considering a new job. While nearly half want to work from home three days a week, only 22% expect to, in a sign that employers may not be fully aligned with employees’ new expectations. Signs of a gradual return to the workplace are seen in the substantial drop since April in people working solely from home, down a third from 94%, despite ongoing public health restrictions. More than a quarter are now working from a mixture of home and the office. 


Employees have adapted well to the new environment, with less than half now finding avoiding distractions and maintaining focus an issue at home, compared to 66% in April.  86% say their productivity has improved or stayed the same, up from 73% eight months ago.


But home working is certainly not without its challenges and for many it hasn’t been as enjoyable as they initially hoped. In April 82% of respondents thought working from home could improve their work/life balance but only 55% now say they achieved it. While having your office in your home might reduce commute times, it can cause issues when it comes to separating work life from personal life. Missing social interaction also continues to be a concern, with 49% feeling more digitally-based social events with colleagues would improve their productivity. But three quarters of people are finding it the same or easier to contact and interact with the people they regularly do business with.


Nicola Mortimer, Commercial Director, eir Business, said: “At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a real enthusiasm among businesses and employees to make things work and do their best in the circumstances. That enthusiasm has now waned and while the way we work has been transformed forever, some disagreements about the future of work have started to appear between employers and employees. This research shows that remote working is successful and the majority of employees want to hold onto the flexibility. But many firms appear not to have reached this conclusion as quick as their employees and flexibility could be a key selling point for forward-thinking companies seeking to attract the best people.


Having the ability to facilitate new ways of working will be paramount for all businesses looking to remain abreast of rapid changes in what employees are seeking and in how technology impacts our working lives. The office is just not going to be the same. They will likely be smaller and people will not have their own dedicated desks. Technology will play a key role in these new ways of working - not just in traditional ways such as connectivity and security, but also in ways like company apps for booking a desk near your team members. Technology must be seamless: reliable and secure to meet the needs of the new working environment.” 


Overall, the growing evidence suggests remote working is here to stay, in some form or other, so ensuring employees and businesses have the required technology, supports and policies in place will be essential for successful business platforms. To read the full report visit linkedin.com/company/eirbusiness/.