Hybrid working: There may be trouble ahead

While new research suggests that a growing proportion of executives feel that office life could soon return to normal, other surveys highlight a potential chasm between employers’ and employees’ vision of future working strategies.

Data from KPMG’s latest annual CEO Outlook shows that businesses have begun to backtrack on downsizing office space; while 69% of CEOs said they planned to reduce their office footprint last year, just 21% said the same in 2021. Additionally, just 37% of CEOs now believe their business will have the majority of employees working remotely for two or more days a week.

Research by Gartner, however, highlights a potential disconnect when it comes to management and workforce views on flexible working. While 75% of executives feel that they operate within a culture of flexibility, only 57% of employees agreed. Furthermore, although a similar proportion of executives said their business understands how flexible work patterns support employees, only half of the workforce shared that view.

Not all employees, though, hold the same opinion on remote working. A survey by Hitachi Capital Business Finance, for instance, found that parents with children at home are more eager to return to the workplace than colleagues without children at home. This all suggests that the road to establishing future hybrid working models may be rocky.