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Hybrid working – how many days do professionals REALLY want to work in the office?

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Posted: May 2022

Our recently published annual Salary Guide 2022 looked not only at the salaries and bonuses being awarded across the corporate comms sector, but also at company benefits, with a focus on the benefits that professionals really want. In this highly competitive candidate-driven market, it is not uncommon for potential employees to be weighing up multiple offers, and while salary and bonus play an important role in the decision-making process, the benefits package can be the deal-breaker.

Our survey revealed that at the top of the list of benefits that are most important to men and women in both in-house corporate communications team and agencies was hybrid working, beating benefits such as holiday allowances, pension contributions by a quite considerable margin.

Benefits that are most important to men and women: in-house corporate communications teams and agencies

These findings confirm one thing about the future of work – hybrid work arrangements are going to be the norm across the industry, and if they are not already, they need to be! There are good reasons why many companies and employees are excited about this mix of in-person and remote work, and equally good reasons why many feel trepidation about the shift. The fact remains that hybrid working is at the top of every candidate’s list, so employers need to be up to speed when it comes to understanding how many days professionals looking for a new role would consider coming into the office.

What’s the hybrid working situation now

The findings of our survey revealed that comms professionals are enjoying a hybrid model; only 2% of in-house comms professionals are in the office every day, and no agency

employees are going in every day. The most common pattern is 3 days in the office, 2 days remote working – just under a third (32%) of in-house professionals and 42% of agency professionals are following this model.

And what will professionals consider

It’s clear that employees have developed an affinity for hybrid working, and it is now an expectation for the future. 90% of respondents would only consider a role with a new employer with some form of flexibility; the preferred model for both in-house comms and agency professionals is 2 days in the office and 3 days remote working.

Employers, if you still believe that you can hire someone for a role that requires 5 days in the office, you are highly likely to draw a complete blank.

Challenges facing employers building hybrid working teams

Hybrid working arrangements can be daunting for those about to adopt them and challenging for those who already have. But the good news is that we’re learning quickly where the biggest obstacles lie and how to minimise them in advance and manage them as they come up.

Two types of creativity are endangered by hybrid work. Perhaps the most obvious one is collective creativity – people can brainstorm via Zoom, but programmed times and formats for generating ideas may well not prove as fruitful as the more fluid conversations and unexpected things that can happen when we kick ideas around with others or work intensively on solving a problem together.

Individual creativity can be endangered, too. While quiet time alone can help people generate new ideas and insights, working alone over many days may not prove generative for employees who must be constantly creative or innovative. Some social interactions and spontaneous conversations with colleagues, seeing random objects on each other’s desks, and even the changes of scenery involved in going from home to work are important for creativity.

Culture, like creativity, is another challenge that senior leaders are faced with as they bring everyone back to the office. With existing employees leaving and new ones joining, an increasingly pressing challenge is how to socialise the newcomers and integrate them into the company’s culture, whether they’re entry-level hires or seasoned executives.

Our advice to leaders is simple – go all-in. Be a champion of hybrid work and in-person collaboration. The best experience any company can provide starts by gathering people together, whether that’s two, three or four times a week to collaborate, share and problem solve in person. Setting the days that your team comes into the office ensures you have cohesion.

Consider offering perks that bring your people together. If you offer free lunch, make sure it's in a place and at a time where people can have some sort of interaction. You can also schedule team-building events or happy hours, so more people are incentivised to come into the office on certain days if office hours are flexible.

And always have empathy

The single best thing you can do as a leader is to try to communicate that you understand the mental space that people are in as you establish your hybrid working practices. Before you do anything else, recognise and articulate any tension that exists in a situation, and show that you're open to having discussions with anyone who may have concerns about the transition back to the office. Next, make it clear that you understand why people want the flexibility of being able to work from home, before acknowledging the benefits of coming into work, such as connecting and collaborating with others in real time.



The Works Search: a search consultancy specialising in PR and corporate communications. We have unrivalled matching abilities and known for finding the top 5% performers in the industry - the ones who deliver and make your reputation great. For more advice or market insights, do get in touch with us on 0207 903 9291 or email sarah@the-works.co.uk.

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