When the COVID outbreak first hit back in 2020, employers were reluctant to deploy hybrid and remote work arrangements, but two years later executives are starting to think differently about the need for in-person arrangements.
Not only are workers finding that flexible and hybrid work models are just as productive and fruitful as in-office models; productivity actually increased for remote workers and they’re seeking more work-life balance than before.
According to a survey conducted by Future Forum conducted in 2021, 95% of employees want flexible hours, and 73% of workers weren’t happy with their level of flexibility during the pandemic and are likely to look for different opportunities in the next year.
- 63% of employees want a hybrid work model and 20% want to work remotely full-time
- 82% of 25- to 34-year-olds and 75% of 55- to 64-year-olds want a hybrid or full-time remote model
- 61% of remote workers are more likely to say they are satisfied with the amount of work they accomplished
In fact, the hybrid work model improves employee experience scores as well, as workers find better work-life balance and have less work-related stress impacting their day-to-day lifestyle. Just between May and November 2021, employees participating in hybrid work arrangements increased by 12%.
Additionally, a poll conducted by Advanced Workplace Associates found that only 3% of white-collar workers want to return to the office five days a week, and 86% of employees want to work from home at least twice a week.
These trends hold true in the insurance industry as well. The Jacobson Group found that almost 90% of insurance employers surveyed expect to offer a hybrid work model when they reopen and 45% plan to provide fully-remote options. Companies have been finding creative ways to embrace the new normal of a truly hybrid workforce by downsizing office space, redesigning traditional working desks into hot desks, and making the physical workplace accommodating to the ebb and flow of employees choosing to physically come in.
As we start to shed the completely-remote work model, some insurers have announced their updated return-to-office plans to start encouraging employees to come into the workplace at least some of the time:
- The Hartford announced that it would be bringing back its employees to the office on April 4, with senior executives coming back on March 21.
- Travelers announced plans to open up its offices to employees on March 24.
- CSAA previously stated that it planned its office re-entry in Q1 2022 at the earliest.
It will be interesting to see how the workforce will adapt to the challenges that come with the flexibility and freedom of working from home. Some industry leaders have already mentioned that although the hybrid model fosters a more flexible and inclusive workplace, leaders need to be intentional about preventing inequities and find ways to ensure all employees have equal access to opportunity and can participate on a level playing field.