Employees choosing their preferred workspaces correlates to work bliss

David Piggott, Managing Director ANZ at Jabra

Employees with full autonomy to choose where they work are happier in their job, yet only one in five are currently able to do so. And though 63% of all employees prefer hybrid working, only 45% are able to flexibly split their time between the home and office.

This is according to Jabra’s 2022 edition of the Hybrid Ways of Working Global Report. Carried out amongst 2,800 knowledge workers across 6 countries, the report analyses employee sentiments and motivations around the physical workspace in the hybrid work era.

Employees say that being able to decide where and when they work positively impacts their wellbeing and productivity levels. As hybrid working is driving the reconstruction of work spaces, employers need to rethink their working models to ensure employee satisfaction.

Work from home (WFH) or work from office (WFO)?

We are entering the next stage of the hybrid working journey and employees have seen that a majority of them excel at their jobs regardless of where they are. At a time when several large companies are calling for a return to the office, many employees are calling for more power to determine their own work arrangement and decide if they want to WFH or WFO.

The majority (57%) of employees who have full autonomy to choose where they work are currently working a hybrid workweek. This is more than double of those who choose to work fully remote and more than triple of those who choose to work fully in office.

In addition, employees with full control over their work (where/when) unanimously report a higher work experience score (77%) than their medium (73%) and low autonomy (65%) counterparts. These differences are most apparent when it comes to feeling a sense of belonging, productivity, trust in leaders, work-life balance, and mental wellbeing.

There is also a split in opinions across generations, as Gen Z and Millennials are reluctant to work full time in the office, with only 19% preferring a full office week, compared to 26% of Gen X and 30% of Boomers. Autonomy will be an essential part of improving employees’ satisfaction and key to stabilizing the pillars of organizational culture and success.

Do Office redesigns help?

Organizations are redesigning offices for collaboration, but the report shows that there are further considerations to bear in mind. Across all types of workers, there’s a desire to have a dedicated personal space in the office. Almost four in ten workers say they’d feel less loyalty and commitment to their company if they didn’t have a regular, permanent workspace.

Almost 7 in 10 workers confess they’re creatures of habit: if they didn’t have a regular workspace in the office, they would still try to sit and work in the same spot every day.

Jabra’s data shows that as the amount of time a given employee spends in meetings increases, so too does the preference for their home office over the traditional office. Of those spending more than 50% of their time in meetings, 75% prefer their home office.

With 8 in 10 meetings being either fully virtual, leaders will need to think about how virtual collaboration tech helps workers feel a sense of belonging in the office and outside of it.

What impact has the “anywhere office” had on workers?

Gen Z represents a generation not only of digital natives, but also of hybrid natives. Many began their careers during the pandemic, so hybrid work is all they’ve ever known. 64% of Gen Z consider their “office” to be their laptop, headset, and wherever they can get strong internet access. This highlights the growing value of tech in defining the employee experience.

These hybrid natives are also twice as likely as Millennials, and almost three times as likely as Gen X, to say that their usual workspace is a “third space,” like a co-working space or café.

As Gen Z continues to take up a larger proportion of the workforce, firms must understand these key generational differences in location preferences in order to attract the best talent. Only by providing employees with relevant tech and support can they maintain productivity, employee wellbeing, and the reputation of true professionalism from any environment.

David Piggott, Managing Director ANZ at Jabra, said: “COVID presented us with the greatest work experiment of all time. What began as a shift to remote work has grown into a long-term exploration of the hybrid office. We’re now two years in and need to consider how hybrid work impacts the workplace, particularly regarding attracting and retaining talent.”

“It’s time for business leaders to step back, listen and understand what their employees need in order to be productive, collaborative, and happy in their roles in this hybrid working era.”

“Leaders need to nurture a sense of belonging in the virtual workplace. Give employees the power to choose a desired working space and enable them to be productive in any place with the right tech and support. In 2022, we should move beyond thinking solely in terms of WFH or WFO, and realise the opportunities a ‘work-from-anywhere’ model provides.”

For a copy of the full research report, please visit: https://www.jabra.com/hybridwork/2022