REPORT
Not Another Hybrid Work Debate
Let Your Teams Decide
Chapter 1

Let your teams decide

To drive hybrid success and retain talent, real heroes never work alone.

The Hybrid Work Debate is Over

Last year, hybrid work became the battle ground between employers who wanted their employees back in the office and employees who wanted to keep workplace flexibility. As such, the number of organizations offering hybrid work increased. According to The Flex Index, 62% of U.S. companies now allow some degree of remote work, up from 51% at the start of 2023.

Heading into 2024, hybrid work is the norm for most companies. Just 6 out of 158 U.S. CEOs said they will prioritize bringing workers back to the office full-time in 2024, according to The Conference Board. What’s more, hybrid work research shows that there is a positive return on investment (ROI) for organizations implementing hybrid work: 

  • 75% of the Fortune 100 operate on a hybrid work schedule (Buildremote).
  • 97 of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies To Work For 2024 provide hybrid work options (Fortune).
  • 63% of high-revenue growth companies are more likely to embrace hybrid work, while 69% of companies with negative or no growth do not offer hybrid options (Accenture). 
  • From 2020 to 2022, companies with full flexibility led their peers by 16% in revenue growth (Flex Index).

Organizations that prioritize hybrid work will drive higher economic return and be better prepared for the future of work. However, there’s still a lot of information out there on how to navigate the complexities of hybrid work successfully. This report aims to reduce the noise and bring you exactly what you need to create an effective hybrid work strategy.

Team-level agreements are most successful

46% of employees say they’re more engaged when their work team decides on the hybrid work policy together (Gallup). Team-level agreements also yield a 13% boost in joy over top-down mandates; and employees who enjoy their work are 49% less likely to say they would consider taking a new job compared to those who don’t enjoy their work (BCG). Team-driven hybrid work models not only improve employee engagement—the increased satisfaction it brings also cuts attrition risk in half.

Wow! Case Study
Case Study

Allstate boosts engagement with hybrid

Allstate embraced a flexible work strategy that allowed managers and their teams to determine their own work arrangements. Hybrid and remote employees can choose when they'd like to use the office, and teams can decide how hybrid works best for them. This has made getting to work more accessible and equitable for all employees. Allstate’s employee engagement score increased from 80.5% to 83.5%.

Hot Tip
HOT TIP

Boost productivity with team-driven hybrid schedules

Team-driven agreements increase employee joy and engagement as team members may be ones employees will socialize and collaborate with most in the office. It’s in every company’s best interest to give their teams the autonomy to structure their own hybrid schedules to better attract and retain top talent and improve productivity.

The biggest thing that you can do is listen to your own teams. You have to pair the broader data with talking to your own organization and teams about what's working for them.
Brian Elliott
Brian Elliott
Co-founder of Future Forum
frm. Google, Slack
Listen to Podcast
46% Stat

46% of employees say they’re more engaged when their work team decides the policy together.

Give employees flexibility based on types of work and individual needs

78% of employees and 91% of managers report in-person work as being most effective for interaction, affiliation, and development (BCG). Employees want to be in the office to socialize, network, and collaborate with team members in the office. Ensuring that teams are in at the same time to make that happen is what makes the office commute worth it.

In the same study, 63% of employees and 67% of managers say remote working is most effective for focus work. While workers believe the office is best for training, social events, and collaboration, most want to have a quiet area for more “heads down” work. For many, completing individual work does not require them to be in the office.

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How Flexibility Wins

Autonomy and freedom to change work locations can improve the workplace experience, increasing productivity and the bottom line. What’s more, job seekers highly value having autonomy over where and how they work. Companies offering flexible work will come out on top.

"Companies that prioritize flexibility are driving economic return and, in turn, inspiring others to adopt flexible work practices to remain competitive."
Rob Sadow
Rob Sadow
CEO and Co-founder of Scoop, The Flex Index
Listen to Podcast Episode
89% Stat

89% of organizations with successful hybrid programs offer remote work 1-2 days per week

A BetterUp survey of 1,400 full-time U.S. employees who were mandated to return to in-office work found that they had lower trust in their organization, engagement, and productivity levels. Employers who don’t give employees work flexibility breed distrust that negatively impacts performance.

Research from MIT Sloan Management Review shows that trust is a critical driver of engagement. Trusting employees are 260% more motivated to work, have 41% lower rates of absenteeism, and are 50% less likely to look for another job. Organizations that give employees flexibility create a culture of trust and accountability that can actually lead to higher engagement and productivity. 

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Employers need to think clearly about what it is they’re trusting employees to do and start measuring outcomes instead of where employees work.

Give employees measurable goals they can work toward and let them know clearly what is expected of them. Set up processes and regular check-ins that ensure employees are being held accountable to those goals no matter where they work.

Flexible work leads to better talent

In 2023, flexible workplaces hired talent twice as fast as those requiring full-time office attendance (Flex Index). According to a study in the National Bureau of Economic Research, at least one work-from-home day reduced average attrition rates by 33%. Work schedule flexibility improves talent acquisition and retention.

Just take a look at SurveyMonkey, which introduced flexible work in 2021 after 84% of employees said in an internal survey that they wanted to work from home at least two to three days a week. The results were positive: 84% of workers said choosing where they work improved their work experience, and voluntary turnover at the company declined by 62%.

BCG
“Our ‘choice model’ has worked well for us. It allows workers to integrate all things in their life in a better way than they had when they were commuting for long periods of time or balancing lots of different responsibilities at home.”
Becky
Becky Cantieri
Chief People Officer at SurveyMonkey

In the same study by Nick Bloom and colleagues, they found that the reduction in average attrition rates was larger for non-managers, women, those with longer commutes, and employees with fewer than three years of tenure (NBER). 

According to BCG, 92% of females, 89% of caregivers, and 95% of people with disabilities say that “flexible work options are important or very important in driving their decision to stay in or leave their job.” Underrepresented groups especially value flexibility as highly important and are showing it in the way they choose their next roles. Allstate saw a 23% increase in job applications since adopting a flexible work strategy, including a 33% increase in diverse applicants

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HOT TIP

How to attract and support a diverse workforce

Most workers want some form of flexibility to balance other expectations and responsibilities in their lives. This is especially true for employees for whom commuting is more challenging, like caretakers and people with disabilities. Organizations that want to attract a diverse workforce will benefit from giving employees work schedule flexibility.

“The reality is human beings who are women or femme presenting, who have a racial minority identity, or who experience chronic or mental illness have a different experience and different needs.”
Bethany Nicole Smith
Bethany Nicole Smith
Workplace Experience Specialist
Listen to Podcast Episode

Hot Tips

Get past the predictions with tips you can implement right away.

HR

To implement a successful hybrid work strategy, HR leaders need to be deliberate in how they tackle change management and policy-setting so they don’t backtrack months down the road. Maintain continuous and transparent communication, seek feedback, and ensure you're listening to all sides.

IT

Use diverse communication tools to help deliver specific messages. Consider video conferencing tools for real-time team meetings, Loom for recording video messages, and chat platforms like Slack or Google Chat for general updates. Implement a space management solution to make coordinating in-office days easier.

Facilities

Redesigning offices with diverse spaces boosts productivity, creativity, and collaboration, meeting employees' main in-person needs. That may look like creating more open spaces for employees to socialize and collaborate, and a variety of spaces to move around.

Chapter 2

Just your friendly neighborhood hero.

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