How to make sure your hybrid policy is equitable for all

Hybrid work has split the workforce into those working from home and those returning to the office, but not all employees are being treated equally.

New research from the Society for Human Resource Management found that supervisors have a more negative perception of remote work and may be limiting a remote worker’s ability to succeed over their in-office counterparts. Sixty-two percent of supervisors believe that full-time remote work is detrimental to an employee’s career goals and 67% believe that remote workers are more easily replaceable than those who work from the office.

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Employees are feeling the differences too: 34% believe that remote work limits their career opportunities and 29% feel they are being given less developmental opportunities without the in-person facetime.

“Remote work is not ideal for everyone,” Johnny C. Taylor, president and CEO of SHRM, said in a release. “Remote work can offer benefits, but employers need to take a closer look at whether remote and onsite workers have the same opportunities to be effective.”

As COVID stretches on, employers and employees have been forced to adapt — and re-adapt — their work arrangements. While many organizations have embraced a fully remote model, many others are experimenting with hybrid models, allowing employees to choose when and where they work.

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This flexibility has become a must for many employees when it comes to their productivity and desire to stay with their current employer: Flexjobs found that 95% of employees are equally or more productive at home as in the office. Data from Ernst and Young found that nine out of 10 employees are prioritizing flexibility, and 54% would quit if not offered a flexible working arrangement.

However, employers must ensure that if they plan to allow for flexible work, employees be treated equitably when it comes to career and networking opportunities. The SHRM study found that while women enjoy flexible work more than men, they are more likely to suffer a career setback or stagnation. Twenty-three percent of women felt they were missing out on building strong working relationships, compared to 18% of men.

“These results raise the questions of who’s really winning with remote work,” Taylor said. “HR and business leaders need to answer this question to ensure they are able to attract and retain top talent and build an equitable workplace where everyone has the ability to succeed.”

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