More than half of female office workers believe hybrid working has benefitted their career progression, according to the results of a new study.
But what is hybrid working? And are you getting the benefits?
What is hybrid working?
Hybrid working is a flexible way of working that allows employees to work from the office on some days and work from home or another remote location on others. It’s a system that has grown in popularity since the pandemic, when many were forced to work from home due to lockdown.
Hybrid has quickly become embedded in workplace culture, so much so that research from Microsoft found that more than half (51%) of UK workers who currently have the choice to mix remote and office working would consider leaving their company if the hybrid option was removed.
Hybrid working is helping to improve career prospects for women
It looks like female workers in particular could be benefitting from this new way of working, as a survey from Intentional Workplace Group, the global operator of leading workspace providers, found that more than half (55%) of female office workers feel their career prospects have improved due to the shift to hybrid working.
Here are some of the headline figures:
- More than half (56%) agreed that hybrid working has benefitted their career progression.
- Three quarters (75%) added that hybrid working made them more productive, while the same number (76%) said it had improved their work-life balance.
- Almost half (49%) said that they would consider leaving their job if forced to work from the office five days a week, demonstrating the integral role hybrid working is now playing in people’s daily lives.
- Half (50%) would leave their job if asked to work from the office five days a week
Additional social benefits cited included two fifths (38 per cent) of women stating that hybrid working improved their mental health, while 56 per cent agreed that there had been a greater distribution in household and childcare duties between them and their partner due to hybrid working.
There was also an emphasis on the financial benefits of hybrid working. Two thirds of respondents noted that saving both time (68 per cent) and money (66 per cent) from daily commutes into the office were key benefits. In addition, 17 per cent of women added that they had been able to save more for house deposits thanks to their ability to work flexibly.
What are women saying about flexible working?
Sarah Burton, 38, from South London, is Head of the Contracts Advisory Team for the Society of Authors. She says hybrid working has allowed her to striker a better work/life balance while also making her more productive:
“Without hybrid working its likely I would have had to scale back my hours, and potentially the seniority of my role. Prior to the pandemic I commuted into our central London office four days a week, now it’s usually just one. I have two young children and hybrid working means I don’t have to make choices between work and family.”
“We’re fortunate to have a progressive CEO who champions flexible working. We’ve also found that we are better using our time spent in the office, with meetings and other collaborative tasks becoming more effective. Under hybrid working I am working more efficiently while also having more time, so it’s a win-win.”
Demand for suburban and rural locations continues to accelerate as more people turn their backs on long daily commutes and instead chose to work flexibly in the heart of local communities. Three quarters (75 per cent) would like to have an office space within 15 minutes of their home, demonstrating that the days of regular commuting into a city centre headquarters may be over.
In fact, companies are realising the benefits of the ‘hub and spoke’ model for office space, with workers splitting time between home, a local office and company HQ. Demand for IWG rural and suburban office space grew by 29 per cent in 2021, with the locations such as Bromsgrove (+52 per cent), Beaconsfield (+33 per cent) and Tewkesbury (+22 per cent) soaring in popularity.
Fatima Koning, Group Chief Commercial Officer at IWG, said: “Women tend to wear a lot of hats and they want to be the best version of themselves both at work and at home. That can be incredibly hard – but the hybrid shift is going to make a real difference.
“The pandemic has proved people can be just as productive when they’re splitting their time between home and the office and it’s highlighted the huge opportunity we have to improve working life. For women, the hybrid model represents a crucial opportunity to address existing inequalities at work and at home and has unprecedented potential to support women’s wellbeing, family lives and career aspirations. While, for employers there is a vast opportunity to attract more female talent and add tremendous value to their businesses.”
The number of employees visiting IWG’s network of approximately 300 locations across the UK steadily increased over the past few months, demonstrating an increasing demand for hybrid work solutions. In 2021 alone, IWG added over two million new customers to its global network of flexible workspaces.