“Hybrid work”: it’s a term that entered our shared vocabulary in a major way in the past year. It can mean somewhat different things for every organization, from a split workforce (some fully remote, some in-office), to one where employees all split their time between working from home and onsite. Whatever the arrangement, one thing is clear: the workplace isn’t the same place it used to be.
The way we work has fundamentally changed
According to Gallup data, 60% of full-time “remote-capable” employees in the U.S. (employees whose jobs can be done remotely, at least part of the time) worked primarily on-site prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fast forward to 2022 and 81% of those same employees are now working either exclusively remote or in a hybrid capacity, with only a small percentage anticipating ever returning to the office full time.
Whereas some organizations are offering attractive incentives such as cash bonuses, free meals, or paid childcare to encourage employees to return to the office, many others have shifted to hybrid or “remote-first” models. And when it comes to attracting new hires, flexible work should be a top priority. In a recent survey of job seekers conducted by Bankrate, 55% of respondents said flexible working hours and/or remote work is a higher priority for them now than it was pre-pandemic. A study by Slack also found that 76% of those surveyed want flexibility in where they work, and 93% want flexibility in when they work. For many, flexible work arrangements are non-negotiable.
Onboarding new employees: then vs. now
Of course, while there are certainly many benefits to remote and hybrid work, like anything, it also comes with its own challenges.
Hybrid work isn’t just changing where people work – it also calls for a shift in how companies operate. One example of the way things are changing is with employee onboarding.
In the past, most of the employee onboarding process was done onsite. From interviews to orientation to their first team meeting, being onsite gave new hires the opportunity to interact with other employees and get acquainted with the way the company operates.
But when an employee starts remotely, they don’t have that same connection. As a result. they may not know who the right person is to ask when they have a question, feel disconnected from their company, or struggle to form relationships with their new co-workers. What’s more, when some employees are in the office and others are remote, there’s an inconsistent experience, leading to varying levels of employee satisfaction.
[Related Article: 3 Remote Onboarding Tips for a Better Employee Onboarding Experience]