Over the past two years, the pandemic has thrown one curve after another at companies.
One of the most important challenges is figuring out how employees can work from home.
However, as the world reopens, research shows that employee productivity and engagement aren’t the highest when working in the office or remotely.
In early 2022, Citrix conducted an independent poll that examined the views of 900 business leaders, including CEOs, CFOs, and CTOs, and 1,800 knowledge workers from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US. Respondents were from various industries, including financial services, healthcare, technology, manufacturing, retail, the public sector, and education.
Citrix director for Australia and New Zealand, Martin Creighton, says the company’s Work Rebalanced report shows hybrid work is becoming the best gold standard.
“Hybrid workers show that they are more productive and engaged as hybrid workers than if they were completely remote or completely in the office,” he says.
They also report better physical and emotional well-being, with 69% of hybrid workers saying they would recommend their employer as a place to work, compared to 56% of office workers and 60% of employees who work entirely remotely. The report found that most leaders and employees believe hybrid and remote collaboration works well, but 63% of leaders and 69% say face-to-face interactions are essential for emotional well-being.
What do companies do well?
According to Citrix, companies need to have the right technology for a hybrid work model to work well and make employees feel like they can do their job.
“I was talking about it with a colleague, and we laughed because we said, can you imagine COVID would have happened five years ago?” says Creighan.
“The video technology and the ability to work remotely in a remote work-from-home technology didn’t have the same capabilities as today.”
Creighton says business leaders have, for the most part, recognized this and are doing it well, especially in the tech sector. The report also reveals that two-thirds of business leaders and employees believe advanced work technology leads to more inclusive and equal work experiences. In Australia alone, 70% of workers believe technology increases productivity and satisfaction.
According to Creighan, there has also been an increase in trust and empathy in the workplace in recent years.
“Business leaders trust their employees to do the right thing,” he says.
“In fof business leaders in Australia trust their employees even when they can’t see them. According to our research, this is the highest market globally. On the other hand, the study shows that business leaders also monitor employees. The report found that 80% of business leaders are installing or considering installing more software next year to monitor when their employees are at work. Creighton says this figure doesn’t necessarily mean business leaders don’t trust their employees. He thinks they could watch working hours, such as ensuring they don’t work at midnight or get some downtime.
What are companies doing wrong?
Creighton says flexibility, especially about location, is critical, but about a third of business leaders don’t give their employees any.
“So they’re saying you should be in the office or home,” he says.
“If you don’t give location flexibility, it impacts engagement and can negatively affect your workforce.”
Then there are the corporate executives who legislate, such as Elon Musk, who told all his employees to return to the office or “pretend” to work elsewhere.
“That’s actually at odds with what we’re seeing in the study and what our employees worldwide want,” Creighton said.
“Our research shows that an autocratic leadership style and enforcing when you should be in the office, why you should be there, and what days and hours can have negatively affect employee satisfaction engagement.”
But finding the right balance between working in and out of the office is complicated.
“That’s probably the most important or one of the most important things I talk about with our customers,” says Creighan.
“They say, Martin, how do we get the right balance?”
(Martin Creighan, Citrix Director for Australia and New Zealand)
Hybrid work success
Creighton says that flexibility, innovation, and choice are the three most important things in successful hybrid work.
He says there should also be a sense of pragmatism and understanding between employees and employers that when employees have to be in the office for a meeting, they will come in.
“I think transparent communication about our policies and goals is very important,” he says.
“If I want our team to come in and work together, we’ll create a ‘culture day’ or ‘collaboration day’ to encourage everyone to come in, and we’ll organize lunch for our people.”
Creighton says food can be a big asset, and he’s often found that potluck works better than the pizza-only company.
“We all come from different cultures, different backgrounds. Suppose you also get that diversity aspect; people bring their favorite Italian dish or Thai food. In that case, it’s even better because people can bring more of themselves into their work environment,” he says.
Citrix says that as hybrid working becomes the frontrunner for employees, companies need technology that enables them to work efficiently wherever they are. CreWith years of experience, CitCreighton says rix provides a DaaS solution that businesses can use to securely deliver their apps and their data to people from anywhere.
“Three-quarters of security leaders say they are either planning to roll out (a DaaS solution) or have already rolled it out within the next year,” he says.
“That’s exciting for us because when we enable secure DaaS solutions, we enable this remote or hybrid work environment and empower our employees to be more engaged and productive.”
Visit the website to learn more about what Critix offers and how it can accelerate your business to successful hybrid work.