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Herzberg on Hybrid Working

March 15, 2023

Hybrid working is an issue that comes up at least once a week in the offices of Employee Feedback. Every client we work with has it on their agenda.  We are working on a model not to solve the problem with a single solution for every business but to help employers think through their engagement and decision-making processes on the issue to come up with a policy that works for their business.

Of course, every business is different and every employee within that business is unique, but we do see trends and patterns in the feedback we gather and the conversations we have with our partners.

The pandemic is a fading memory but its effect on how we work is still very much with us.  It forced us all to overnight change the way we work.  Many of us not on the front line and lucky enough not to be furloughed had to rapidly adapt to working from home.  

Zoom entered our lives on a huge scale and we adjusted to 2D colleagues, wearing slippers to work and sitting on our own in home offices, at kitchen tables and for many in our bedrooms.  

For a long time it felt that this was now life, that it could never go back, and decisions were made that had long term implications. There was a dramatic increase in dog ownership, many people left the cities for the space and green of the countryside, other took jobs that were headquartered in parts of the country they would never previously considered because online everywhere is local. Working from home became a way of life and our lives changed.

And there’s the rub.  If we look at Working from Home, either hybrid or fully remote pre pandemic it was about 5% of the workforce in America, now its 27% according to the Economist.  It wasn’t typical or expected. It wasn’t a hygiene factor.

According to Herzberg's theory there are two parallel sets of factors to consider when looking at employee satisfaction.  

Hygiene factors are what is expected, for example, policies, salary etc without these staff are dissatisfied.  

Motivational factors are the key to a happy, engaged workforce - being recognised for doing a good job, opportunities for growth, empowerment etc.  

Our hypotheses is that pre-pandemic the opportunity for remote working was not the normal, it was a bonus, it implied trust and value of the employee, it was a motivator.  

The pandemic changed all that. Forever. For a while for many of us it was necessary no matter your level of seniority, trust or relationship with team members and managers.

So today the option for hybrid working is no longer a motivational factor it is a hygiene factor.  Some research in HR News has shown that 9 in 10 workers say hybrid working is as important as financial benefits.    

This is not to say hybrid working is the perfect solution for every individual, every team or every business as this survey by Gallop shows us.  But the genie is out of the bottle and employers have to think about how they have to adapt, the working world has changed.  

The Great Resignation maybe showing signs of slowing but there is no denying mobility is up.  A recent survey by Indeed showed that 94% of Gen-Z and 84% of millennials say they would not take a job that required them to attend in-person full-time.

Furthermore 88% of Gen-Z and 69% of millennials would quit their current job if asked to attend in-person full-time.

Hybrid working is here to stay. It needs to be addressed like all the hygiene factors in your business.  The clever bit is really engaging with your staff and keep engaging with them and really thinking hard about the best flexible working policy for your business, and that, we at Employee Feedback can help you with.

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