Remote and hybrid work models: opportunities and challenges aheadPosted On October 18, 2021
Thousands of organizations across the nation are moving quickly to maximize the benefits and opportunities presented by remote and hybrid remote work models, and overcome challenges presented in moving to this “next normal” model.
Increased employee productivity and lower costs
- One of the most notable opportunities employers are experiencing is increased productivity from team members.
“Remote workers can save an organization as much as $11,000 per year, which gives them up to a 21 percent increase in their profitability. This could make it well worth including in your business plan for 2021 and beyond.”
(Forbes, L. Farrer, September 2020)
- A recent PwC survey found that 65 percent of all US employees are looking for a new job. Indeed, fully 88 percent of executives said they are seeing higher turnover than normal. Driving the job hunt? Besides a quest for higher wages, better benefits, and opportunities for career advancement, flexibility has emerged as a key driver.
Access to a more diverse talent pool
- One of the greatest benefits of the remote and hybrid work model is access to a broader pool of talent, which is a Workplace DEI imperative. The removal of geographic constraints creates opportunities to hire a more diverse workforce.
“Camber has been intentional with its remote work structure. We believe that it allows us to access and activate a broader pool of incredible talent where they are, by enabling virtual jobs in a truly inclusive remote environment. We’re intentional about creating a workplace that attracts, supports, and retains a diversity of talent.
We’re also excited about the opportunity that hybrid and virtual work presents for increasing recruitment and retention among people with disabilities, many of whom have been on the forefront of making the case for virtual work for years.” – Camber Co-CEO Renita Smith
However, organizations also face challenges with today’s remote/hybrid work models.
Lack of Social Cohesion and Collaboration
- Remote and hybrid work models may cause some employees to feel disconnected and excluded in these new work models.
- Employers must take extra steps to foster connection, community, and teamwork.
Inequities in professional development and advancement
- Remote and hybrid employees often feel as if they are not given the same opportunity for advancement while in a remote or hybrid work model, in comparison to their counterpart working on sit in-office.
Establishing mentoring and sponsorship programs are another way to level the playing field and help to provide employees with additional support and professional development: See Camber Building Blocks of DEI Series #7: “Mentoring and Sponsorship.”
How can organizations address the above issues?
“It’s essential that organizations engage fully in the work of fostering Diversity, Equity, and inclusion as their organizations shift to a permanent remote and hybrid work model. There are immense benefits to be gained with these new ways of working, including broadening access to talent during a worker shortage, and gaining a breadth of insights that better reflects the current consumer base of the Outdoor Industry. To do this, organizations must first address the challenges of inequities in professional development between employees who are in the office and those who are working remotely.
For example, some companies are hosting all meetings virtually, so they don’t create a two-tiered-system between on-screen and in-person participants, avoiding imbalance when some employees are in the office and others are remote. This approach helps provide all employees with the same opportunity for exposure, engagement, and, ultimately, future advancement.” – Camber Co-CEO Emily Newman
Seek — and address — employee feedback.
- As organizations transition to remote and hybrid workplaces, seek employee feedback on how to make the workplace more inclusive, engaging, and supportive. Pay special attention to the needs of diverse and historically underrepresented talent. With careful planning and robust engagement of employee feedback via formal opportunities, like the Camber Survey System, leaders can create a culture of inclusion and level the playing field in this new corporate model. See Camber Building Blocks of DEI Series #13
Establish Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Support Systems and Structures
- Encourage the development of DEI support systems such as Employee Resource Groups: see Camber Building Blocks of DEI Series #3
Clearly communicate that diversity, equity, and inclusion is a priority
- Ensure senior level buy-in to DEI initiatives: See Building Blocks of DEI Series #2
- Effective communication is key to a company’s DEI success because it impacts employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and public perception. See Building Blocks of DEI Series #12.