After expertly adjusting to the disruption of the pandemic, employee demand for flexibility is shifting the future of the corporate workforce.
Corporate environments have never been more flexible than they are right now. When the pandemic hit, they rapidly found a way to adjust business models and workforce expectations in the name of business continuity. Now, the enduring conversation surrounds what the future corporate work environment may look like. There are discussions around the effectiveness of an entirely remote model, exploring hybrid options, and how a full time return to the office may limit resources.
With a scalable sales and delivery engine, Apex maintains working relationships and regular touchpoints with over 1,200 active clients, including with more than 380 of the Fortune 1,000 companies. Our pulse on some of the largest, most innovative companies in the world gives us a unique perspective on the changing workforce and how best to meet its shifting demands.
Onsite Model as a Legacy System
Working in an office setting has been engrained in the corporate culture for decades. While the traditional practices of closely managing teams and collaborating together physically have been somewhat debunked over the past year, some aspects of in-person work can still be beneficial. Office work creates built-in social circles, and research shows that many virtual employees miss their coworkers.
Apex recruiters have found that nearly 95% of potential candidates will not consider applying for job opportunities that require any onsite presence
Collaborating with teams, while still entirely possible in a remote model, is a drastically different experience from in the office setting. Employees are less likely to ask questions, seek feedback, or casually discuss ideas with their coworkers when those conversations require a formal invitation to a video call. The shared experience of commuting to work every morning and being there for a set period of time can help drive employee satisfaction, collaboration efforts, and business continuity. Additionally, working exclusively from home can lead to feelings of loneliness, and subsequently result in higher turnover and employee burnout.
The benefits of remote work, however, seem to outweigh the drawbacks for most employees. Apex recruiters find that nearly 95% of potential candidates will not consider applying for jobs that require any onsite presence. The staggering figure speaks to the current workforce’s overwhelming emphasis on schedule flexibility, and the significantly limited talent pool for employers who require onsite work.
Hybrid Environments Emerge as the New Normal
In a survey sampling over 100 of our top accounts, we found that 53% of our clients are operating entirely remotely. While the pandemic is still raising health and safety concerns, the goal for many of these companies is to eventually have some level of in-person engagement with their workforces. A hybrid model may strike the balance between the collaborative but often restrictive onsite work environment, and the flexibility of remote work.
The ‘best of both worlds’ strategy may seem like an obvious answer, but invoking a hybrid model poses a host of challenges for employers to consider. How often hybrid employees come into the office, how they are expected to collaborate with coworkers at home, and how we measure productivity will need to be established and likely refined over time.
While leaders may have preferences for how their teams are structured, the workforce itself is setting the tone for the future. With the majority of candidates demanding flexibility from their employers and over 55% looking to leave their jobs this year, some organizations may not be able to afford to require in-person work. Companies will have to embrace the flexibility of hybrid work to attract and retain top tier talent.
The pandemic changed the mindsets of workers, and their priorities have shifted drastically enough to leave millions of jobs open. Our survey showed that our top clients who are offering remote options are filling their open IT roles and onboarding resources 50% faster than their peers who require an onsite presence. The added time to source, identify, and onboard these new employees is not only hurting the bottom line, but is also likely to result in missing out on the best technical talent.
The pandemic redefined corporate workplace operations and although there may be an end in sight, the future of the workplace remains unclear. Traditional onsite office models are being challenged by an empowered workforce who has proven they can be just as productive at home. The demand for flexibility is driving employers to offer fluid workplace options in order to win the war for talent in this extremely competitive IT landscape.
*Director of Strategic Solutions Darin Stevenson also contributed to this article.