IR Global members offer jurisdiction-specific advice on how you can adapt to succeed in the hybrid working environment. In the following pages you will hear from 45+ IR members who share their insight and advice on hybrid working, bringing a unique vantage point from jurisdictions around the world. We believe that, to make hybrid successful, you need tailored advice. Our member-firms are on hand to offer this advice to organisations and businesses around the world.
Organisations are combining on-premise and remote working in a post-pandemic landscape, but this ‘hybrid’ approach brings both commercial benefits and operational challenges. IR Global explores the impact hybrid is having on businesses worldwide.
Fairly early in the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us realised there would be no ‘return to normal’. In a matter of weeks, the world had fundamentally changed: whatever emerged from the other side of the experience would be very different from what existed ‘before’.
For most businesses worldwide, the shift was sudden and swift. Covid-19 measures necessitated a quick change to a new way of operating, with remote working becoming the rule, as opposed to the exception, almost overnight. Now, as we emerge slowly into a post-pandemic landscape, the emergency measures that instigated that change are, largely, over – but the demand for remote working is not.
Many employees have realised that remote work affords them a better life-work balance, with less stress, less commuting and more control over their time. Organisations that successfully navigated the remote work revolution also realised that it had a positive impact on business, with fewer on-premise employees resulting in lower overheads, more efficiency and, surprisingly, better communication and collaboration.
Yet on the other side of the coin, many businesses and individuals have come to recognise that a fully remote workforce is not sustainable in the long-term. While 73% of global employees want more flexible remote working to stay, 67% want more in-person collaboration post-pandemic. Issues ranging from loneliness to erosion of business culture and accountability have marred an otherwise positive experience, resulting in the search for the perfect middle-ground between ‘remote’ and ‘on-premise’ structure.
The result is ‘hybrid working’, a combination of remote and on-premise work, tailored to each business, and even each employee, to improve employee experience and achieve better commercial results for employers. Hybrid work models are now embraced by 63% of high-revenue growth companies, while 69% of companies with negative or no growth have rejected the concept of hybrid workforces. As Gartner’s George Penn put it, “Success in a hybrid work environment requires employers to move beyond viewing remote or hybrid environments as a temporary or short-term strategy and to treat it as an opportunity.”
Yet hybrid working is not without its challenges: there are generational, cultural and locational differences that impact on the success of the model. Not every employee will have the same home environment to work from, whether that’s due to personal circumstances (such as a lack of dedicated home office space or childcare) or regional infrastructural issues (like poor internet access or unreliable utilities). In terms of generational issues, there can be significant disparities between employees even within one business, in one location.
Research has found that the majority of generation Z – younger employees who are emerging into the workforce today – prefer to interact with colleagues face-to-face, compared to just 66% of generation X and 68% of ‘baby boomers’.
If incoming workers prefer to interact in person, and older, more experienced employees prefer to work remotely, how can businesses ensure that skills, expertise and workplace culture are being successfully shared? While this does not need to be an obstacle to hybrid work, it is an important concern that organisations need to address as they create their ‘new normal’ – one that you will find a host of regional advice on throughout this publication.
In some jurisdictions, there are also legal, contractual and tax implications that need to be navigated if businesses are going to benefit from hybrid, rather than be hindered by it. While some jurisdictions have already developed robust hybrid policies and support – such as ‘workation’ visas and cross-border taxation agreement – others are lagging behind, creating additional strain on organisation’s HR, legal and payroll teams.
Hybrid is also changing the way that businesses approach their need for physical workspace: 66% of leaders say they are considering redesigning their office space for hybrid work, with fewer desks and increased communal spaces. This shift to remote work has changed the domestic property market, too, with changing demands for property locations and features.
While hybrid is an opportunity, it is also undeniably an additional strain for businesses: there is no hybrid model that you can ‘buy-in’ or replicate. To make hybrid successful, you need tailored advice. In the following pages, IR Global members share their insight and advice on hybrid working, bringing a unique vantage point from jurisdictions around the world.