7 in 10 US firms have hazy hybrid work plans

Photo by Chris Montgomery

COVID-19 has redefined non-traditional work models, which were more likely to be viewed as employee perks before the pandemic, with just 24% United States-based companies have employees working onsite in 2021, according to a report from AT&T and Dubber.

On their behalf, Incisiv conducted a survey between October and November in 2021. The report titled The State of the Industry: Future of Work covered 303 US-based respondents — of whom 87% above are director level and with more than a million employees represented.

Lack of workplace innovation, insufficient oversight, and cultural shifts were identified as three barriers to successful hybrid work, but respondents believed they were not insurmountable. 

With investment in strategy, building culture remotely, and the application of technology — specifically AI — in critical business use-cases, firms can transition to a successful hybrid-first work environment.

The top challenges to effective hybrid work identified by CXOs include — maintaining employee oversight, losing institutional/tribal knowledge, and sustaining company culture – all traditionally highly associated with in-person work. 

Mass adoption of new work models has shown to be partially effective, with 79% of firms believing that employees have been productive, although not without resulting challenges, with only 45% confident in employee innovation throughout the period.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) were identified as the top transformative technologies in the survey, with their intrinsic value identified specifically in the areas of employee training, intelligent enterprise search and learning, and conversational help.

Also, the research found that 81% of respondents believe hybrid work will be the foremost working model by 2024, with 56% of work done offsite.

Further, 72% lack a detailed strategy and 76% don’t have the right key performance indicators (KPIs) to support hybrid working models.

About seven in every eight (86%) believe their employees prefer a hybrid work model, but 64% believe their organization prefers an on-premise work model.

All respondents believe a hybrid work model will help attract young talent.

“It’s clear that a successful talent program now requires a hybrid work policy, but that policy needs to be supported by a strategic tech-first cultural reset, to ensure business growth and competition,” said Alicia Dietsch, SVP at AT&T Business Marketing.

Dubber CEO Steve McGovern said that businesses moved with urgency to distance employees.

“Now they need to do the same when it comes to deploying the tools needed to overcome distance,” said McGovern.