As people have adapted to “the new normal”, it’s become clear that the norms of the past were in fact problems.

The number of the select few trusted people that worked from home has now exploded due to the Coronavirus.   For how long, nobody knows, but we are all doing life differently. Now, more people than ever before have been able to experience what it is like to carry out their role from the comfort of their own home or any various combinations between the home, office and with clients.

But, what does the future look like? Is this a societal shift that is here to stay? The multinational professional services network, Ernst & Young, recently announced a new set of data – the EY Future Workplace Index. This index tracks behavioral data and sentiment regarding workplaces in the future. The first data set made for interesting reading.

EY Future Workplace Index – Inaugural data

The EY Future Workplace Index showed that out of all office-based businesses, currently, 72% have adopted a hybrid working environment. This means that these organizations are having people work both and home and in the office. More interestingly, three-quarters of survey respondents don’t believe that either work location will become dominant in the future.

The results highlight our new reality. The working environment has changed on a fundamental level, and it seems highly likely that office work of the past has disappeared for good.

Critical gaps

According to a Leader of EY Global Real Estate, Mark Grinis, “hybrid work is here to stay”. Grinis also says that a “critical gap” has been revealed. He explains “guidelines are needed to maximize sustained workplace success in a hybrid environment.”

Culture improves thanks to hybrid working

The EY Future Index shows that hybrid working is here to stay, and it revealed the reasons. The flexibility for employees has evolved.  But now, 87% of companies say the role of the office has changed.

In terms of productivity, it would be easy to think that people are more distracted at home and more likely to procrastinate without the work-life separation that the office provides. In actual fact, the opposite is true. A majority 57% of leaders say that the levels of productivity among their workforce is higher than before the pandemic.  They’ll get it all done and more, and partly, to maintain trust and their privilege.

It’s not just business leaders who have noticed a difference with hybrid working; company culture, on the whole, has seen an improvement too. Many workers now say that their work set-up is just as effective, if not more effective, as it was before the pandemic. The improvements are with well-being, operations, productivity, and culture.

Final thoughts

So, while our planet recovers and adjusts, one area of society has realized a clear benefit. We’ll have to see what data the EY Future Workplace Index reveals. Watch this space!