Many conversations about “the future of work” or “workplace flexibility” are about employees working from home, having a hybrid schedule, or being required to come into the office.

It’s a timely conversation about helping teams be productive, have a solid work-life balance, and avoid overwork. However, where people should congregate to get things done is a centuries-old conversation.

Did you know that one of the first true office buildings for private company use was built in 1726, nearly 300 years ago? For those of us living in the United States, the possibility of going to work each day in a large office building precedes the birth of our country.

Large, collective workspaces have persisted throughout the years, cycling from bullpens to open floor plans, from private offices to coworking spaces, and from daily commutes to “work from anywhere” policies.

After the pandemic, with office occupancy rates hovering around just 50%, many are asking: where should the modern workforce be working from? Are people really more productive at an office — or is this just the narrative micromanagers and real estate developers want us to believe? Let’s discuss what a modern workforce needs to succeed and help determine if RTO, hybrid, or remote is best for your team.

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What does a modern workforce need?

While different sectors and industries may have specific needs, these four key areas are worth focusing on when maximizing modern work.

1. Flexibility

Roughly 98% of workers say they want to work remotely at least part of the time, and employers are setting this expectation because 93% of companies plan to use remote tech to conduct job interviews. Interestingly, the same data shows one-third of hybrid employees would take a pay cut to go fully remote.

We’re also learning that mandating a return to the office (RTO) policy harms job satisfaction.

So then, to keep team members happy, you’ve got to listen to their feedback. And those workers are very interested in and invested in flexible work arrangements.

2. The centrality of technology

Up-to-date and easy-to-use technology is central to the modern workforce. When teams went remote in 2020, the most successful organizations already had a reliable tech stack to enable async collaboration and communication.

These days, many software systems have already moved to the cloud. We’re also seeing the need for increased technical knowledge, with data literacy becoming one of the most sought-after skills.

Employers are recognizing the value of modern technology. Employees interested in hybrid or virtual work can make the case that the right tech makes the daily commute to the office obsolete.

3. Coworker relationships

While half of remote workers say being remote could hurt their ability to feel connected to co-workers, roughly 66% of team members in every group (remote, hybrid, and on-site) say they are “extremely or very satisfied” with their workplace relationships. Today, many focus on creating a more robust work-life balance, which translates into stronger relationships outside the office.

Employers can support these relationships by allowing employees to set their schedules and mix in-person and online activities. The core to success here is choice, not mandates.

To put it another way, you don’t have to force team members to commute to combat loneliness and keep them socially connected.

4. Trust

One of the bigger surprises about the modern workforce is the current conversation around trust. The pandemic pushed many people to remote work before they felt ready, while some industries like shipping and logistics used this “opportunity” to increase surveillance and bossware. Trust became — and still is — a point of contention.

Thankfully, this dynamic is changing. Workers are discussing the need for privacy and trust more openly, and best-in-class companies are listening. According to Pew, 71% of adults who work remotely at least part of the time say their manager trusts them to get their work done. Trust is the foundation of great work and a positive employee experience.

Trust is getting its technology-fueled modern update as companies use technology to empower employees instead of staring over their shoulders. At Hubstaff, we’re about technology support — not surveillance.

What does this mean at Hubstaff?

Hubstaff continues our mission of making it easy for companies to help employees have their best day at work.

That means tackling and automating manual tasks, helping keep payroll accurate, and offering workforce data you can use to spot when your team is overwhelmed. That’s why we offer time tracking features that help leaders understand the health of their company and help employees get paid accurately.

Automation, accuracy, and ease of use — all of that is what you use to support modern workforces.

But today’s work is constantly evolving and always improving. The conversations we’re having with our customers and within our internal teams are around helping companies offer that “best day” experience and improving the remote employee experience (REX).

We’re also focusing on supporting workforce management tasks and offering more detailed reporting and Insights to help companies make the most of their teams, tools, and customer opportunities.

You can see the new framework by clicking on the “Features” tab at the top of pages like our homepage and then diving deeper into these categories — employee experience, reports and analytics, and workforce management.

These central pillars of our software will guide our thoughts and focus on what’s new and essential in the world of work. So, you’ll also start to see more direct coverage of those topics here on our blog and in upcoming research.

As our teams look deeper into successful startups and established enterprises, we’ll keep sharing what we find. And I’d like to invite you to do the same. Whether commenting, sharing, or emailing with us, you are a part of the modern workforce. It’s invaluable for you to speak up, and we’ll be listening.

Category: Workforce Management