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Still Trying to Figure Out Hybrid Work? These 2 Gains May Convince You. The case for hybrid work isn't just about flexibility. It's about maximizing productivity and opening the talent pipeline.


If the latest statistics are any guide, demand for hybrid work isn't going anywhere. In 2023, 51% of knowledge workers are projected to work in a hybrid environment.1 The demand for flexibility is even expanding to frontline workers.2

You may hear hybrid work and think of employees coming up with their own schedules and not spending much time in person. In reality, hybrid just means flexibility in how, when, and where work gets done—tailored to your unique business needs and employee roles.

If your workplace hasn't yet embraced hybrid, here are two significant advantages that may sway you.

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1. Hybrid work boosts efficiency.

Many more businesses are leaning into a "productive anywhere" model. The focus isn't where the work is done, it's that the work is done. There's a good reason: Hybrid offers efficiency and productivity plusses for employers and employees.

The efficiency advantages for employees are obvious: They can work where and when necessary,3 using on-site hours to connect with colleagues and off-site hours to complete heads-down projects, for example. And those efficiency gains are measurable: happier, healthier employees,4 with nine out of 10 saying they were just as or more productive than pre-hybrid and are more likely to stay with their employer.5 That, in turn, pays dividends for business owners, with workers who are less likely to look for another job—particularly another job that may pay better.

Yet you may have concerns about keeping your team(s) connected, suggests Ina Purvanova, Ph.D., professor of leadership and management and department chair at the Zimpleman College of Business at Drake University. And that's a valid worry.

"If teams do not coordinate social time, team members can end up feeling very disconnected—first from the larger company, and eventually even from their team," Purvanova says.

This social time could be in-person (think in-office anchor days or bi-weekly team lunches) or virtual (think regular coffee chats or team games). What's most important is that you get input from your team—everyone has different appetites and tolerance for socializing (see tip No. 2).

"Coordinating social activities that are sufficiently frequent and predictable is emerging as a very important practice that keeps the 'ugly' face of hybrid—i.e., the eventual and almost inevitable disconnectedness—from revealing itself," Purvanova says.

2. Hybrid work enhances an inclusive, diverse culture.

Companies that weave diversity and inclusion into their culture find that hybrid helps recruit talent. Take neurodiverse individuals, for example: Traditional onsite work culture, including team meetings and social gatherings, may present obstacles. From home, more is in their control.

Expanding workplace location options can also help fill staffing needs in critical areas, such as information technology. For example, data science roles are expected to grow 15% in a decade.6 But there's a shortage of qualified professionals to meet that demand—up to 250,000 by some estimates.4

When you embrace a hybrid approach to filling positions like this, you also automatically expand your candidate pool. "You're now considering talent outside of your local city or region, which could mean recruiting and hiring from more diverse communities," says Miriam Lewis, chief inclusion officer at Principal®.

Like efficiency gains, hybrid-enhanced diversity and inclusion efforts can boost businesses' financial performance7 and innovation.8 Intentional conversations about communication, workplace needs, transitions, and calculating impact for a more diverse workforce can pay off—for employees and employers.

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Zimpleman College of Business at Drake University is not an affiliate of any member company of the Principal Financial Group®

This content is intended to be educational in nature and is not intended to be taken as a recommendation.

Insurance products issued by Principal National Life Insurance Co (except in NY) and Principal Life Insurance Company®. Plan administrative services offered by Principal Life. Principal Funds, Inc. is distributed by Principal Funds Distributor, Inc. Securities offered through Principal Securities, Inc., member SIPC and/or independent broker/dealers. Referenced companies are members of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392. ©2023 Principal Financial Services, Inc.


1 Gartner

2 Gartner

3 Gallup

4 Forbes

5 Accenture

6 Bureau of Labor Statistics

7 Gartner

8 McKinsey