Hybrid Work is Standard, But Approaches Vary

Organizations’ primary motivation for supporting hybrid work is to optimize their real estate portfolio. Most organizations ask employees to spend half their time or more in the office, with less than 10% requiring in-office work full time.

Despite having similar motivations and policies, organizations’ approaches to hybrid work vary, particularly by portfolio size. For example, participants with medium-sized portfolios are not investing in training workers on effective hybrid work practices and are offering training for managers at significantly lower rates than their peers. While most participants are investing in technology tools to support hybrid work and collaboration, companies with larger portfolios are more likely to implement the training, change management, and communication programs needed to drive transformation.

Figure 1: What are the goals for supporting hybrid work?

Source: CBRE Workplace & Occupancy Benchmarking Program, 2023.

Figure 2: Which of the following is included in your hybrid work program?

Source: CBRE Workplace & Occupancy Benchmarking Program, 2023.

There Are Gaps Between What Organizations Want and What Policies Say

Organizations create workplace policies to establish cultural norms and guide employees’ behavior. These policies are especially important for setting clear expectations during times of change but must be communicated clearly and consistently to drive the desired behaviors. When we compare the behaviors that policies target to the behaviors that policies communicate, we see a disconnect between what leaders expect and the direction they give employees. No wonder 81% of participants say leadership expectations and employee behavior are not in sync.

Figure 3 & 4: The difference between targeted behavior and policy requirements

FIG3-4-v2

Source: CBRE Workplace & Occupancy Benchmarking Program, 2023.

Common Characteristics of Successful Hybrid Work Programs

Only 19% of participants claim to have successful hybrid programs where employee behaviors and leadership expectations align. These organizations have common characteristics—most notably, all of them have documented workplace policies and guidelines. Those organizations that have clearly communicated leadership expectations are most likely to see the desired behaviors from employees.

Figure 5: Are the hybrid work expectations of leaders and employee behaviors in sync?

Source: CBRE Workplace & Occupancy Benchmarking Program, 2023.

In Addition to Clear Guidelines, Successful Hybrid Programs Also Include:

Policies that offer employees flexibility
89% of these organizations offer remote work 1-2 days per week.
Office designs that support hybrid work styles
63% of these organizations have office portfolios primarily designed for activity-based working, and 25% are designed primarily for focus-based working.
Investment in tools to support hybrid collaboration
44% include both change management and technology investments in their hybrid work program.

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