- The lack of established norms in a hybrid work setting may make it 12% more likely that workers will leave, according to research published April 17 by consulting firm Gartner.
- Gartner outlined three areas of norms found in successful hybrid work models, including norms that support visibility, flexibility and connection. For example, a Gartner survey found that the practice of sharing work preferences with team members can lead to higher engagement, inclusion and performance compared to teams that do not.
- When it comes to connectivity in a hybrid space, employers can improve outcomes by facilitating periodic in-person meetings and on-site work with managers rather than instituting more rigid in-person mandates, Gartner said. The company said its research found that the best hybrid work models offer employees three or more days of remote work per week.
Flexible work models like hybrid work remain a key part of the talent conversation, and recent research paints a complex picture of the models’ effects on workers and workplace culture.
Hybrid work can be beneficial to workers by affording them more time to focus on their well-being, according to an International Work Group survey that found 65% of hybrid-work respondents said they had more time for exercise and also reported getting the equivalent of nearly three full days of additional sleep per year. The use of hybrid work to balance complex needs like child care has made it an effective recruiting tool, a separate IWG survey of HR professionals found in 2022.
However, other organizations have linked hybrid work and remote work to negative outcomes for workers. In February, the Integrated Benefits Institute published research showing that workers in flexible models had an increased rate of anxiety and depression symptoms compared to in-person workers. A Glassdoor report found that home-based work earned lower ratings from early-career workers than those in more senior roles, while a DDI report found that hybrid work may lead to declining employee confidence in leadership.
Still others have found that one-size-fits-all hybrid work models are more likely to lead to decreased engagement, productivity and retention than frameworks that allow for greater employee choice as well as negotiation between managers and employees. Employers also may need to address a lack of investment in employee connection.
“Today’s hybrid work models lack the informal channels for absorbing norms that are present in an office setting,” Caitlin Duffy, research director in Gartner’s HR practice, said in a statement from the firm. “As organizations create more formalized hybrid work models, HR leaders can reduce work friction and increase engagement by establishing and communicating new norms more intentionally and explicitly.”