Leaders hoping to introduce a hybrid work model into their offices must accomplish two main goals: first, to ensure their teams have access to required technology and secondly that they should know that designing and implementing a new working model may take years, says a recent report by the Conference Board of Canada

Research conducted using data from the 2020–2021 Employee Wellbeing in Times of COVID-19 survey determined that employee preferences regarding post-pandemic work arrangements vary widely along the virtual-office work continuum. On the one end are employees (23 per cent) who want to return to full-time work at the office, and at the other end are employees (28 per cent) who want to work remotely moving forward.

Employees split on where they want to work 

Government employees who split their time between the office and home during the pandemic prefer full-time remote work post-pandemic while those in healthcare and education prefer full-time on-site work. Almost all private sector managers and executives who spent little time working from home during the pandemic prefer to work more days at the office than at home post-pandemic. 

The survey determined that compromise will be necessary but challenging to negotiate. The issue is further complicated because employees’ needs and preferences with respect to how they want their work to be structured are varied. 

The complexity of the situation means that it is unlikely there will be a one-and-done plan soon. Employees must collectively adopt a test-and-learn mindset—experimenting and piloting as organizations take new approaches to work. Fortunately, says the Conference Board report, most organizations do have the luxury of time they need to make the types of changes needed to thrive in a post-pandemic world.