Not All Managers Enthused About Hybrid Work, Citing Concerns

Will managers actually allow all-remote or hybrid work once offices fully re-open? That’s a pressing question as companies everywhere figure out when to bring employees back to the office, despite persistent concerns of the COVID-19 Delta variant. 

Analyst firm Robert Half recently queried 2,800 senior managers in multiple industries (finance, technology, marketing, legal, and more) about that very question. Many of those managers have concerns about hybrid work, which will allow employees to work from home a few days per week. Specifically, 22 percent voiced worries that hybrid work would interfere with team members’ ability to communicate with one another; another 20 percent feared they couldn’t trust employees to “get work done” from home.

Another 20 percent thought hybrid work would make it more difficult to determine proper workloads and help employees avoid burnout, while the same percentage felt that rewarding employee accomplishments would be harder in a hybrid environment. Slightly fewer (19 percent) are concerned about finding time for team development when various employees are working from home on any given day. 

Despite those concerns, sizable percentages of managers in most cities are planning on allowing part- and full-time remote work. Check out the chart:

One interesting thing to note: If you check out Robert Half’s full data set, you’ll notice that Austin is dead last (with 13 percent). That’s perhaps a little odd, considering Austin’s reputation as a cutting-edge tech hub, filled with companies that offer employees all sorts of perks and benefits. Perhaps that low percentage stems from companies in industries other than tech, but it’s hard to tell.

Based on data from Dice’s 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report, some 85 percent of technologists find the prospect of hybrid work anywhere from somewhat to extremely desirable. Ninety-four percent of younger technologists (i.e., those between 18 and 34 years old) think of a hybrid workplace as either somewhat, very or extremely desirable, compared to 84 percent of those aged 35 and older.

According to the Report, more than a quarter of technologists (26 percent) believe they’ll be allowed to work remotely full-time (i.e., five days per week) once COVID-19 restrictions permanently lift. 

Managers who insist all technologists come back to the office may be in for rude awakening. A July paper by researchers Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, and Steven J. Davis revealed that roughly 40 percent of those Americans “who currently work from home at least one day a week” would leave their current employment if their bosses made them return to the office full-time. After 15+ months of working remotely, technologists feel they can do their jobs perfectly well from their home office—and many are willing to push back hard against an employer who tries to take that away from them. 

2 Responses to “Not All Managers Enthused About Hybrid Work, Citing Concerns”

  1. Jake_Leone

    My company had a work 1 day from home policy about 15 years ago. My manager hated it. He was from the East Coast, had hit it big in options with another company and could afford a home near Sand Creek Road in Palo Alto. East Coaster’s have that 9-5 lifestyle, and if you don’t follow that, you aren’t seen as actually working.

    So for him, it was like why aren’t you in at 9am and leave an 6pm? Anyway, he got canned for reasons unrelated to his dislike of the work one-day from home policy. Politics mixed with stubbornness has a way of catching up with you.

    So I have been wearing a mask (at work, in public) for years now, because of a family member’s compromised immune system. And during that time I have had to endure the looks (even from the top of my company’s management). But hey, I haven’t had a cold for almost 6 years now.

    And I have come to realize that managers are idiots, who think only about the political implications of policy, they don’t actually care about measuring the reality. That’s why they rise to a management position.

    Engineering, medicine are about paying attention to test results.

    Right now, the manager’s have to shut up and listen to the external advice of the CDC and government. But when that advice stops, presumably because the Covid death rate falls, they are going to go back to their old political thinking. As in, can I sell this to the director, can the director sell it to the VP, and the VP sell it to the CEO, and can the CEO sell it to the BOD.

    And what will win will be whatever memes are out there that resonate with the person just above you. Or that resonate with you and your upbringing and culture and that of the person above you.

    None of it will be based upon the data.

    Just the lousy, flawed, inferences that humans draw upon all the time, without doing the hard work of actually looking at the data.

    And then there is also the fact that companies spent billions on new offices. Apple, Facebook, Google spent billions on Bay Area real estate. That is conveniently located to small homes (that cost 2 million$ each) that only upper management can afford.

    And those guys have got to go to the BOD and say, Well you know, Uh Uh, we spent a billion dollars on that head quarters. And you know, I mean, like our employees would be so much more productive. If we cram them altogether into a noisy office (software dev can all wear head phones, I mean that’s okay). And like waste their time, uh uh I mean they can spend 6 hours on the road. And btw, when have you ever heard anyone in the media ever say this, those big office buildings, located close to the CEO and VP’s multi-million dollar home. I mean nobody ever links that to Global warming. No, were safe there.

    Millions of workers on the road, for 6 hours a day, burning fuel, that’s not causing the global environmental crisis. But hey, if we have to say to stock holders, that billion we spent on offices closely located to upper management, I mean if we have to admit that to the stock holders, well that’s definitely a crisis. So no one ever say that to some clueless journalist, don’t let that meme out.

    And those employees, who don’t line up with Alexander, and keep looking the end of the Earth. Well, we’ll sack them quietly.

    Because it is impossible to face the aweful truth, programmers are more productive in their quiet, remote offices, in an affordable city. No way can that awful truth ever be known, no way, here take another hit. And anyone who knows it, or says it, they can hit the unemployment line.

    • @Jake_Leone I hear you and agree with you on all points except the one major point you make between the lines. Your pessimism rings loudly yet not truly. The future of most work is at home. It is clearly a better approach for all the reasons you mention….namely the environment, the individual, and yes the corporation. WFH critical mass will hit when collaboration technology nears optimal… and it will… when it does there will be no turning back. Then the problem to solve will be: WTF do we do with all this empty office space? One thought comes to mind: Solve the damn homeless problem!