Hybrid Teams Will Be More Diverse than In-Office Teams
New research continues to unearth important findings in the return-to-office debate.
Most recently, a LinkedIn study found that more than a third of workers would quit their job if their employer demanded full time in-person work. Furthermore, a whopping 52% of women responded that they would consider flexibility a deal breaker in their employment contract.
These numbers are significant. They add to the growing bank of evidence that forcing a rigid system risks seriously jeopardizing the diversity of our workplace and teams.
Hybrid work provides a solution. In offering tailored flexibility to your employees, you are far more likely to attract, retain and foster diverse talent.
In this article, we’ll show you how hybrid teams are more diverse — and why that is good news for your organization.
Return-to-office could homogenize your workforce
Humans are notoriously skilled at adapting to new environments.
That’s why — having undergone the biggest shift in work habits since the industrial revolution — it’s now a very tall order to ask that we return to a world where we work in a physical office for 5 days a week.
In demanding such a regression — which many tech companies are now starting to do — we run the risk of excluding whole groups of people from our workforces:
- People with unique family dynamics that mean they are unable to leave their households every day to be present in an office
- People with diverse financial backgrounds for whom a hybrid system is a must-have, relieving financial stress while providing the benefits of face-to-face work
- People with special physical and mental needs that prevent full-time in-person work
- People who are naturally inclined to thriving in a solo environment
Enforcing office-only work will ultimately end up benefitting groups of people that are already in the privileged position of suiting such a working system.
We’ll be picking talent from a pond, not an ocean.
Hybrid work attracts diversity and inclusivity
The flipside to a world where in-person work becomes exclusive **is a system which fosters inclusivity and diversity at its core.
Hybrid work is just that system.
By heroing policies for the balance of in-person and remote work, companies find themselves naturally attracting a much more diverse and inclusive workforce, on several accounts:
When a company hires exclusively in a certain geographic area, they inevitably miss out on qualified candidates from other regions. Remote work opportunities attract employees from different parts of the country and the world. This locational variety brings a variety of perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds to the team.
Employees who have disabilities, family responsibilities or other unique circumstances may find it difficult to work in a traditional office setting. The inbuilt flexibility that comes with hybrid work means a company can accommodate these employees and ensure they can contribute to the team just as effectively.
Culture of communication and collaboration
Hybrid teams promote collaboration and communication. With a workforce divided between the office and home, a tool for hybrid work goes a long way towards keeping communication channels open and productive – where everyone feels empowered to participate. The strength and health of hybrid cultures are a major factor in both in attracting and retaining diverse talent.
Diversity unlocks productivity
The best part? Diverse teams perform better.
A study by McKinsey found that companies with ethnic diversity were 36% more likely to outperform companies that were less diverse, while gender diverse companies were 25% more effective.
It makes sense. A more diverse and inclusive workforce leads to a stronger culture. A stronger culture creates happier teams. Happier teams are more focused, driven and productive.
Hybrid models of working value the unique needs of each individual employee — and the result is employees feeling seen.
Hybrid work is not only a galvanizer of diversity — it’s also the perfect complement to a diverse team.
The “S” of ESG
Diversity and inclusivity are not just important from a business perspective; they are also intertwined with the “social” frontier of a company’s ESG mission.
Companies that prioritize diversity and inclusivity are more likely to attract socially responsible investors, who are increasingly looking beyond financial metrics when evaluating companies.
Beyond the enormous benefits hybrid work has for a company’s environmental outlook, transitioning to a flexible working system comes with similar gains for an organization’s diversity and inclusivity.
Such gains can become an important part of a company’s mission to uphold the highest social standards — and fly the flag of equality and tolerance.
Hybrid teams offer the best of both worlds
The beauty of hybrid work is its commitment to offering the best of both remote and in-person work.
Hybrid organizations understand that — while remote work makes most sense for some of their employees — others are more suited to office-based work.
Furthermore, they understand that building healthy communities depends on managing this balance intelligently — and ensuring the complexity of a fluctuating workforce acts for them, rather than against them.
That’s why the best hybrid companies work with a tool to help them navigate their new working system – whether that be in desk booking, team coordination or meeting room management. It’s one thing claiming you have hybrid policies — and quite another thing implementing them successfully.
Setting yourself up as a fully functioning hybrid organization will go a long, long way towards ensuring you are building and nurturing diversity in your teams.