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Work From Anywhere Model: What Employees Want

The work-only-on-premise model appears to be a thing of the past as more than 80 percent of some 9,300 workers in a worldwide survey favor a hybrid environment where employees work remotely at least 25 percent of the time, Accenture research found.

It seems that the mix-and-match workplace is here to stay, the consultant suggests in its new report entitled The Future of Work: Productive Anywhere. Four in 10 people surveyed believe that they can be productive in a setting that's either fully remote, onsite or a mix of both. Moreover, in a nod to employee retention, some 85 percent of people who said they can be productive and healthy anywhere also said they plan to stay with their company for a long time.

With many organizations either opening or considering opening their workplaces, oddly enough it’s those in their 20s (Gen Z) who would prefer to collaborate with colleagues face-to-face, (74%), far more than those in their 40s, Generation Xers (66%) and Baby Boomers (68%), according to Accenture’s findings.

“There’s a pattern emerging in the post-pandemic workforce--the ‘productive, anywhere’ worker,” said Christie Smith, an Accenture senior managing director who leads the consultant’s Talent & Organization/Human Potential unit. “This new workforce segment consists of individuals who remain productive, whether on-site or at home, and who have the strongest personal and organizational resources.” The “future of work dialogue” shouldn’t be just about where people work, she said, but also about what “drives the productivity, health and resilience of our people.”

Here are some more details from the study:

  • No matter the work setting, having the right resources on an individual and organizational level is what separates workers who are productive anywhere (40%) from those who feel disconnected and frustrated (8%). Resources range from job autonomy and positive mental health to supportive leadership and a digitally mature organization. Stress is not a factor.
  • 63 percent of high revenue growth companies have already enabled productivity anywhere workforce models, where employees have the option of working remotely or on-site.
  • 69% percent of negative or no-growth companies are still focused on where people are going to physically work, favoring all on-site or remote rather than enabling hybrid.

“People who have the option to work in a hybrid model are better able to manage mental health challenges, have stronger work relationships and plan to stay with their companies a long time,” said Yaarit Silverstone, Accenture Strategy, senior managing director and North America lead for its Talent & Organization/Human Potential unit.

Accenture recommends that organizations consider the following to refine their work model:

  • Develop a strategy that ensures workers are better off in their work relationships and physical, emotional and mental well being as they transition to new work spaces, teams and roles.
  • Acknowledge and respond to the needs of all types of workers. Organizations that support psychological and physical safety foster trust.
  • Focus on designing tailored skill building and learning paths that serve the needs of all workforce segments. Digitally fluent organizations have higher revenue growth and are more likely to be considered great places to work.
  • Create environments in which the board, chief executive and entire C-suite work together irrespective of location.