Most knowledge workers, such as computer programmers, physicians and lawyers, aren’t keen on giving up remote work even after the pandemic ends.

In fact, almost six in 10 (59 percent) prize keeping flexibility in the workplace to the point that they consider it more important than salary and other benefits, according to a poll by Jabra, a Danish provider of audio equipment and videoconference systems.

Its study surveyed about 5,000 knowledge workers in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany and Japan from May 21-June 10, 2021.

Knowledge workers, whose main capital is information, also don’t see offices as much more than a social amenity going forward. Almost three-quarters (71 percent) of those surveyed feel office space “will be considered an employee benefit rather than a mandatory way of working,” the report said.

The survey results suggest employers should reconsider any idea of forcing staff to return to the office full time once the pandemic subsides. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they wouldn’t work for an organization that required them to come into the office five days a week.

What most knowledge workers (68 percent) are keen on is a hybrid work model, the study found. In addition, about eight in 10 (81 percent) expressed the view that organizations “who embrace a hybrid model will have a competitive edge in the future.”

Organizations are unprepared for hybrid model

To be sure, knowledge workers have concerns about whether their employer are positioned to “navigate this space,” with two-thirds saying their company needs help in this area and only 20 percent expressing that their organization is “very prepared” for a hybrid-work model, the report said. Three in four employees stated they have concerns around poor communication practices and an “unequal playing field.”

To make a hybrid work environment as comfortable as possible for staff, 65 percent of respondents said managers should allow team members to set their own schedule instead of enforcing the standard 9-to-5.

“The challenge leaders have with hybrid working is to truly accept the new reality and let go of preconceived principles of leading people or managing organizations. Because of the truly fundamental changes in the way we lead teams — now virtual, global and oftentimes fully distributed — the skills that we need to lead in the new normal are something you have to learn in an entirely new way,” Holger Reisinger, senior vice president of Jabra, said in the study.

“Give people more autonomy to decide themselves where they are at their best, but leaders need to make equally sure that if employees choose to work from a location other than the headquarters, that they don’t feel left behind,” Reisinger added.

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