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Hybrid Work and the High Costs of Getting it Wrong

Work from Home
April 11, 2022
min read
The future of work is here, how will your organization navigate it?

One thing is clear, the pandemic has disrupted and shifted the way organizations conduct work. As much of the world emerges from the pandemic, the focus is now on collaboration, employee experience, and navigating a hybrid work environment. 

Time is Ltd. surveyed 255 HR leaders across US companies with over 500 employees.  

Some offices are returning to fully in-office work, some will stay remote, and some will maintain a hybrid workplace — but, no matter which office model your organization decides to incorporate, the challenges are much the same. Inefficient meetings, email and Slack notification overload, and after hours work are costing your employees time that could be spent doing their actual jobs, and that time is costing your business a lot of money. Disengaged employees are going to lead to higher turnover rates, and high turnover rates drive up the cost of hiring and onboarding. 

The Evolving Workforce & HR's Identity Crisis
The last two pandemic-filled years have changed the nature of work, and HR leaders are struggling to adapt. That's the main takeaway from our new survey of 255 HR professionals. We went to HR leaders directly to discover the challenges they face with employee engagement, retention, onboarding, and more, and the results paint a picture of HR leaders being at a crossroads. 
See Whitepaper

Focus on employee experience, and see real ROI 

Here is a real world scenario that demonstrates how your organization can benefit from using a solution like Time is Ltd. Analytics to get your entire collaboration landscape under control…You’re an HR manager at a company with 800 employees, an average salary of $60,000, and a turnover rate of 10%. Let’s assume there are 21 workdays per month, and four weekends, at an hourly rate of $28.85 with a total of 2,080 hours. 

Their average workday looks like this: 

  • 2 hrs in meetings 
  • 1 hr emailing 
  • 1 hr instant messaging 
  • 4 hrs of focused worked 
  • 1 hr working after-hours to catch up 
  • 1 hr on the weekend  

Spread out over the course of a month or year, this time adds up. At this organization, there are currently more than 67,000 hours per month spent on collaboration, and more than 33,000 spent in meetings. 

In this scenario, cutting meetings by a modest 5% per month would save almost 1700 hours — the equivalent of 10 full time employees. That’s hard savings that can translate into a budget for new projects, new hires, and growth — in addition to being welcomed by employees across the organization. Cutting redundant and otherwise unnecessary meetings frees up more time for focused work, keeps employees engaged, and will also reduce after hours work. 

In fact, cutting after hours work should be a high priority. In our scenario, employees are spending 20,000 hours per month on collaborative activities outside of normal business hours, and it is no doubt contributing to higher turnover and much higher costs. Taken on their own, after hours collaboration is costing the organization more than $500,000 per month, and more than that if you count the costs of onboarding new hires due to high turnover…from all of that after hours work. 

In short, focusing on core employee experience metrics around meetings, collaboration, and after hours work has an outsized effect on two core business goals: Higher employee retention and an improved bottom line. Cutting turnover by just 5% can save a SME tens of thousands of dollars. At the enterprise level, that can amount to millions. That’s why using an employee experience platform can be a real game changer for your company. 

How can business leaders understand onsite or remote employee experience/performance? 

As companies try out various working models, improving the employee experience needs to be part of that decision-making process. In order to make a well-informed decision on how to structure your teams, be it, in-office, hybrid office settings or flexible “work from anywhere” policies - you need to understand how your workforce is collaborating today. 

Here are some aspects of work that you can measure to help get you there: 

How are your teams collaborating across work environments? 

  • What does your meeting culture look like?  
  • How much are they collaborating via emails, files, instant messaging? 
  • Who are they collaborating with? 
  • And how often?

Look at how your teams collaborate in different work environments to identify roadblocks to effective, focused work. The goal is to create the most effective work environment possible, and that starts with analyzing how your teams collaborate in different situations

Do employees have strong internal networks? 

Measure the average employee's network size by environment. The larger the employee’s internal network size is, the more likely they will be engaged and retained. Understanding the work environment that drives network size is a great first insight. After that, drill-down into how teams build their networks to understand how office, remote, or hybrid work impacts collaboration. 

Have you run employee surveys?

Conducting employee surveys are a powerful way to get a quick snapshot of employee sentiment; although, they are not sufficient for measuring the employee experience. If you overlay employee culture survey data with an employee experience platform, then you’ll have an incredible combination for diagnosing issues within a company, developing an action plan, and implementing actionable insights to drive meaningful ROI change. 

How much time do your employees have for undistracted, focused work? 

Look at the Focus Rate for every environment:  

  • Remote vs. onsite 
  • Focus rate by team 
  • Focus rate by day 

Different teams require various levels of focus rate. By drilling down into team-level focus rate and evaluating it against how much collaboration time a team requires, you can diagnose which teams are more effective at home, in the office, or in a hybrid setting. Digital collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and have enabled operations to continue, but it could be distracting your teams from getting focused work done. 

The Takeaway 

As companies look to implement a hybrid environment with onsite and remote teams, or stay fully remote, the challenges remain the same. Employers need to focus on the employee experience and ensure their teams stay engaged and retained. Using Time is Ltd. Analytics will equip you with the right data and insights to measure your work environments effectively, improve employee engagement, and save thousands of dollars.

How much is employee collaboration costing you?
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Article by
Ulf Zetterberg
Ulf has over 25 years of enterprise software and services experience in both corporate and entrepreneurial environments. Co-founder of the Seal Software which was acquired by DocuSign May 2020.
Article by
Ulf Zetterberg
Ulf has over 25 years of enterprise software and services experience in both corporate and entrepreneurial environments. Co-founder of the Seal Software which was acquired by DocuSign May 2020.

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