by | Aug 12, 2021


As companies anticipate bringing employees back to the office after the pandemic, most seem to be surveying employees to determine their preferences. According to Gallup, 20% of employees would like to remain full-time remote for the long term. Another 50% would like to return on a hybrid model, but definitions of what, exactly, that means vary widely. Some employees see hybrid as showing up in the office once every month or quarter for team meetings, company events or other occasional reasons. Others imagine themselves going into the office once a week or so, and a few see hybrid as more of a flexibility option to be used once in a while, when they need to work from home for some family reason or to meet a repair guy.

The most common hybrid equation we’ve seen, shared by most of Tribe’s clients and many other large companies we benchmark with, seems to be two days in the office and three working remotely. Many companies have pushed back their date for return to office as new variants have surfaced, or are planning more of a soft open.


Given the current job market, companies seem inclined to give employees what they want, if only to keep them from jumping ship. Of current employees, 48% are job hunting or keeping their eyes open for new opportunities, according to this Gallup report on the Great Resignation. Talent teams are alarmed by the statistics on employees quitting their jobs right now, many without another job to move into. And although engagement was low before the pandemic, the numbers now are even worse.

Although a few well-known companies like Delta and JPMorgan have announced that all employees will be required to work in the office post-pandemic, more seem to assume that would be a deal breaker for many of their employees and they don’t want to risk losing that talent. Others seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach — or announcing plans but reserving the right to change course if it doesn’t seem to be working.


Although a hybrid model can help employers compete in the talent market, there are other factors at play in the game to retain employees. Not all employees fared the same during lockdown. In Tribe’s national research with employees, we saw interesting differences in extroverts vs. introverts, parents (particularly mothers) and young employees living alone. The common storyline is that employees thrived in the remote model, claiming higher productivity and improved life-balance.

But there also is a much higher incidence of mental health issues now than prior to the pandemic, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2021 report. Employees reported a surprising degree of negative emotions experienced the previous day:

• 48% Daily worry

• 57% Daily stress

• 22% Daily anger

• 26% Daily sadness

All this suggests that many employees are not thriving. If your company can figure out how to help them thrive, both at work and in their personal lives, that may be the best possible way to compete in a tight talent market. For more on post-pandemic employee priorities that go beyond just offering a hybrid work schedule, you might like the Best Practices one-pager on attracting talent.

Interested in new ways to engage your employees as we emerge from the pandemic? Tribe can help.


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