You Need To Ask Your Employees How THEY Want to Work (BTW: One Survey Is Not Enough)

Hannah Watkins
Hannah Watkins|

Companies of all shapes and sizes are trying to work out how they want to work in the future. It’s no mean feat: every employee has different needs and preferences, meaning that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the workspace puzzle. 

When it comes to finding the best strategy for your company, the most valuable thing you can do is communicate regularly with your employees, and find out how they want to work. 

In the future, we truly believe that the companies who listen to their employees’ needs will be the ones who thrive—not only because their team members feel valued (and consequently, more productive), but also because they’ll be much better placed to hire the best talent in the future.

Not enough employees are being asked how they want to work

The problem is, most employers aren’t talking to their workers. As Perkbox highlighted in their recent survey, less than a third of employers have actually asked their employees how they wish to work in the future. 

This stat is concerning. In our Should We Ditch the Office? Survey, it was clear that everyone has had different experiences of home working during the pandemic—meaning that any rash decisions on future policies (whether it be ordering everyone back to the office to declaring your company fully-remote) could seriously impact employees’ wellbeing and productivity.  

Our investigations also found that there are significant differences between how employees of different generations have found working from home. This is crucial information; with a much higher proportion of Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers in positions of seniority than their Gen Z counterparts, what’s best for some may be different from what’s best for those affected by their decisions. 

One survey isn’t enough

Of course, many companies are speaking to their employees. One common way of doing so is via a survey.

A survey is an excellent way of gathering key data. We recommend using one to get insights around your team members’ working environments, challenges, and future preferences. 

With the HubbleHQ Workplace Strategy Tool, we make it easy for you to do this; we’ve carefully curated the questions so that you get the answers you need. You’ll also have a dashboard in which you can instantly see your team’s results, plus expert advisors on hand to help you configure a workplace strategy that’s right for your employees—whether that involves giving them better home working equipment or passes to local coworking spaces

But once you’ve done one survey, it’s important to keep up the habit. As we all know, this is a turbulent time—and the circumstances in which people are working change so often that how they felt a few months, weeks, or even days ago may well be different to how they feel now.

Changing circumstances

At the beginning of the pandemic, for instance, some employees found working from home quite a “treat”—especially those working in businesses or industries where flexible working arrangements were rare or frowned upon. 

But 6+ months in, the novelty may be wearing off for some employees—social isolation might feel more acute now, and new challenges may have surfaced.

On the flip side, those who felt extra-isolated at the beginning of the crisis may now have developed new habits or be part of “social bubbles” that make the experience more bearable. Likewise, parents who struggled to juggle childcare and work when the schools were closed may have felt less of a burden when term recommenced.

Google re-surveyed their team on working preferences—and opinions had changed

As proof of how quickly preferences can change, Google recently shared on Twitter the results of their own internal survey, which revealed that the proportion of employees who wanted to stay working remotely forever had halved between May and July. 

They also found that the proportion who wanted to go back into the office part-time had grown slightly in the same period.

These changes show how preferences can change even in a very short period of time, and the danger of relying on old data to make future plans.

Keep checking in with your team

If you’ve already asked your team how they want to work in the future, that’s fantastic. But it’s important to remember that there are so many things that can change an employee’s experience of working from home, and it’ll take some time for all of the influential factors to be understood. 

As such, it’s important to continually check in with your team and be agile with your working practices. With the HubbleHQ Workplace Strategy Tool, you can keep surveying your team members as often as you like, and all of the results will remain easily accessible and comparable via your company dashboard.

Not only will you have clear, actionable insights to inform your future strategy, but your employees will thrive in the knowledge that their needs are being listened to. Try the Tool now:

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