New research shows that the majority of employers are still actively planning or considering changes to the way employees work.

According to a new survey from XpertHR, 69.9 per cent of organisations are still actively planning or considering permanent changes to where employees carry out their work as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Conversely, fewer than one in 20 (3.8 per cent) are not contemplating any changes – showing how the world of work has now changed for most people.

When questioned on the most influential factor which will impact the workplace strategy most, over a quarter of employers (27 per cent) stated it was a survey of the employees’ preferences.

This was followed by just under a fifth (17.8 per cent) ensuring COVID-19 secure workplace/physical restrictions on workplace capacity and one in seven (14.2 per cent) stating employee wellbeing is a priority.

Only 6 per cent of organisations list cost savings as the most influential factor when it comes to plans for the future of the workplace.

When considering the workplace strategy, three in 10 organisations (30.5 per cent) said all employees will be working on a hybrid basis while one in 10 (10.5 per cent) will have a mix of hybrid for some employees and fully remote working for others.

To make hybrid working a success, HR felt that the key was to train and develop line managers to manage the new style of working, monitoring wellbeing, continuing to maintain positive levels of employee engagement and managing staff who are reluctant to return to the office.

Noelle Murphy, senior HR practice editor at XpertHR, stated:

The past 16 months have thrown HR professionals into unchartered waters, and this uncertainty continues as we step out of lockdown restrictions.

HR are driving the move to new models and are looking to create strategies that facilitate teamwork, collaboration and connection. Using lessons learned over the past year or so, HR are approaching this new world of work thoughtfully, taking steps informed by the people who will be impacted by them most.

Cost, senior leadership preferences, nor time seem to be the strongest influence on HR’s strategy. Instead, a focus on employees, their wellbeing, and their engagement is taking precedence.

With such an opportunity to shape workplaces in a way never seen before, HR professionals need to make sure they can properly understand and keep up with the changes and desires within their own organisation, and the market.


*XpertHR’s 2021 survey on the future of the workplace was conducted in May 2021. Responses were received from 296 organisations, collectively employing 371,429 people.