May 25, 2021
A ‘Work Anywhere’ Workplace is What Employees Actually Want Today, According to New Report by Accenture
NEW YORK; May 25, 2021 – As organizations around the world make plans for their people to return to the workplace, the latest research report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) finds that 83% of people say a hybrid work model is optimal ─ where individuals have the ability to work remotely between 25% and 75% of the time.
The research report encompassing 9,326 workers in 11 countries titled, “The Future of Work: Productive Anywhere,” found that 40% of individuals feel they can be productive and healthy anywhere — either fully remote or onsite or a combination of the two — as the hybrid workplace emerges.
Further, 85% of people who say they can be productive and healthy anywhere also say they plan to stay with their company for a long time. However, finding a hybrid model that works for all generations may be a challenge: three in four Gen Zers (74%) want more opportunities to collaborate with colleagues face-to-face, a higher percentage than Gen Xers (66%) and Baby Boomers (68%).
“There’s a pattern emerging in the post-pandemic workforce — the ‘productive, anywhere’ worker,” said Christie Smith, senior managing director and global lead of Talent & Organization / Human Potential. “This new workforce segment consists of individuals who remain productive — whether on-site or at home — and who have the strongest personal and organizational resources. As responsible leaders, we need to pivot the future of work dialogue to be not just about location, but to also address what drives the productivity, health and resilience of our people.”
The report uncovered that what separates those workers who are productive anywhere (40%) from those who are disconnected and frustrated (8%), is not stress, but whether they have the right resources on an individual and organizational level to help them be productive anywhere. These resources range from job autonomy and positive mental health to supportive leadership and a digitally mature organization.
Further, organizations that enable a resilient workforce to be more productive and healthier anywhere are also reaping financial benefits: 63% of high revenue growth companies have already enabled productivity anywhere workforce models, where employees have the option of working remotely or on-site. While the vast majority (69%) of negative or no-growth companies are still focused on where people are going to physically work, favoring all on-site or remote rather than enabling hybrid.
“People who have the option to work in a hybrid model are better able to manage mental health challenges, have stronger work relationships and plan to stay with their companies a long time,” added Yaarit Silverstone, Accenture Strategy, senior managing director and North America lead for Talent & Organization / Human Potential. “Many conversations on the future of work revolve around location, but leaders need to instead ask how to unlock people’s potential anywhere.”
As responsible leaders consider the various options available to their workforces, they must move beyond a focus on physical location to shape a future of work that provides their people with the resources they need to be productive anywhere. Accenture recommends that organizations consider these specific actions:
- Accelerate Modern HR – The world around us has changed, and HR policies and practices must evolve. Develop a strategy that ensures workers are Net Better Off — across six workplace dimensions including relational, physical, emotional and mental — as they transition to new workspaces, teams and roles.
- Design work around people – Organizations must acknowledge and respond to the needs of all types of workers. Organizations that support psychological and physical safety will foster trust.
- Build digital fluency – Digitally fluent organizations have higher revenue growth and are more likely to be considered great places to work. Focus on designing tailored skilling and learning paths that serve the needs of all workforce segments.
- Lead with humanity – Responsible leaders create environments in which the Modern Board, CEO and entire C-suite work together — no matter where they are.
About the Research
Accenture Research fielded a survey during the month of March 2021 to 9,326 global workers across the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, UK & US and the following industries: Banking/Insurance/Capital Markets, High Tech, Retail, Customer Goods & Services, Public Sector, Healthcare, Communications and Media, Utilities, Energy and Life Sciences.
The research analysis was conducted as follows:
- Workforce clusters: Workers were classified into four distinct clusters based on their responses to items on productivity and health scales. “On-site productivity only” workers were those who achieved a mean score of 3.5 or higher on the on-site productivity scale and lower than a 3.49 mean score on the remote productivity scale. “Remote productivity only workers” were classified as those who achieved a 3.5 mean score or higher on the remote productivity scale and lower than 3.49 on the on-site productivity scale. The “productive anywhere (hybrid) workers” were classified based on mean scores of 3.5 or higher on both remote and on-site productivity scales. Lastly, the “non-productive group” were those who scored below a 3.49 mean on both productivity scales.
- Workforce mindsets were derived after assessing workforce sentiments on over 140 questions and grouped into 4 primary mindsets using factor analysis and reliability testing.
- To better understand what was driving the productivity and health of workers in on-site and remote locations we ran a hierarchical regression analysis of 18 organizational variables, controlling for individual differences such as age, tenure, industry, geography, gender. The results reported are those that were statically significant where productivity regressed on the organizational resources.
- An ANOVA test was conducted to determine the differences in organizational level resources experienced between our workforce clusters, focusing closely on the differences in our productive anywhere group and those who felt they could not be productive on-site or remotely. Statistically significant differences across the 18 variables tested are reported.
- Finally, we assessed perceptions of company performance and correlated Net Better Off scores (see Care to Do Better report) and workforce clusters with 3-year revenue growth.
Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries, we offer Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services — all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. Our 537,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. We embrace the power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities. Visit www.accenture.com.
Accenture’s Talent & Organization / Human Potential connects people and technology to unlock human ingenuity and drive enterprise wide change. To learn more, visit https://www.accenture.com/us-en/services/talent-organization-human-potential-index .
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