The saying goes, “Good help is hard to find,”—and the Great Resignation has made finding any assistance nearly impossible. However, if you’re looking for contractors vetted for your specific role—human resources, technology, or administrative—PeopleCaddie
, a mobile staffing agency, connects skilled contractors with hiring managers.
Tim Rowley, chief technology officer, PeopleCaddie, recently spoke with WorkSpace Connect to gain his standpoint on hybrid work, employee productivity, best practices, and the future of employment.
Responses have been edited for conciseness and clarity.
How do you think embracing hybrid work as a permanent workplace feature can help combat labor shortages?
TR: The necessity to work full-time onsite in the pandemic-driven Zoom era has been a dealbreaker for many knowledge workers. While not as attractive as being able to work remotely 100% of the time, hybrid work will be more attractive than full-time onsite to a large portion of the workforce.
A recent study from Stanford University found
that a hybrid home/office work option was equivalent to a 10% pay raise regarding how employees valued it. Even if a meaningful portion of workers choose not to take advantage of the hybrid work option, [having a hybrid work policy] signals an empathetic and worker-friendly culture that can help to attract and retain talent.
How do you define “employee productivity,” and how does hybrid work impact productivity?
TR: Measurable goals and performance metrics differ widely based upon the industry, nature of an employee’s job, etc. However, at the individual level, we like to think about “employee productivity” as the employee’s actual production relative to what that employee can produce under ideal circumstances. At the company-wide level, we focus on operating income (earnings before interest and taxes) per employee.
For some employees, hybrid work has positively impacted productivity because the amount of time they used to spend getting ready for work and commuting has been reduced, allowing more time for production. It also affords them the opportunity for more flexibility on the remote work days to balance non-work responsibilities, leading to happier employees.
But there is another cohort of employees for whom working from home allows them to take advantage of the system, which is challenging for employers to detect. This challenge negatively impacts productivity. Companies must be diligent in identifying and weeding out bad actors to prevent them from spoiling hybrid work for everyone.
How has PeopleCaddie changed or clarified its best practices for employee reachability in response to the emerging reality of hybrid work schedules?
TR: In addition to liberal usage of video calls, PeopleCaddie utilizes communication tools enabling employees to see when other employees are active on their computers. We encourage our employees to “keep the green light turned on.” Employees should be active and reachable during the hours they are supposed to be working. If they will be “out of the office” (unavailable for an extended time), this must be communicated to their manager and shared with the team via Slack message.
What are the elements of a successful hybrid work model?
TR: The two most essential elements are individual accountability and communications systems that facilitate rapid communication amongst the team and enable transparency into worker availability without being too “Big Brother-ish.”
Tell us what you think the future of employment looks like.
TR: Understanding the value of the hybrid home/office to employees, employers in the “challenger” position or struggling to attract the required talent will continue to offer this option. But many market leaders—particularly in high-paying industries like financial services—have already signaled a desire to have workers return to the office on a full-time basis as soon as possible. I believe these “highly-desirable” employers will cease to offer the hybrid option as soon as the pandemic subsides.