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How is hybrid work changing the way people perceive commuting?

Hybrid work has been around for the past 2 years. The year 2020 came with a lot of changes. And as we normally don’t like changes, we will remember that year forever.

It was not just madly washing our hands, wearing masks, or panicking every single day. It was about changes that occurred in our personal and professional life. 

The biggest change for some was the glorious work from home. When the pandemic first kicked in, most employees were not happy with this decision. They didn’t like the noise from their neighbours that suddenly felt the urge to renovate, the pets that climbed all over them in meetings, or the internet that would randomly stop working. Sprinkle all of this with the panic that ensued in the media and you got yourself a great recipe. 

However, we are beings of adaptation and survival. We worked from home if that meant for us to be safe and sound. But as Covid’s threat felt smaller and smaller, employees and their needs were coming back to life. Coming back towards a more normal, hybrid work kind of lifestyle.

What happened to remote working?

After 2 years of remote working, everybody felt the benefits: less time spent commuting, less time spent getting ready for work, increased productivity, and the amazing ability to stay in your pyjamas in meetings without anyone knowing. But. There is always a but. 

@shutterstock

A study done by Mercer, which surveyed U.S. companies, highlighted that 83% of respondents are contemplating incorporating a flexible week into the work environment. 

So what do we want? 

Hybrid work.

When do we want it?

Now. 

One of the biggest reasons people want a flexible week is to feel like they are going to the office with all the perks that it offers while still reducing the time spent commuting for the rest of the week. 

A U.S survey that examined attitudes towards the work environment has identified that while collaborating with colleagues is the most important aspect when it comes to in-office work arrangements, most people would prefer not to commute every single day. 

Why do we dislike commuting?

So why do we dislike commuting so much? A good answer is that the pandemic made us rethink our priorities and the way we manage our time. We reconsidered how important family time is and how crucial having a life after work turns out to be. 

After 2 years of that, spending anywhere between 1 to 3 hours a day commuting feels like a way to lose time, instead of spending it doing your favourite hobby or having quality time with family or friends. 

Meet Mike and Milly 

Let’s work with our imagination a bit and imagine two different personas, Mike and Milly. 

They are both working a 9 to 5 and both have a family with two kids. Mike has been working remotely for the last 2 years and was looking for a flexible approach to working so he went to his PM and HR representative to ask about the possibility of hybrid work. The answer he got is that the company can not offer that and he could choose between continuing to work from home or coming to the office. The thing is his office was 60 minutes away, so that’s 2 hours daily spent commuting. None of these was what he wanted, but there was not much to do because it was company policy. Besides, of course, changing his job. 

On the other hand, we have Milly. She went with the same request and because her company cares about its employees and sees them as its most valuable resource, they considered her request and thought that they need to adapt. The company found out that many employees are having the same wishes so they found a great solution. The company offered Milly and her colleagues the chance of working in a hybrid fashion (not necessarily from home). Since then, 

Milly has been enjoying her local coffee shops so much more because she’s been working from there while the kids are in school.  She has also found out about the closest Nooka and really enjoys going at least once per week to work in a fully-focused mode.

Milly working from Nooka Sip Office
Nooka Sip Office, 2021

Now Milly can use the time she would have spent commuting, sleeping in, reading in the morning, or even going with her friend to a local cafe to drink their coffees together. There are always better alternatives to staying on the bus or in the car for one hour, falling asleep, and losing all your motivation. 

Milly’s scenario may sound a bit too perfect, but it is actually not. Nookas do exist and they do offer the solution to Milly’s and many other employees’ and companies’ problems. It is a great equipped workspace, close to home, that combines the beauty of going to the office with the proximity of having that office close to you. 

Time for some changes

It is time for companies and HR teams to think more about their employees’ needs and to reconsider and restructure the way they think about work. It’s time for them to look at people as valuable resources and to do their best to meet their needs. As the structure of the work environment changes, so will happen with all the components around it, transforming not only the way we work but where we work from or how we get there. 

Commuting for hours a day is not the solution anymore and it kills productivity. Having happy and enthusiastic employees is the key to successful companies.