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Hybrid work backlash ‘could damage companies’ | Adam McCulloch

Two international business organisations have sounded warnings over emerging trends among leaders as 2024 nears.

Business consultancy Gartner says its research has found that many leaders mistakenly feel that a return to the office is the only way to promote productivity, visibility and loyalty, and are planning to take their moment – as turnover slows during the slowing economic conditions – to mandate a more office-centric workforce strategy.

Meanwhile, Cpl Talent Evolution Group has warned that companies are de-prioritising diversity and inclusion and introducing AI software that risks increasing or perpetuating bias.

Gartner said leaders who were calling for a return to the office had failed to recognise the full benefits of hybrid work. It said its research found that 69% of business leaders had concerns about collaboration, culture, creativity and engagement and 54% of HR leaders believed their employees are less connected to their organisations than they were before the pandemic.

However, it had also found that more than half of employees with “radical flexibility” reported a high degree of connectedness, whereas just 18% of those with low flexibility did so. Additionally, employees who were allowed to decide when they work were 2.3 times more likely to achieve higher performance than employees without autonomy.

Caitlin Duffy, director in the Gartner HR practice, said mandating an office-centric approach to working was “a mistake” that overlooked the…

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