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Flexible working is here to stay, claims Microsoft

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/bikeriderlondon)

Hybrid (or flexible) working, whereby employees switch frequently between the office and home, is a movement gaining more supporters by the day, according to a new report from Microsoft.

Based on a poll of roughly 9,000 managers and employees, the report states that more than nine in ten (91 percent) UK workers expect to enjoy a hybrid approach to working in the long term.

One of the main benefits is the ability to maintain productivity levels, while affording employees greater freedom when it comes to working hours and location. Perhaps surprisingly, ensuring business continuity during the pandemic was not one of most significant issues for UK businesses, the report claims.

Instead, challenges with remote and hybrid working are human-centric, as almost half (41 percent) admitted to struggling with creating a strong and unified team culture. Another important challenge for managers is how to effectively delegate and empower virtual teams, something almost two thirds (64 percent) of the respondents struggled with.

Employees themselves are also feeling the sting, as maintaining work relationships, team cohesion and coping with greater silos proved challenging.

The success of teamwork in a hybrid world (opens in new tab), the report concludes, depends on much more than just having the right tools. People need to feel empowered to connect, take smart risks and speak up with fresh ideas.

“So, the challenge for businesses will be ensuring people feel connected to their teammates and to clearly see how the work they do as a team contributes to realizing the vision of the company," the report explained.

"Successful teams will be characterized by how productive they are as well as the sense of comradery, empathy and trust each team member feels." 

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.