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New research from VMWare suggests that many employers aren’t all that keen on hybrid working, despite numerous studies suggesting that WFH could have a positive effect on productivity.

The company’s report (opens in new tab), “The Distributed Work Dilemma: When Innovation and Job Satisfaction Compete”, surveyed 5,300 HR and IT decision makers and employee-level respondents from countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of the participants thought their company was “more innovative” when employees were working in the office, compared with from home, while four in five (81%) of the respondents acclaimed higher job satisfaction when they were able to adopt a hybrid working routine.

WFH vs office

The majority of hybrid workers also testify to increased morale (56%), creativity (52%), and collaboration (53%) compared with pre-pandemic levels.

VMWare reckons that growing economic uncertainty could be driving employers to call for a return to the office on a large scale in the hope that they could see a boost in productivity, despite low-productivity having no proven link to hybrid or remote working practices.

Some employers still don’t trust their employees to work from anywhere, with 97% of the participant companies admitting to “monitoring innovation”, and 82% of the companies mandating an office-only policy.

VMWare SVP and General Manager for End-User Computing, Shankar Iyer, explains: “Research has shown that allowing hybrid work creates happier, more engaged, and more collaborative teams, which can naturally lead to increased productivity.” 

Iyer continues: “Our research suggests that more companies need to deploy formal metrics to measure impact to ensure perception does not [outweigh] reality. Those with hybrid working policies are clearly taking this very seriously.”

Moving forward, the study found that 72% of EMEA organizations plan to invest “significantly” in their digital culture, and a number of companies are either utilizing or considering a degree of automation to take pressure of employees, thus boosting productivity all-round.

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