France, world champion in hybrid work

Apr 7, 2022

Hybrid work, which combines face-to-face and remote work, is very popular in France. But does it mean the same thing to employers and employees?

An Atlassian study published at the end of last year says so. France is the world champion of hybrid work. No less than 68% of respondents say they have already adopted this organizational form, putting France on the top step of the podium, followed by India (58%) and Japan (55%). Today, 37% of French employees believe that hybrid work can benefit both the individual and the company as a whole.

But whether it's hybrid offices, remote jobs, or fully remote jobs, the cause is clear. Yesterday's organizational forms are definitely no longer relevant. The current transformation is not going to allow any backtracking. As an OpinionWay survey conducted for Slack (late 2021) shows, 54% of office workers are working remotely, at least partially, since September 2021. And 79% of large French companies offer flexible arrangements, with a heavy dose of telecommuting that varies from two to three days a week. "62% of those surveyed see the classic 9-to-5 office day as a model that is no longer appropriate," notes Gabriel Frasconi, Slack's French managing director.

The best of both worlds?

For the French employee, hybrid work seems to represent the best of both worlds today. They appreciate the improvement of their quality of life by avoiding, for example, the stress of commuting. On the other hand, the presence in the office allows him to maintain the social link with his colleagues and participates in a certain form of continuity in terms of company culture.

Moreover, according to the Slack survey, 56% of employees say that hybrid work has strengthened their attachment to their company. This is an important fact when it comes to talent retention, especially in a context where the Great Resignation phenomenon, after starting in the US, is becoming a global reality.

Yet, is it really enough to offer this mixed form of organization to prevent employees from going elsewhere to see if the grass is greener? Looking at this question means asking what is fundamentally behind the demand for hybrid work. What do employees really want?

For employees, hybrid work = flexibility

The answer can be found in one word: flexibility. Not only do employees want to be able to work a few days a week from a location of their choice, they also want to determine which days they want to work. The EY 2021 "Work Reimagined Employee Survey" says it all, and the numbers are impressive. No less than 90% of employees surveyed say they should be able to choose when and from where they work.

Specifically, those most likely to stay in their current job are baby boomers, individuals with more than 10 years on the job and government employees. Conversely, millennials are twice as likely as baby boomers to be willing to leave their job if it doesn't suit them (anymore). Hence the idea that if a company wants to win the war for talent (and therefore succeed in recruiting the best and retaining them), it must respond to their wishes.

However, at the moment, even if negotiations are underway, it is the management of the companies that impose the majority of the working days. It is not certain that employees will be happy about this. As the demand for flexibility becomes a central, even essential issue, the wish for hybrid office could be replaced in a shorter time frame than it seems by a growing demand for fully remote jobs. After all, isn't this the way of the future?

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