Executives want blended work future

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Odgers Berndtson research examines lessons learned during pandemic



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11 March 2021 | 0

A majority of senior-level executives want to blend remote and office environments in the future. This is according to a survey of carried out by international executive search firm Odgers Berndtson Ireland.

When asked their preference once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, more than 86% said they would choose a mixture of both work settings. Fewer than 4% want to return to the office full-time, and just under one in ten would opt for permanent remote working. 

The research also reveals: 



  • 75% of respondents were working on a fully remote basis for now
  • 55% said the biggest positive of remote working was the absence of a commute
  • 28% felt an improved work-life balance was the biggest positive of remote working
  • 64.7% said they were as effective or more effective in their roles compared to the period before restrictions were imposed

“The evidence backs up what we’ve heard from our network of industry contacts – there is no rush back to the office,” said Mark O’Donnell, managing partner of Odgers Berndtson. “On the whole, business leaders are getting the message that creativity is key to establishing a new working model that suits their business. Organisations that fail to have a cultural discussion about the way forward could pay the price through high staff turnover.”

The difficulties imposed by a sudden enforced change in working styles are also illustrated in the survey: 

  • 55% say remote working hasn’t afforded them an opportunity to develop in their current role during the pandemic
  • 42% said the difficulty of knowing when people need support is the biggest challenge when managing in the pandemic working environment
  • 53% said ‘flexibility’ was the most helpful aspect provided by their employer over the past 12 months, with ‘IT/Office’ set up in second place with 40%
  • 38% said they would proactively make a career move in the next 12-months

“This is a really positive sign for the economy, but it’s something employers must be aware of too,” added O’Donnell. “Executives aren’t afraid to start looking towards a future where they can continue a blended way of working and improved work-life balance. In planning the next twelve months, employers need to keep well-being high on the agenda and remember this will be key to retaining vital staff in the future.”

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