Leicester study highlights appeal of hybrid working to University staff

Research at the University of Leicester has revealed the popularity of hybrid working amongst university staff.

A study led by Professor Stephen Wood (University of Leicester School of Business) of both academic and non-academic staff also highlighted the contradictory nature of homeworking.

It found that a lack of social interaction diminishes the ability of people to do their job while the lack of interruptions increases it.

Also that spending more time at home, on the one hand, increases contact with family members resulting in a positive effect on wellbeing. Meanwhile, the reduced ability of employees to detach from work has the opposite effect.

The study suggests that hybrid working, whereby employees work some of the time at home and some time on site, is a way of combatting these contradictions so that employees can achieve a more integrated life.

One participant of the study said: “For me, homeworking is Janus-headed, a two-sided coin. Yeah, I enjoy the ability to concentrate better and focus. But I missed being able to engage with people, daily contact.”

Another said: “There is no social interaction, it's all work and home, but on the positive side of things I don’t get many interruptions.”

Professor Wood said: “The rise of hybrid working is not a matter of homeworking being the best of both worlds, or that people had pre-existing preferences toward homeworking and hybrid its a compromise.

“Homeworking’s contradictory nature means in its pure form it can never be a perfect answer, but this means that hybrid working has the potential to be an alternative imperfectly perfect working arrangement.”

Professor Wood will host a webinar on the Appeal of Hybrid Working on October 21 as part of the University of Leicester’s events for the ESRC Festival of Social Science.

He will be joined by Professor Michael Clinton of King’s College, London, Professor Lotte Bailyn of MIT, and Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development CIPD.

More information about the event can be found here.