Has Hybrid Working Been A Success In Construction?

Hybrid work improves employees’ job satisfaction, according to Forbes. Prior to the covid-19 pandemic, hybrid working was relatively unheard of within the construction industry, with 86% having never worked remotely. But the pandemic forced the sector to adapt and allow its employees to work from home. It’s been a success, too, as 80% said they were just as productive or more productive. So, will the construction industry stick with hybrid working, or are there too many downsides?

Saving jobs

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reports that 40% of construction businesses made employees redundant during the pandemic. Worldwide shutdowns meant subcontractors and contractors were backing out and a stop was put on construction projects in many cities, including Boston. Hybrid working meant many construction jobs were saved, though. AECOM states that it was able to have 90% of its workers working remotely at one time. But McKinsey doesn’t believe that this figure is sustainable. They report that just 15% of construction staff can work remotely at any one time. This is due to workers physically needing to be present for things such as building, safety checks, and providing adequate supervision.

The challenges

When hybrid working was introduced in the construction industry, there were some challenges that went with it. Technology suddenly played a big role in the typical construction worker’s day-to-day job. Many workers didn’t have the skills or technical knowledge to use these tools and in-depth training was needed. Not all construction workers had the type of housing where it was easy to set up a home office. It’s been reported that construction workers have been priced out of buying a home in some states, including Idaho, Utah, and California. Thankfully, ways around this were found. Understair offices, closet offices, bookshelf desks, and loft-bed offices have all been used to create a suitable working area in construction workers’ homes. This was crucial for encouraging construction workers, who usually spend their days out in the field, to get into a working mindset from the comfort of their own homes.

The future

It certainly looks like hybrid working in the construction industry is here to stay as construction firms report good results from their hybrid workers. 72% say that it has saved time and money and 35% say that hybrid working gives teams access to the best candidates. Not only that but firms have realized that remote working is more convenient. There’s no need to trek across town or even across a worksite to give approval for something. Plus, there’s the fact that something needs to be done about the nationwide construction worker shortage. Around 650,000 construction workers are currently needed. Many don’t want to go into the industry because of the long periods away from home and the lengthy commutes. Hybrid working has significantly reduced this problem, so firms are sure to stick with this working model.

Hybrid working is now a common way of working for construction workers. There were some concerns that it wouldn’t work out initially, but studies show that it has been a big success that will shape the future of the industry.

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January 26th, 2023
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