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It’s Official: Hybrid Stinks

Whether we liked it or not, the pandemic forced us to consider a new approach to office work. Remote work from home became a necessity, and many realized the perks that came along with it. Flexibility of schedule, a no-hassle commute from bedroom to living room, and increased family time were a few. But as restrictions relaxed, many businesses wanted employees back in the office, at least part of the time. Thus, the hybrid work model was invented… part-time remote, part-time office. It’s now becoming increasingly evident that the challenge of hybrid work may not be worth it. In fact, for some companies, it may be the worst idea of all.

(Remember when Bold Business predicted that remote work was here to stay?)

The hybrid work model experiment is in full force in today’s business world. While over 90% of workers want to be remote, a minority have full-time remote work situation. The larger portion of employees spend at least a couple of days in an office. But does this situation really meet the need of workers in a post-pandemic world? Likewise, is this a sustainable arrangement for businesses long-term? According to an increasing number of people, the challenge of hybrid work simply isn’t worth it. And as a result, there seems to be a trend moving away from these models toward full-time remote or full-time office.

“Complicating things is that, while the main reason hybrid workers cite for wanting to go into the office is to see colleagues, they also don’t want to be told when to go in.” – Nicholas Bloom, Economics Professor, Stanford University

Misperceptions of the Hybrid Work Model

When it comes to the hybrid work model, both employers and employees expected to get something out of the deal. For workers, the long, extended period of social isolation during the pandemic left them longing for social contact. That meant a need to return to concerts, travel, and other outings. But it also included reconnecting with work colleagues in person. This was particularly true for teams who benefited from in-person collaboration. But a challenge of hybrid work is that rarely is everyone in the office at any given time. Certainly, hybrid schedules are more social than remote work. But they are far from meeting the expectations of those wishing to talk with coworkers around the water cooler.

Employers face similar disappointments from the hybrid work model. Some of the advantages with remote work for businesses involved cutting back on expenses. Office leases or spaces could be downsized with fewer employees at work at any given time. Likewise, employees began sharing the burden of Internet connectivity and hardware costs. These savings allowed companies to invest money elsewhere, placing them in a better position. But the challenge of hybrid work is that these savings aren’t as profound if present at all. Instead, companies are finding that they are having to serve two masters and having little to show for it. For businesses in this position, it’s unlikely the hybrid work will be a lasting model.

“Every company is going to have to decide what workplace model works for them. But what’s clear is that the relationship between employees and employers has fundamentally changed.” – Arianna Huffington, Co-founder of The Huffington Post, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global

A Failing Experiment to Attract Talent

Naturally, the pandemic was the catalyst for the hybrid work model. But it wasn’t the only one. Technology certainly played a role as videoconferencing tools helped support this new employee-employer dynamic. Similarly, so did the Great Resignation. As people emerged from lockdown, the vast majority demanded remote work or some resemblance of it. Companies that complied were more likely attract talent that they needed. Those that didn’t found themselves having to compensate in higher salaries or other perks. Thus, many decided to try a hybrid between in-office and remote work to address these issues. Unfortunately, this has had limited benefits when it comes to human resource strategies.

A cartoon man torn between two worlds
Raise your hand if you think the hybrid work model stinks.

Compared to full remote work, a challenge of hybrid work is its failure to grant workers residential freedom. If someone must come into the office a few days each week, then they can hardly live anywhere they want. That means that the actual talent pool for a company with a hybrid work model remains geographically local. In contrast, remote work models can recruit talent from anywhere in the world. Thus, remote work situations provide a much better strategy when it comes to addressing limiting talent supply. Plus, remote work also invites much greater diversity, which boosts innovation and creativity. Another challenge of hybrid work is therefore its difficulty competing with fulltime remote jobs in attracting talent.

“The future will see financial allowances that enable workers to choose and invest in their own ecosystem of workspaces. And as we move beyond hybrid work, employees will be seeking out near-to-home satellite offices, bookable workspaces in office lobbies, advanced technology in libraries and cafes, and premium coworking spaces that offer hotel-style service.” – Brad Krauskopf, CEO of Hub Australia

A Commitment to a Work Model That Works

When it comes to the hybrid work model, it is evident that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Companies that need offices for collaboration, in-person client interactions, and other activities need to commit to full-time office models. Those that don’t should invest fully in remote work systems. But neither can truly benefit from a hybrid work model that hedges their bets. On the employee side, workers want flexibility, work-life balance, and autonomy. Both in-office and remote work situations can meet these needs with a bit of creativity. On the employer side, companies demand productivity, efficiency, and cost-savings. Similarly, in-office and remote models can achieve this. But hybrid solutions attempt to realize all of these benefits without suffering any setbacks. In the process, however, they fail to accomplish either set of goals, placing everyone in a worse situation. The bottom line…hybrid work models don’t work for the vast majority of companies. And for those committed to excellence, it’s time to recognize this increasingly obvious fact.

 

Want to control your cost efficiency and protect your bottom line? Bold Business can help.

Recruiting International Talent? – It Pays to Know the Best Foreign Universities

For many firms today, finding highly skilled talent has been difficult. The demand for specific skillsets and expertise in data analytics, programming, and engineering has risen tremendously. Unfortunately, however, domestic supply of these workers has not. This has convinced many companies that recruiting foreign talent is the way to go. But which countries are the best sources of skilled workers, and what are the best foreign universities? Without this information up front, hiring and outsourcing efforts can waste valuable time and resources. These are key pieces of the puzzle when looking to hire new talent.

(What are five things companies look for when hiring new talent? Find out in this Bold story.)

Fortunately, there are several hotspots when it comes to recruiting foreign talent. Currently, top regions include Mexico, India, the Philippines, and Eastern Europe. Not only do these areas offer large remote workforce pools but they also boast some of the best foreign universities. In addition, they also offer many other attractive features whether you’re hiring abroad or outsourcing business processes. With this in mind, the following breaks down the benefits of each of these regions and lists their top-rated schools. Having these insights up front can help greatly in recruiting foreign talent a company needs.

India – An Outsourcing Hotspot for Decades

For many years, India was the preferred locale for recruiting foreign talent, especially in areas like customer services. Low salaries and low cost of living were naturally attractive to firms in their talent acquisition efforts. Likewise, as an English-speaking nation, language challenges were not very significant. But things have changed quite a bit since then and for the better. The country has an excellent state-of-the-art IT infrastructure and tremendous skilled technical talent. A big reason it has so much to offer relates to its educational systems. In fact, India is now recognized for some of the best foreign universities in the world. Here are a few that deserve recognition if you find a candidate who matches your talent needs.

  • Tata Institute of Fundamental Research – Mumbai, India
  • Indian Institute of Science – Bangalore, India
  • Indian Institute of Technology of Bombay – Mumbai, India
  • Indian Institute of Technology of Madras – Chennai, India
  • University of Delhi – New Delhi, India

Eastern Europe – A Leader in Foreign Talent

According to some reports, Europe alone is home to 60% of all outsourced talent related to business processes. Notably, a sizable portion of these workers come from nations within Eastern Europe. Estonia is known as the “Silicon Valley” of the region, and Poland, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic are notable as well. Recruiting foreign talent in tech and engineering is therefore easy from these areas. Plus, nearly all university graduates are fluent in English. The region’s robust, affordable and specialized educational system is a big reason such talent is in abundance. Understanding this, here are a few of the best foreign universities in Eastern Europe today.

  • Charles University – Prague, Czech republic
  • Jagiellonian University – Krakow, Poland
  • University of Tartu – Tartu, Estonia
  • University of Warsaw – Warsaw, Poland
  • American University in Bulgaria – Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

The Philippines – Small But Powerful

Compared to the land mass of India and Eastern Europe, the Philippines is an unlikely source of the best foreign talent. But it now supplies roughly 20% of all business process outsourcing in the world today. The cost of human resource salaries is approximately half of what they are domestically. Likewise, English is the official language of the country, and it has adopted many western cultural traditions. Most impressive, however, is its advanced education system, which has been mirrored after American universities. The Philippines graduates over 450,000 university students per year. As such, recruiting foreign talent from the Philippines is something worth considering. The following are some top-rated universities in the Philippines today.

  • Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Manila, Philippines
  • University of Santo Tomas – Manila, Philippines
  • University of the Philippines Los Baros – Los Baros, Philippines
  • St Louis University – Baguio City, Philippines
  • University of San Carlos – Cebu City, Philippines

Mexico – Recruiting Foreign Talent Close to Home

In the last decade, Mexico’s government has invested heavily in its infrastructure and in its educational systems. The result has led to it rapidly becoming a key destination for those recruiting foreign talent. The country has 38 overall IT clusters and a solid IT infrastructure with three-quarters of the population having hi-speed Internet. Likewise, out of every 100 workers, 65 are now considered highly skilled. A big part of this shift has occurred because Mexico now has some of the best foreign universities. The country also shares similar time zones with the U.S., and most people are bilingual in Spanish and English. For these reasons, recruiters and outsourcers find Mexico attractive these days. That’s especially true of applicants from the following universities.

  • National Autonomous University of Mexico – Mexico City, Mexico
  • Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education – Monterrey, Mexico
  • National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico – Mexico City, Mexico
  • University of Guadalajara – Guadalajara, Mexico
  • The Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon – Monterrey, Mexico
A line of graduates looking happy
Recruiting foreign talent is easy if you know which universities to recruit from.

The Advantages of Recruiting Foreign Talent

When it comes to recruiting foreign talent, studies involving companies who outsourced enjoyed some major advantages. On average, outsourcing boosted quality of services by 58% and reduced costs by 44%. These benefits did not come at the expense of other areas either. Recent surveys also stated that user experience improved by 38 % on average, and client growth expanded 31%. With many regions now having some of the best foreign universities, the talent pool is rapidly growing. That is why many companies are broadening their searches or considering outsourcing as domestic talent pools shrink.

Assessing if a potential hire came from one of the best foreign universities is only one part of due diligence. Other important tasks include performing overall background checks and determining if an individual is a good fit. Because many countries vary in their privacy laws and policies, many firms are assigning these activities to third-party screening services. Like business HR departments, they too examine education and experience when recruiting foreign talent. In both cases, it’s important to know the type of training a candidate may have received. And if they attended of the schools on the lists above, it’s likely they’re well qualified for the job.

 

Want to control your cost efficiency and protect your bottom line? Bold Business can help.

Consumer Snapshot: Life in the Time of Inflation

In mid-June the Fed raised the benchmark interest rate by three-quarters of a point. That followed the same amount that it had cumulatively raised the rate in the prior three months. In an effort to slow down inflation, their goal is to do so without triggering a recession. That’s a difficult task to achieve without a doubt, and one that many worry may be unattainable. But even if the Fed is successful in walking this tightrope, that does little to help consumers today. The impact of inflation on consumers currently is significant, and many are turning to unique inflation strategies to survive. Hopefully, these will be enough for them to weather the storm.

The current inflation rate has exceeded eight percent in the last several weeks, rising quickly over the last several months. In fact, historically, its rise has been the fastest on record in the last 4 decades. As a result, many individuals and families have had to react quickly to these changes. Some have resorted to some tried and true inflation strategies well known to most. Others are approaching things in more interesting and innovative ways. In any case, the impact of inflation on consumers is causing a notable shift in lifestyle behaviors. From meals, to transportation, to vacations, inflation is making its presence known.

“You can’t turn the news off about money because you have to pay for food or pay for gas.”- Vaile Wright, Psychologist and Senior Director, American Psychological Association

Conservative Inflation Strategies

When it comes to many individuals and families, there is a sense they have little control over prices increases. Because inflation has hit groceries, gas and housing prices significantly, the impact of inflation on consumers has been substantial. Consumers see little choice but to cut back and be more conservative. After all, food, transportation, and shelter are non-negotiable items for the vast majority of Americans. Sure, there might be some savings in canceling a music streaming subscription or skipping the dry cleaner. But current price increases in the essentials demand additional inflation strategies.

Someone reading a horror story
What’s the impact of inflation on consumers? Go to the grocery store and see for yourself!

For many, a positive impact of inflation on consumers has driven them to look at their spending and create a budget. This might be finances 101, but for some, it’s something in which they’ve invested little energy. Knowing where your money’s going is essential in dealing with inflation. once this is known, there are several inflation strategies to consider. Many consumers today are canceling unnecessary services and subscriptions, dining out less, and shopping at discount stores. They’re also getting essential items through used marketplaces like Facebook and eBay. And others are opting for staycations despite having the itch to travel in a post-COVID era.

“You may be able to offset some of the increase in your expenses by taking a closer look at your bills, cutting what you don’t need, and trying to reduce or negotiate the rest. Looking at all your bills is an easy place to start.” – Andrea Woroch, Consumer Finance Expert

Assertive Inflation Strategies

For some people, cutting back on expenses and choosing less pricey options isn’t enough. For them, they resort to more assertive strategies in addition to the conservative ones. Specifically, they look for ways to increase their income as a means to survive. That means exploring new jobs that pay a higher wage or salary as well as considering some side gigs and hustles. Notably, workforce supply and demand favor employees in several industries currently. Therefore, looking for a better-paying job is one way to appease the impact of inflation on consumers. Likewise, opportunities for freelance work on the side has also increased in recent years. For many, these are attractive options to combat the rise in prices.

(You know what’s risen in demand? Remote workers. Read more in this Bold story.)

Of course, not everyone has the option to embrace freelance work or leave their current position. Time constraints, other responsibilities, and existing employment benefits may be major deterrents. But there are other inflation strategies that some are taking advantage of to generate more income. Specifically, many individuals are turning to the sharing economy for answers. Platforms for sharing a variety of items with others now exist, and they involve much more that Uber and Airbnb. Swimply lets people share their pool while Outdoorsy markets RVs that people can share. There’s even a site, Spothero, that lets consumers advertise their parking spot for rent. The impact of inflation on consumers has clearly encouraged use of some of these more modern opportunities.

“Personal finance is different for everyone, and inflation rates are just as different depending on if you bought a used car, how much you drive, and if you have a family or are single.” – Ryan Frailich, CFP and Founder of Deliberate Finances

Personalizing an Approach

It should be recognized that the inflation strategies a person chooses clearly reflects their situation. Not every option to cut costs or to add income will be feasible. In fact, many living on a tight budget already may struggle in finding effective solutions. The impact of inflation on consumers in these instances may drive them to find novel pursuits. For example, some consumers have turned to home gardening to offset food costs. Others are participating in coops where resource sharing and community support are available. And some are even exploring new living scenarios such as tiny homes or foreign residencies.

It’s not surprising that the impact of inflation on consumers varies significantly from one person to the next. For some, the effects will not be as significant, and their focus may be on shifting investment strategies. In this regard, opportunities for long-term investments and bonds deserve some attention. But for others, inflation strategies are more targeted toward day-to-day living needs. Some will be able to survive by being more conservative while others must consider more creative options. In either case, inflationary pressures are forcing many to consider new behaviors and make some tough decisions. And through innovative thinking and resilience, they’ll undoubtedly survive.

 

Want to control your cost efficiency and protect your bottom line? Bold Business can help.