Research released today from Owl Labs, a global collaborative technology company, reveals that UK companies are only half-way hybrid when it comes to having a robust tech stack to facilitate hybrid work.

While 72 percent of the current UK workforce works remotely to some degree, a staggering 89 percent want the option to do so.

Yet, nearly half (43%) believe there is room for improvement in how their company uses tech at work, indicating that businesses are falling behind in how they continue to support their teams’ evolving hybrid tech needs.

Business leaders must review and ‘power-up’ their hybrid work tech stack to ensure that it continues to deliver a humanised experience that successfully creates a more immersive and engaged way of hybrid working.

Businesses stuck in hybrid-limbo: time to commit to hybrid  

For teams to achieve a streamlined, humanised approach to hybrid work, it is vital that employees not only understand and feel comfortable with their current hybrid tech platforms, but that they feel confident suggesting and adopting new technologies. As it stands, nearly half (41%) of workers do not feel confident using their current office’s hybrid technology.

There is also an emerging split between management and non-management roles in terms of how effectively teams are using hybrid tools. While nearly half (47%) of management believe their teams could use hybrid tech more effectively, the majority (62%) of general workers say they feel comfortable using all their current tech solutions. 

While businesses pivoted quickly during the pandemic to meet the sudden shift to remote work, the technology solutions they adopted do not necessarily continue to fit the criteria for today’s ‘hy-norm’ way of working. Given that over half (52%) of UK office workers want to suggest smarter technology and platforms that work better for them, business and IT leaders need to put their colleagues at the heart of their hybrid work strategies.

Investing in training to ensure that employees across the board feel connected to the technology they are using will prevent employees feeling like they are in hybrid-limbo where technology gets in the way of working effectively. 

Tech needs a ‘level up’ to boost employee engagement

Strong employee engagement while working remotely relies on business leaders recreating in-person experiences for those team members working remotely. As it stands, businesses are struggling to implement effective tactics through their current tech stack. With nearly three-quarters (72%) of the current UK workforce working remotely to some degree, only half (50%) of companies have adopted new technology platforms to specifically help employees feel more engaged with hybrid working.

What is more, over a third (39%) of businesses who have adopted technology have not seen a change in employee engagement. As UK employee engagement wanes in the midst of job layoffs, especially prevalent in the tech sector, compounded by the ongoing cost of living crisis, business and IT leaders need to leverage the tech tools in their arsenal more effectively to ensure that they’re creating an immersive work environment that keeps employees productive.  

More communication does not equal better staff engagement 

Not all communication is created equal. Strong employee engagement relies on better communication habits rather than more communication touch points. As it stands, UK workers are swamped by the sheer volume of communication tools and messages they receive on a daily basis. To overcompensate for a drop in in-person communication, a quarter (25%) of workers admit that their company relies too heavily on emails.

Similarly, teams are also struggling with the cadence of asynchronous communication across platforms,  with just over a fifth (21%) of workers overwhelmed by the number of messages they receive across Slack and Microsoft Teams. To avoid hybrid-limbo, IT leaders need to implement a communications audit across their entire organisation to ensure that tools are being used effectively. Setting out clear processes to streamline communication will be vital in ensuring that business updates are shared effectively, hit the mark and help teams feel more engaged in their work. 

Frank Weishaupt, CEO of Owl Labs comments:

“Business and IT leaders must ensure that hybrid working is seen as the new standard way of working. For businesses looking to succeed amidst changing work patterns, they must view hybrid work as the founding principle of their business with clear strategies and processes in place so that employees not only understand how to use the tech tools available to them.

“Recreating in-person experiences through a more immersive tech stack will be crucial in bolstering employee engagement and creating more humanised experiences regardless of location. Tackling hybrid meetings will prove crucial, yet, it’s clear that they remain a point of contention. While one in five (22%) of UK workers are frustrated when people don’t turn their camera on during meetings, a further 16 percent and 17 percent are concerned about not being able to hear and see everyone on a hybrid call respectively.”

“Business leaders must also be aware of the emerging divide between managers and entry-level roles. Given that a portion of the Gen Z workforce will have likely only ever experienced hybrid or remote work, it’s important that every aspect of the team is considered. A robust tech stack which creates a more immersive work environment, along with processes on the best ways to use them, will create a more engaged and productive workforce.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.