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According to sociologists, so far only 52% of Russian employers plan to maintain a hybrid work format for their employees in 2022. In addition, the inability of staff to self-organize at a remote location often stands in the way of its widespread implementation, according to the National Agency for the Development of Qualifications. Izvestia discussed how the hybridization of labor relations in the Russian Federation proceeds.

Not everyone can handle

To work successfully remotely, a specialist must be sufficiently disciplined and autonomous, capable of independent work planning – and such workers are still in short supply in Russia. Pavel Svistunov, First Deputy Director General of the National Agency for the Development of Qualifications, told Izvestia about this.

Photo: RIA Novosti / Maxim Blinov

The shortage of personnel with the required qualifications was acknowledged by about 50% of the companies that took part in the survey of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. This is forcing employers to choose new formats such as a hybrid schedule.

“52% of employers say that in the coming year they plan to maintain a hybrid work format for their employees: come to the office several times a week and work from home the rest of the time,” said Olga Shamber, COO of the recruiting company Hays. – Only 22% of surveyed companies are going to introduce constant office visits for all employees.

In her words, for many companies, the hybrid work format is becoming the “new norm”. Russian firms are more strict about remote work than Western firms. Traditionally, companies in the banking sector or retail are more conservative in this regard. IT and startups are more comfortable with the format of work.

According to the findings of the Hays study “Employee Relocation”, 20% of employees say that in their company it is possible to agree with the management to work remotely from any city in Russia. 13% stated that this is possible only as an exception. 28% are sure that such options were possible only during the period of complete transition of the entire company to telecommuting, and 29% of professionals from various spheres informed that “this is not how they work in their organization”.

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Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

The most significant motivating factor for working remotely is for older employees (over 55) and professionals aged 25–28. 56% of respondents 29–33 years old, 52% of employees 34–40 years old, 43% of specialists 41–54 years old called the opportunity to work remotely “very important”. Oddly enough, young respondents under 24 are the least interested in distance. Its fundamental importance was emphasized by only 33% of survey participants in this age group.

“An important point is now connected with the normative regulation of remote work,” Hays told Izvestia. – So far, many issues remain unresolved, including the work of specialists from other cities and countries. But in general, employers are now much more loyal to the remote work format. And we have not yet recorded a reduction in salaries when transferring employees to a remote location.

Format “inappropriate”

During the pandemic, many companies switched to a remote format, but for most employers this mode of work turned out to be inappropriate, believes Yulia Sanina, HR and Organizational Development Director of the Rabota.ru service.

Photo: Izvestia / Sergey Konkov

“For some specialists, an office has become a necessity,” says Yulia Sanina. – According to our data, every third Russian working remotely would like to come to the office several times a week. It can be assumed that the hybrid format will gain popularity in areas with the possibility of remote work.

According to the latest research by the Rabota.ru service, at the moment, only 13% of companies are already working in a hybrid format, and 28% plan to give employees the right to choose a convenient schedule for themselves.

At the same time, according to SuperJob estimates, employees transferred to telecommuting due to the COVID-19 pandemic are now in every fourth company; in December last year, the telecommuting format was practiced by twice as many employers. 24% of HR managers reported that their companies have employees working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to September data from the SuperJob research center, 65% of Moscow companies have remote employees and 59% of St. Petersburg companies. Of the companies in Moscow whose employees work remotely, 31% work remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, and 42% of companies work this way on an ongoing basis. 35% of companies do not have remote employees. In St. Petersburg, such workers are 30%, 35% and 41%, respectively. Most often, IT specialists are transferred to telecommuting (24% of companies that operate remotely due to the pandemic), accountants (21%) and sales specialists (18%). All office staff were transferred to telecommuting only 11% of employers.

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Photo: RIA Novosti / Maxim Blinov

The hybrid revolution

The transition to a hybrid format in the Russian Federation is not only possible, but already inevitable, says Elena Zhukovskaya, partner of the communication agency Comagency. According to her estimates, many, especially small firms, switched to this format of work a few years ago in order to optimize costs. This is especially true for large cities with high rental rates. This also gave impetus to the active growth of the coworking market.

– Much depends on the business and on the format of tasks that a particular employee performs, so it all starts with an analysis of business processes and the need for an employee to be present in the office, says Elena Zhukovskaya. – But in the end, if the tasks of employees working remotely are distributed correctly, KPIs are clear and communication channels are debugged, then the business will only benefit from this. It has already been proven that efficiency with a properly structured remote work not only does not fall, but more often increases.

In addition, the expert develops his thought, the hybrid format can have a positive effect in the fact that the transport infrastructure will feel a decrease in load, the ecological situation will improve, and the social environment will receive more people with a stable psyche, since people will be able to use the free time for rest and leisure with family.

Photo: RIA Novosti / Mikhail Mordasov

Although it is quite difficult to imagine a hybrid format in large corporations, as well as in manufacturing enterprises, in many small and medium businesses today this is the optimal solution.

Alexander Safonov, Vice-Rector of the Academy of Labor and Social Relations, Vice-Rector of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, is more skeptical: “In the near future, there is no need to expect a revolution in remote employment.”

– The structure of the economy and, accordingly, jobs involves a significant number of employees who have worked and will continue to work in enterprises and organizations on a full-time basis, – says Alexander Safonov. – A machine operator, driver, doctor or plumber performing labor activities from home, sitting at a computer, while remaining in the realm of fantasy.

In his opinion, a mixed mode of employment (remote and full-time) will remain for auxiliary labor tasks – accounting, logistics, document flow, partly management.

“The Russian economy is now, in a sense, ahead of the EU in terms of online work,” Safonov says. – This is due to the fact that online systems are very actively implemented in the field of finance, insurance and public administration, as well as online commerce.

But this, the specialist emphasizes, to a large extent affects the overall reduction of jobs.

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Photo: depositphotos / olly18

“Still, I think that the“ revolution ”has already happened when we massively switched to remote work,” Polina Khabarova, director of business transformation at CROK, discusses with Alexander Safonov. “Many companies now have the capabilities and even the resources to find the best tools for hybrid work.

The expert believes that today a hybrid office is the most optimal format to which both employees and employers are accustomed. According to JLL surveys, most people rate the work from home experience positively – it is convenient and helps to save money on food and transportation. In addition, the pandemic is not over yet, and everyone is convinced in practice that the efficiency of work at home does not fall.

– But I would not call it a revolution – these practices have always existed in one form or another, – says Alexander Filimonov, partner of Artisan Group. “Moreover, their development began long before the pandemic – the most valuable and experienced personnel had already begun to arrange work processes in such a way that they would work from home some of the time. Most likely, the hybrid format will affect middle management and employees working on a project basis. In large companies, despite conservatism, which is most often expressed in very serious security requirements, for some time there will be more opponents of the hybrid format than supporters. But already in 2022, most likely, at least half of the business processes will be remote.

What the law says about the new format

Legally, Russians have the right to remote or hybrid work, if the type of activity allows it, emphasizes Natalya Shcherbakova, director of sales and marketing at ANCOR. But when moving to a new format, employers and employees face several challenges.

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Photo: Izvestia / Alexander Kazakov

One of the main questions is the technique for working at home. According to the new edition of Art. 312.6 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation (entered into force on January 1 of this year), the employer must provide his equipment, as well as pay compensation for electricity and the Internet. In turn, the employee can use his equipment, and the employer will pay compensation for this. But no formulas for calculating compensation are currently given in the law, points out Natalya Shcherbakova. And in practice, it can be obtained only on condition that the employer himself wants to arrange it somehow, for example, in the form of a bonus.

It is worth recalling that since January of this year, changes in labor legislation have come into force in terms of improving the legal regulation of teleworking – Federal Law No. 407-FZ of 08.12.2020 “On Amendments to the Labor Code of the Russian Federation in terms of regulating teleworking (remote) work”.

“Now it has been established at the legislative level that the concept of“ teleworking ”and“ teleworking ”are synonyms,” explained Andrey Shugaev, deputy chairman of the Klishin and Partners ICA. – And it is very important that since this year the concept of “remote worker” has become stronger. When defining the concept of “remote worker”, the new law specifies that this is a person who performs work and interacts with the employer not only through information and telecommunication networks (Internet), but also public networks. Thus, remote work now includes interaction with personnel by phone, messengers, SMS, etc.

Andrey Shugaev also points out that in connection with the transition to remote work or a mixed format of work, wages should not be reduced (Article 312.6 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation). And it is also important that a limited list of special grounds for dismissing teleworkers has appeared.

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Photo: TASS / Vyacheslav Prokofiev

“Thus, the only way to stay remote, if the company does not support remote, is to move to another company,” says Artem Zyza, product manager of Habr Karyery. – An employee can apply for a remote transfer if there is a valid reason (for example, minor children who do not go to school because of covid) – but the decision still remains with the employer, legally, no one owes anything to anyone in such cases.

– So far, there are often conservative leaders – mostly adults and not too digital-friendly, who prefer to sit in the office themselves and want their teams to sit next to them in order to personally set tasks. But it’s great that a new generation of managers is growing up who will definitely support a hybrid work format, and gradually it will become the new norm, ”summed up Kelly Services Marketing Director Zhanna Volkova.

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