The debate of whether to return to traditional office environments or continue to work remotely may be solved by going instead between the two.

To keep staff members happy and retain talent, companies have been giving more serious thought than ever before to flexible working, and just how much they should offer.

Microsoft Ireland didn’t consider this in a vacuum, but instead put the power into its employees’ hands – by canvassing opinions on what they would prefer the company to do in future. The results were conclusive; the vast majority saying they’d prefer a hybrid way of working, where they’re free to work at the office when they need to, and at home when they’d like.

A hybrid approach allows people to still gather for face-to-face meetings and do all the things it’s difficult to at home, but all the while retaining the benefits they get from working at home (more flexible hours, a better work-life balance and not having to commute, as just some examples).

Job listings website Indeed has also let its employees dictate how and where they work in future, as it continues to lead the charge with remote working practices (Indeed was one of the first large employers to send staff home during the early days of the pandemic, long before it was mandated by the government). Surely enough, the “vast majority” are said to have elected for a hybrid option, with the remainder going for fully remote working.

If other companies want to keep their staff happy – or even keep them at all – they may want to consider following Microsoft and Indeed’s lead. Researcher DataSolutions claims that a third of employees would leave their current employer if they weren’t offered flexible working.

Happily for these workers, the trend seems to be going that way, with Microsoft claiming that, even though only 22% of companies had remote working policies set up this time last year, the figure today stands at 72%.