Hybrid working is where employees split their time between the office and working remotely. While the concept has been around for a while, the COVID-19 pandemic really raised its profile. And now most jobseekers expect to have some sort of hybrid working made available to them. So if you’re asking all your people to return to the office full-time, your business could suffer.
Before the pandemic, only around 35% of employers offered regular home working. That number is expected to rise dramatically to 63%, driven by the fact that most employees now expect some sort of flexible working arrangement as standard. And with the CIPD campaigning for the government to give employees the right to ask for flexible working from day one, this isn’t going away any time soon.
A lot of employees still want to spend some time in the office though. So hybrid working seems like the best of both worlds. For many businesses, this requires a cultural shift in the way they do things though. But it’s also an amazing opportunity to fundamentally change the way we ‘do’ work, making all our working lives more productive, flexible and, ultimately, fulfilling.
If you want to embrace hybrid working but aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry – we’re here to tell you all about the benefits. We’re also going to give you some easy ways to get your business hybrid ready.
The benefits of hybrid working
As a fairly new way of working, the full benefits of hybrid working haven’t yet been fully researched. But anecdotal evidence suggests that it:
- gives people a better work-life balance
- helps them do better work – it can be easier to focus at home with fewer distractions
- saves money, time and stress commuting
- actually motivates them to work harder.
For all the reasons above, hybrid working means happier and more engaged workers who care about the success of their organisation. It can also reduce office space and facilities costs. And it can help build a more inclusive and diverse workforce. That’s because you’re no longer limited to employees who can physically be in one particular place. This can also help you stand out as an attractive place to work for jobseekers.
Do hybrid the right way
Get your policies right
Agree a policy for hybrid working to make sure managers are consistent and things don’t differ from team to team. If you’ve already got a working-from-home policy, it might just be a case of adapting it. But if you don’t, at the very least you’ll need to document who’s eligible for hybrid working – so that might be people in specific types of roles, for example – and how they apply for it.
Train your managers
Make sure your managers understand how to decide if someone’s eligible for hybrid working, and how to manage people who spend time away from the office. Many managers will have had to hit the ground running during the pandemic when it comes to managing remotely. But that doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from some training in this area.
Managers also need to understand how to assess remote workers’ performance. They can’t just base this on the hours staff spend at work (and nor should they – long hours rarely represent productivity). So they’ll need to find different ways to measure the value someone’s contributing. This might also mean you need to rethink your performance measurement processes.
Keep everyone talking
When people are working away from the office, good communication is vital. Without it, some can feel alienated, and miss out on important information. Exactly how you do this will depend on your organisation. But it’s worth holding all meetings online by default for a start. And make sure everyone logs on individually, wherever they are – don’t have a group of on-site people using one video feed together. (The CIPD has put together some helpful tips for running hybrid meetings here.)
There’s really no substitute for being in the same room though. So ask remote workers to come in now and again to have a meeting with their managers and team-mates
Get the tech right
Having employees in different locations can only work successfully if they have the right technology – and know how to use it. Make sure they’re comfortable with different software packages for video calls and VPNs, etc. The same goes for tech in the office. Check it works for people who need to connect with employees working remotely.
Don't forget about wellbeing
Hybrid working can affect the way teams bond, simply because they might not spend that much time together. An away-day can do wonders for morale – for example, at Pure we recently celebrated our year-end with a day of activities for our team away from the office. You could also organise volunteering days, so people feel like they’re giving back to their local communities at the same time.
Employees working remotely can struggle to disconnect from work at the end of the day, especially if they’re doing irregular hours around childcare, for example. So you might want to give them training on ways to switch off. Make sure your managers are aware of this as well, and that they encourage healthy work practices in all their team members, wherever they work. This also applies to keeping an eye out for signs that people are struggling with their mental health.
Want to know more?
Our consultants are experts at finding remote, hybrid and office-based workers. In fact, at the time of writing, 58% of the roles on our website are hybrid, and 6% are fully remote. Talk to one of our team today if you’re looking to recruit. And if you’d like some more information about helping people work from home the right way, have a read of this article.