- Employee Management
Hybrid working: all you need to know
The COVID-19 pandemic forced employees to leave their offices and work from home. It’s been over one year and with the restrictions being lifted in a lot of countries and life slowly going back to normal, companies are thinking about the future of work.
Is everyone going back to the office space? Are some departments better off working permanently remotely? A relatively new term comes up and it seems to be the best solution: Hybrid working. Read on to learn how to make the transition effectively in your company.
What is hybrid working?
In short, the concept of hybrid working is a combination that allows the employee to work part time in the workplace and part time remotely. This ‘blended style’ means to take the benefits from both working formats and provide a better arrangement for company and staff.
According to a survey conducted by CIPD, before the pandemic 15% of the employers said that more than half of their team worked regularly at home. However, this percentage is expected to be shifted to 40% after the crisis. This finding is a great example of the popularity of the new pattern of the hybrid model in the market.
For most HR managers, hybrid working is considered to be a positive outcome of the pandemic. The ‘compulsory’ remote work during the crisis allowed companies to realise the work should be output-focused instead of encouraging presenteeism.
Some people adapted easily to remote working and could find focus and be productive at home. On the other hand, others had to deal with frustrations such as the lack of face to face interaction and loneliness.
Employees are aware of the changes to come and the interest in the flexible forms of working has grown. If the organisation does not allow these forms, there is a high risk of losing the best employees with staff turnover. Workers want to feel they are being heard and that companies care about their opinion and well-being.
As a solution, a hybrid format can bring a work life balance to combine the advantages of each form. A few days a week in the office can be really helpful to improve team connection and boost their moods.
Benefits of hybrid working
Among the many benefits of hybrid working, here are the main ones:
- Improve employee’s autonomy, boosting productivity
- Promote inclusion, respecting employee’s personal opinions
- Better work-life balance and job satisfaction
- Allows the possibility to have more time with family and friends
- Save commute time and costs
- Develop the company culture and sense of belonging
- Reduce absence rates
- Collaboration and team building from working in the office
- Reduce real estate and facilities costs for the company
- Enhance diversity with the possibility of team members from different locations
Hybrid working policy
For organisation and legal issues, it is highly recommended that companies introduce a clear hybrid working policy, adjusted to the company’s field. A policy will specify the terms that need to be followed and the limitations of the worker’s flexibility.
For example, the company can expect the employee of a certain department to be in office for at least 3 full days a week, of their choice. It can also be added to the policy that on specific days, such as the monthly team meeting, everyone needs to attend in person.
The hybrid policy should also include how the employees are supposed to manage their time slots, e.g. if the hours are totally flexible or if they need to require approval for the set hours, in order for the other team members to know they are ‘available’. How to handle sickness absence when working remotely also should be taken into account.
Expectations being managed properly, the employer reduces the chances of complaints and misunderstandings.
How to create a hybrid workplace
First of all, prioritise which roles would go back to the office first. Remember to check if there are employees who will remain working remotely due to health conditions or other reasons, in the short term. Meanwhile, keep track of all the updates regarding the social distancing measures in your location and also the UK government’s guidance, regarding this matter.
Keep in mind that the main purpose of going to the workplace is to create and strengthen the team’s connection. Therefore, focus on redesigning the office with more team working spaces.
Some recommended practices for the company to achieve a successful hybrid workplace are:
- Make sure the leaders have empathy with their employees during the transition period
- Keep updated of any new restrictions - social distancing, use of masks, etc.
- Create a plan for each group of employees so you know which days they’re going to the office and which ones they’re remote
- Clarify all the important information about the company’s hybrid policy
- Encourage your team to raise questions and share their inputs and concerns during the transition time
- Review with the staff all the information about IT usage and data protection
- Give all the support needed while working remotely with these working from home tools and tips
- Prepare the workplace with communal areas for conferences and other activities
- Provide continuing mental health support for all the team
- Prepare the company’s recruitment, training and onboarding processes to match a hybrid model
- Intensify effective communication to build collaboration within the team
The future of work
The flexible working form implied by the crisis was positively embraced by most of the workers worldwide. Hybrid working seems to be turning to a standard for most of the companies in both short and long term. There’s still a lot to adapt and learn from it, so it is definitely worth investing time to conduct it properly.
Each company has to investigate its own market and limitations to make sure what works better for their businesses. Creating good hybrid working practices, while considering the health and safety of the staff, will help to build the most successful work environment - regardless of being in the office or at home.
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