Should you adopt a hybrid working model?
The emergence of COVID-19 forced many businesses to transition to a remote working model for many of its employees. Post-pandemic, businesses are now considering what their working model should look like. Should they continue with a fully remote working model? Should they return to what was in place pre-COVID? Should they integrate both into what is known as a hybrid working model?
What is a Hybrid Working Model?
A hybrid working model allows an employee to split their working week between home and the office. Whilst most employees have become accustomed to working remotely, others preferred a mixture of time away from home and in the office, to still integrate themselves in a working environment, whereas some have preferred to continue working in an office full time where it was possible.
Using a hybrid working model can be a proven way for businesses moving forward as it can promote flexibility, autonomy and high performance. Compared to June of 2020, 33% of employers surveyed this year were more likely to say that working from home boosted an employee’s productivity, while there was a decrease down to only 23% in those who stated there seemed to be less productivity for employees working from home (compared to that of 28% last year). Moving forward, businesses may find that a hybrid working model can prove to be the new norm.
What to consider for a hybrid working model
One of the main aspects to consider is talking to your staff. It’s important to discuss whether or not they like the idea of going hybrid. Several businesses would have had to transition to a remote working method during the pandemic, and trying to completely revert back after people became used to a new way of working may be met with backlash. Do they want to keep/make the change? It is found that younger generations want more flexibility to improve their work-life balance, and would perhaps be more forthcoming with the idea.
Equipment is also a big consideration if you are going to allow staff to work from home. Do they have the appropriate set up to effectively work from home? Will you need to do a risk assessment for their home set-up to ensure they will be able to work to the best of their abilities? Steps should be taken to ensure these are taken into consideration and staff are fully equipped for a new working model with the correct health and safety protocols in place. HR:4UK provides health and safety services and can help you through any concerns you may have.
What are the advantages of hybrid working?
1. Increased productivity
Employers have found that providing the option for employees to work remotely improves their productivity. They also have less distractions as may typically be found in a workplace, meaning they are able to focus better, and have more flexibility to pace themselves and work in a way that best suits them.
2. Saving time and money
It comes as no surprise that a hybrid working model means businesses are able to cut back their costs. Having some of the workforce working remotely on certain days naturally means the need for office space and subsequent costs incurred are reduced.
Hybrid working means that employees are also able to save time and money on daily commutes, heading out to buy a lunch every day, or even paying for parking. Those who travel to work with long commutes would welcome having a few days a week of staying at home without the hassle of travelling up to a few hours a day to and from work; life can be a little easier from home sometimes.
3. Continuation of operations
Working from home affords employees a greater degree of flexiability, thus allowing operations to continue if a situation surfaced which impacted more traditional methods.
4. Keep Communication going
Whilst a work-from-home method can prove useful and beneficial, some employers may find that isolation and loneliness can begin to become a factor . It is important to keep communication alive and ongoing whilst staff work from home to ensure they stay connected to the business and their colleagues.
How to support your team through hybrid working
In order to ensure you are able to support your team during this new phase, there are aspects to bear in mind.
Do you have a hybrid working policy in place? It’s important that your policies and procedures cover most of the issues, and that they are reviewed on a consistent basis.
Although people will spend time working from home, it is still important to keep on top of things such as performance management and regularly making time to check in with them. Certain staff may find it easier and more productive working from home, however others may struggle; communicate about their performance and help ensure they are able to overcome any obstacles they are facing.
Line managers may not be used to dealing with a hybrid working method, and may struggle to manage their team effectively who are working from home. Consider training up the managers of the business to deal with mental health and wellbeing challenges so that they are better equipped to helping with any struggles their team may be facing.
How can HR:4UK Help?
There are several ways in which a hybrid working model can still be initiated for those businesses who have yet to implement a change in working practices. It is an option that should definitely be considered, and your business could greatly benefit from it.
If you are looking to explore options of a new working model, HR:4UK is here to help make that happen. We offer advice and will help ensure that your contracts and policies are up-to-date and legally compliant to allow for any working changes. Speak to us today for advice and how we can support you on 01455 444222 or email [email protected].
A qualified employment law solicitor and our managing director, Angela has unparalleled legal expertise and decades of experience and knowledge to draw from. She’s a passionate speaker and writer that loves to keep employers updated with upcoming changes to legislation, and is a regular guest speaker on BBC Leicester Radio.