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Busy day at the office?

The truth about hybrid working post pandemic.

With approximately 25% of the workforce in the UK having ‘professional’ jobs, this makes it the type of occupation with the highest percentage of workers.

This is also the sector which is most ‘office based’ and these are the workers who have the option to work from home or adopt hybrid working at least some of the time. During the pandemic, offices shifted to full home-working but many have continued with a hybrid model since then.

But for the many people who work in frontline healthcare, transport, education, production, retail, hospitality, agriculture, trades and service sectors, to name but a few, the implication (often in the media) that everyone can now work from home must be extremely irritating.

However, with a quarter of the workforce potentially having the ability to work from home, the way that many people now work has undoubtedly changed forever, and hybrid working is here to stay.

A recent survey suggests that UK workers are going into the office an average of 1.5 days a week, with only 13% coming in on a Friday. It also suggests average attendance was 29%, with a peak of 39% mid-week. Even pre-Covid, UK workers were going into the office an average of 3.8 days a week, according to the research which covered sectors including banking, energy, engineering, healthcare, insurance and tech.

However, a separate ONS survey this spring revealed that the majority of people do not work from home. Suggesting that 38% of working adults reported having worked from home at some point over the past seven days. Banking had the highest average attendance of the sectors surveyed and tech had the lowest.

The survey also suggested that organisations with hybrid working policies, where they specify employees should be in the office for a certain number of days, had higher attendance than those that did not.

With more than 80% of firms saying that they have adopted hybrid working, working from home for part of the week has now become the norm for some workers. But senior leaders are also actively encouraging employees to return to the workplace. However, the Chartered Institute of Management does say that firms should adopt hybrid working as best practice.

The CMI says that companies should recognise the shift in the working world and its direct correlation with an increase in productivity. It does not recommend home working 100% of the time, but that best practice is to have a blend, using time in the office to do things which can’t be done remotely.

With the post pandemic reality being that many employees are now working with a combination of in office and remote days, we are starting to learn what hybrid work actually means, or to some extent. But what is clear is that businesses do have to be flexible, especially in a competitive landscape, if they want to recruit and retain the right people.

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