Making hybrid work now
There is no doubt that hybrid working is here to say and that it has changed the workplace forever.
However, post pandemic, we are starting to learn what hybrid working means in reality. It may at first seem like a simple choice of days in the office combined with days working remotely but there are a huge range of implications which employers should be aware of and make provision for.
As an employer you have a duty of care for your employees who are working from home, just as you would if they were in the office. This includes them having the correct workspace and equipment, that they don’t have too much screentime and that they get access to the same training and opportunities as their office-based colleagues.
Here is what we have learned so far about hybrid working.
How many days a week?
One of the biggest decisions for businesses to figure out is how many days a week that they ask their employees to come into the office. Whilst many have opted for 3-2 or 2-3, it is clear that a one size fits all approach does not work seamlessly and designing a hybrid working policy that suits everyone is almost impossible.
For example, balancing the preference of someone who hates the isolation of working from home to those of someone who doesn’t want to go back to the office at all. What is right for one, couldn’t be worse for another.
Different pay levels?
Another debate is raging in relation to pay levels for those working in different locations. Tensions are brewing as to whether in-office workers should make more than their remote colleagues. Stephenson Harwood being a high-profile city law firm who offered a 20% pay cut for full time working from home.
However, with huge competition for talent, and a host of incentives to encourage people back to their desks failing, it remains to be seen whether this shift will actually happen. Watch this space………………
The emotional impact of hybrid working
For some people, employees find that hybrid working helps their well-being and that it suits their personal and family situation, or even their personality. Whilst others have really missed the human interaction with their colleagues, this has especially been the case with younger employees or those without children, some of whom have seen their well-being decline while they were working in isolation. Hybrid working is also extremely challenging for those in inappropriate living situations, or for those who never have even met their colleagues in person.
Although some people find the switching between the two types of work setting and schedule tiring, unsettling and less productive. Again, it is difficult for employers to design a policy that suits everyone.
Offices have changed
Many offices have changed how they look, with more team focussed spaces and better technology integration for team meetings and presentations. With focus tasks being home based and the office being used as a gathering space for team discussion and collaboration.
The future of hybrid
We are still in the early days of hybrid working and there is still a lot that we don’t know and there is still a lot to learn. It is unwise to make sweeping generalisations about hybrid work because every business situation and employees are totally different. What works for some does not work for others.
External pressures too, such as the economy and a shrinking labour market, could shift workplace power back to bosses, changing hybrid policies and triggering a return to offices.
Making hybrid work now
What is clear, is that people have very different needs. Those companies who offer a flexible and more accommodating approach, are more able to recruit and retain talented people.
For now, businesses need to refine their hybrid working policies to maximise the productivity of their team and to do so in a way which improves their welfare and wellbeing in the workplace.
I have helped many businesses to introduce a successful hybrid working set up. From helping to create and implement a tailored hybrid working policy to ensuring that workspaces and conditions are fully compliant with the law, to providing specialist training and support for managers, I can help and advise you and your organisation. Making hybrid work for you and your team.