Following a turbulent couple of years, many businesses have been forced to adopt new ways of working to accommodate the need for employees to work flexibly. Plenty of focus is placed on employee wellbeing and staff satisfaction, two key arguments for hybrid working, but the advantages of adopting a flexible working model don’t end there. With rising transport costs, energy bills and ever-present time constraints, allowing employees to work from home certainly comes with a number of benefits for businesses, too.
A recent study from McKinsey showed that 75% of all respondents prefer a hybrid working model and only 25% prefer to be fully on-site, making it clear to see that the work-from-home wave is far from over for employees. As employers have to adapt to new ways of working, we outline the benefits of a hybrid model and how to successfully implement a hybrid working strategy for your business.
What is hybrid working?
Hybrid working is a work style in which employees work partially in the office, but also work at home or remotely from another location. Some employers choose to have their staff work from home for a defined amount of time, such as 3 days a week, while others allow employees to work remotely as much or as little as they choose.
Benefits of a hybrid working model
The primary benefit of hybrid working is that it allows employees to balance work and family responsibilities without sacrificing productivity. Many employees report that they can better connect with their families when working from home which improves employee retention and often improves the quality of family life.
Of the workers surveyed in a recent study by the ONS who worked from home in some capacity:
- 78% said it improved their work-life balance
- 52% said it was quicker to complete work
- 53% agreed they had fewer distractions
- 47% said that it improved their wellbeing
Is hybrid working better than fully remote working?
When developing a hybrid working strategy, it’s important to consider all benefits and disadvantages of remote working as a whole, which may leave some businesses tempted to implement full-time remote working as opposed to a hybrid model.
While remote working is truly having its moment in the limelight, there is a lot to be said for office work, too. The opportunity to be collaborative, easily communicate and enjoy social time with work colleagues is tricky to replicate virtually, meaning many employees thrive in the office environment.
Being a truly inclusive employer involves accommodating the needs of all staff, and this should factor in any decisions a business makes on its hybrid working policy. Consulting with employees and gathering their feedback is a valuable way to involve them in the decision-making process and ensure the final outcome benefits for all.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing a hybrid working strategy, learn how to make the best work decision for your business in our blog.
Key things to consider when building a strong hybrid working strategy
Defined rules and expectations
Having a clear set of guidelines is vital to successful hybrid working. Your team should know exactly what is expected of them and any actions they will need to take to meet these expectations. Businesses may wish to formalise guidance on:
- start and finish times for both home and office working.
- specific days employees are expected to be in the office.
- processes and procedures, e.g., communicating ‘office days’ ahead of time.
- remote working locations, such as co-working spaces.
Additionally, within the guidelines, it is important to be thinking about the welfare of your employees to ensure that they are not facing burnout from having undefined boundaries between work and home life. You can find more about this and other well-being considerations in our blog.
Changes to existing policies
With employees splitting their time between multiple work locations, you may need to revise existing policies such as employee benefits. There is a good case for scaling up existing health and wellness programmes to ensure employees’ at-home environment is as productive as their in-office one.
A clear example of this is equipment and workstation setup. Where offices are configured to ensure maximum comfort, some employees may not have the space or resources to ensure they can work comfortably from home. As an employer, it can be wise to extend these same benefits to home workers by providing additional equipment such as a functional office chair or replicating in-office benefits like free massages so that home workers are not excluded.
Companies work hard to ensure cyber security in the office environment, so it’s crucial to maintain these same levels when employees are working remotely to avoid any data breaches or cyber-attacks.
Most IT security measures can be extended to remote working, for example, employees can be given a login to access a VPN from home, but it can be useful to produce guidelines on mitigating risk in remote environments. This could include regularly updating passwords, reporting equipment loss and updating antivirus software to the latest versions.
Bridging the gap between office and remote
Camaraderie can be more difficult to maintain with employees working in separate locations, so it is important to facilitate conversation, exchange of ideas and streamlined work processes to integrate the remote and office workers within a team.
Shared task software such as Wrike or Trello can be helpful for gaining an overview of projects on the go, and Microsoft Teams is a useful multifunctional information-sharing platform to keep teams connected in every way. Educate your staff on how to best use tools like these and your workforce will reap the benefits.
Let us support your recruitment strategy in the new world of work
Though the world of work is evolving, our support remains the same. For help with your recruitment strategy, you can count on The Recruitment Consultancy to deliver. We provide businesses in and around Surrey and Sussex with permanent, temporary and contract staffing solutions. Our values have stood the test of time, despite the changes in the job market and the roles we are recruiting for.
Get in touch or learn more about our employer solutions here.