4 steps to hybrid working

Business Insights

Since the start of the pandemic, many businesses have been operating remotely to limit the spread of the virus. Homeworking offered a new level of flexibility to some workers, along with a greater work-life balance, and less time and money dedicated to a commute. However, remote working in the context of coronavirus measures presented challenges for many teams, from collaborating on projects to employee wellbeing.

As restrictions ease, employers are planning their return to the office, and some have already begun to welcome back their teams over the summer. Some companies are deciding to take a ‘hybrid’ approach moving forward.

What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working refers to a model of flexible working which allows an employee to combine working in the office and working remotely. Hybrid working arrangements can be about more than location, and could include:

  • flexible start and finish times;

  • flexible days of work;

  • compressed hours etc.

If hybrid working is suitable for a business, it offers multiple benefits for employers. Not only would a hybrid working model attract new talent looking for flexible working options, but it would also act as a powerful employee retention tool by supporting employee engagement and wellbeing.

Moreover, it appears this is what most homeworkers want in the future. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that 85% of homeworkers surveyed want to use a hybrid approach where they are able to work in both the office and from home. A hybrid approach offers an ideal balance for employees; teams could build relationships and collaborate on projects in the office, and still concentrate on large, independent tasks when working from home. Employees would have the flexibility to manage their workload in a way that works for them.

4 steps to hybrid working

Some businesses are still undecided on what model of working will be right for them going forward. According to the ONS, 32% of businesses surveyed stated they were unsure how much of the workforce would be working from their usual place of work. To support you in considering a hybrid working model for your organisation, here are 4 steps to hybrid working.

    1. Determine if hybrid working is right for your business

As you plan your return to the office, consider your business requirements and how they would impact a hybrid working model.

For example, do your customer or client requirements mean that you would need employees to be available on particular days and hours? Do your business requirements differ depending on job roles or teams? What office space is available? Do you have technology and equipment to enable hybrid working?

    2. Communicate with your employees

Once you have analysed your business requirements, discuss the potential for hybrid working with your employees to understand their views. Ask them how they would ideally like to work and listen to their experiences of homeworking. Depending on the size of your workforce, you could use a staff survey or a simple conversation between managers and employees to gain this feedback.

It will be extremely important to consult with your employees (and trade unions where applicable) about plans for a return to the office. Take care, as it mayamount to a formal change to the terms and conditions of employment which could require a formal consultation process in some cases. Further information is available in our complete guide to hybrid working.

    3. Setting up your hybrid working model for success

It is crucial that everyone is treated equally and fairly, and you should ensure your hybrid working model delivers this. In addition, you should ensure your workplace is covid-secure, and that your team have the technology and equipment needed. Importantly, you should consider how you are going to communicate as a team, and how managers should engage with their direct reports. In addition, we would recommend you provide training on any new systems or procedures.

    4. Update your policies and procedures

Make sure you update all relevant policies and procedures to reflect your new ways of working.

A hybrid working policy should detail the process to apply for hybrid working, eligibility, and the roles and responsibilities of workers and managers working under the hybrid model. Don’t forget that related policies, such as IT and data protection, may need to be reviewed, and consider how procedures such as onboarding, absence and performance management will be impacted.

If you are considering introducing hybrid working and need support contact Fitzgerald HR on 0330 223 5253 or office@fitzgeraldhr.co.uk