While some employees want to work from home all the time after the pandemic, most would prefer a balance where they are in the office for some of the week and at home for the remainder. This has led to the use of a relatively new term: hybrid working. Many organisations are now considering what ‘hybrid’ means for them, how they might meet this new employee demand, and what will need to be in place in order for these new ways of working to be effective.
What will hybrid working mean for businesses
This type of working is an arrangement in which an individual, team or organisation work part of their time at the workplace and part remotely. Companies are now planning for a future of dispersed workforces and remote team management, which will require higher levels of trust than before. Employees will be trusted to choose the place where they are most productive, allowing workforces to fluidly utilise workspaces.
Chief executive Mark Dixon from global workspace provider IWG believes companies are keen to shed some of their office space and use third-party facilities instead, often closer to where staff actually live. “It works for companies, because it’s a lot cheaper,” he said. “It’s also much, much better for the environment,” he added, as it enabled workers to cut back on commuting. IWG said in a statement: ‘Increasingly the workplace is anywhere workers and businesses want it to be: at home, in a local office, or at a corporate HQ.’
Technology as always, plays a critical role in any business and thanks to the leaps that have been made in this, it’s possible to be present in, and contribute to, most meetings, even when you’re elsewhere. And for those of us who have long been interested in flexible working, it’s worth noting that the focus on hybrid working, and the changes as a result, are hugely beneficial for part-time employees, as well as full-time hybrid ones.
Despite the many complexities and challenges of living and working through the global pandemic, employees have still identified many benefits from working from home, for both them and their organisation. These benefits include a better work-life balance, greater ability to focus with fewer distractions, more time for family and friends, saved commuting time and costs, IT upskilling and higher levels of motivation. Other benefits of flexible working include savings on office space, higher levels of employee job satisfaction and reduced absence rates.
Legal implications of hybrid working
Organisations will need to give careful consideration to the contractual implications of hybrid working. Where employees make a formal request for hybrid working through a flexible working policy (and the request is accepted) this will amount to a formal change to terms and conditions of employment. Hybrid working (and indeed other forms of flexible working) can also be undertaken on an informal basis without a contractual change. You should make sure that employees and managers understand the differences and the implications of both.
Finding a solution for the future of work will be unique to each organisation, and will depend on striking the right balance between providing a place where your employees can thrive, but also driving forward a business successfully. A one fit solution just won’t work for all and we must remain open minded to each individuals personal situation and also the companies.
For further information on the introduction of hybrid working and HR advice, please contact us here.