What is a Hybrid workplace?
A hybrid workplace consists of mixing remote working with office work. Hybrid working allows better flexibility as to when the work can be done and allows employees to fit their work in around their personal life; rather than attending the workplace and being tied into fixed working hours every day.
Hybrid workplaces can offer a stronger work-life balance for employees, and can reduce costs for employers as they will not require large expensive premises to accommodate all employees, as the workplace will operate with skeleton staff who rotate in or out of the office and will generally hot desk when they are in the office.
Since the pandemic hit us in March 2020, for certain industries, “going to work” is no longer going to a place of work, it has been replaced by working remotely.
Before the pandemic many employers were not keen on the idea of their employees working remotely. Many thought remote working would mean employees were spending time on the ‘golf course’, socialising or looking after children if they wanted to work from home, rather than them actually working. Ever changing technology had already made remote working easier for both employers and employees, but since the pandemic hit, how employees worked changed overnight, due to the strict restrictions that if employees could work from home they should be allowed to do so.
Employers are now recognising, that certain work can be done from anywhere, not just in the office or a place of work, as long as an employee has the equipment and technology they need, they can work from almost anywhere.
Some employees have struggled with home working and juggling home life with work; however according to research many have said they feel more productive working at home, this has been due to many factors, including the flexibility to do the work to suit their other commitments and also being able to focus on the task in hand, and not have colleagues distracting.
Now the strict restrictions and lockdown have started to ease, employers may start to review whether they will require their employees to return to a workplace, whether they will consider allowing remote working to continue, or whether to allow employees to do a mixture of the two. The most important factor if employees are to return to the workplace is whether it is safe to do so and if the recommended measures are in place.
Hybrid working environments could become the workplaces of the future. These workplaces will be able to support flexible working arrangements amongst their employees, building trust with employees that they will do the work at a suitable time to them, and as long as the work gets completed, it does not necessarily matter where the work is done from. This can help companies to become more productive.
Top Tips on how employers can implement hybrid working
- Ensure you have a Company Flexible Working Policy in place.
- Communicate the plan to move to a hybrid model and include employees in the changes and decision-making process, employees are more likely to be onboard if they understand the changes and exactly how it will affect them.
- Invest in good technology and train employees to use the technology effectively, including an intranet site.
- Plan “meeting up sessions” for employees – so employees can meet colleagues face to face at times, rather than just ‘see’ each other over video calls.
- Set clear remote working goals and targets.
- Provide support and cover costs to employees for internet and equipment needed at home to remote work.
- Have regular one to one catch ups between employees and their line manager.
- Ensure good and effective communications, ensuring all employees get the same messages.
- Implement a good induction programme for new employees to enable them to feel connected and part of the team from the very beginning.
For more thoughts about the future of work listen to our podcast “The HR Connection” – where we explore the concept of the Hybrid Workplace…or for information on any HR topic please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299