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Hybrid Working and 5 Big Mistakes to Avoid

Hybrid working demand is accelerating since the global pandemic, and employee attitudes have changed. To stay competitive, attract and retain the best talent, you must avoid these 5 Big Mistakes. Discover why you should care. 

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Hybrid working is simply the combination of partly working from home and at other times in the workplace. But remote working is not a new concept. So what has changed?

There is no getting away from the fact that the global pandemic has forced new ways of working. As a consequence, attitudes have changed, many businesses have pivoted and adapted, and the world has moved on. Of course, the government anticipated a return to work after lifting most of the Covid-19 restrictions. However, it is highly unlikely that pre-pandemic methods will remain the same. 

Is Hybrid Working a Partial Return to Work?

Employees may view hybrid working as a partial return to work. Whereas, for some work is not the issue, their concern may be the workplace.

Evidently, it is interesting that many firms have not insisted staff return to their workplace. As an example, this may be due to:

  • There are cost benefits for employers.
  • Improved staff performance is a reality.
  • Responding to employee expectations.
  • Greater familiarity of digital technology enabling remote or hybrid working.
  • Demand for flexible working has increased.
  • Some employees have adapted to working from home and prefer it.

Hybrid working has accelerated ever since the pandemic forced many to use digital technology for the first time. Consequently, things have certainly changed in the new world of work!

Research that Demonstrates Employer Attitudes

Employers that Expect Employees to Return to Work

30%
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Only 30% of employers expect to have their workforce fully back on-site in two years.

85%
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85% of businesses anticipate a return to the workplace for most employees who want to, by the end of 2021

Employers' Views About Employee Take-up 

23%
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Estimates from employers are that nearly a quarter of employees will work remotely full time by 2023.

41%
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Employers anticipate nearly half of employees will embrace hybrid working

Note: Most employers do not expect a return to pre-pandemic working practices.

Source: Willis Towers Watson

Hybrid Working Benefits

Benefits for Employers

For employers, the hybrid component of the new world of work provides opportunities for the following three key benefits:

  1. Providing a flexible working arrangement, attracting and retaining staff boosts morale, improves your brand value, and reduces recruitment costs. To clarify, many employees and potential job candidates want to spend some of their working week at home. 
  2. Improved morale means happy and more productive staff. Therefore you can benefit from improved productivity as well as savings in precious management time.
  3. Hybrid working can significantly reduce office space, which means lower property and energy costs.

Benefits for Employees 

The benefits and implications for employees when hybrid working are many and varied. For example, consider employees who for the first time had to work at home during the pandemic. Many discovered that:

  • They concentrate better and get more work done at home.
  • The savings in travelling time and costs have a significant positive impact on their home budgets.
  • Flexible working hours overcome what would otherwise be a conflict, such as with school runs. In other words, employees can do some work outside of regular office hours to get the job done. In fact, many are more productive as they do not have the ad-hoc office interruptions such as corridor conversations or impromptu meetings.
  • Less travel time means being less absent from their family.

A Quick Reality Check

After easing of Covid-19 restrictions and return to work, not everyone working at home will be keen to continue doing so, even on a hybrid basis, especially those with a lot of distractions at home.

As with any transformational change management, there will be some issues to consider. SVC cover five of the biggest mistakes below.

The 5 Big Hybrid Working Mistakes to Avoid 

Communication and Collaboration

  • Don't carry on as normal and do double your efforts with effective communication and collaboration. Notably this will help maintain and build team dynamics. Therefore you only need reasonable cooperation and effort, and time to get used to the new way of working.

    Clearly, with different employee expectations and requirements, failure to adapt will very likely damage your competitiveness and your business. So start from the top and lead by example by having an open senior management culture.
  • Video conferencing systems can be compelling, but bear in mind that digital meetings can suffer from so-called "Zoom fatigue".
  • With the convenience of video conferencing comes the simplicity of bringing people together. However, too many screen sessions in a day can be draining.
  • It is essential to make remote working engaging and that mental health issues do not go unnoticed.
  • You may need to adapt your procedures and have a structured approach to team meetings. Above all, regular one-to-one meetings will demonstrate that you care.
  • Just because an employee is working at home (e.g. three days a week), you still need to monitor stress levels and mental health. Most importantly, this is essential especially for people who were furloughed for a long time.

Fairness and Equal Opportunities

  • Trust your people! For example, there is no need to ensure your remote workers are working by having endless virtual meetings. You will know if they are performing by their results. Focus on the outputs, not the inputs, and you are likely to be pleasantly surprised!
  • The key to hybrid working is trust and transparency. So make sure you treat remote workers fairly. For example, treat them as if they were physically present, there is no excuse for proximity bias.
  • Regardless of location, your managers must give all employees equal access to work, support, training and development, plus promotion opportunities.

Remote Office Equipment

  • You will need to deal with issues such as ensuring staff have suitable broadband speed at home. Certainly, low speed and patchy broadband performance still exists in some rural areas.
  • Just sending someone to work from home with a laptop is not enough.

Health and Safety

  • Are your employee home environments suitable for hybrid working? For example, decide what provision will you make (or specify as mandatory for employees to have in place). 
  • Don't forget adequate working space and an approved type of chair. The reality is, not all employees will have a dedicated home office. Therefore ensure your employees have the resources they need.
  • You will need to complete the necessary risk assessments. This is because problems such as eye strain, back pain, repetitive strain injury and mental health are real issues that cannot be ignored.
  • Don't forget to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees where required.

Recruitment and Training

  • Hybrid working will require different processes and procedures for recruitment, onboarding, and training, where employees are not physically in the office as much.
  • Pre-pandemic systems are likely to be less appropriate in the 'new world of work'.

Summary

Hybrid working and the new world of work are here to stay, so things will be different.

Transformational change inevitably means some employers and employees alike, may be unsettled about working remotely.

If rolling out hybrid working seems daunting to you, SVC Solutions can help you with: 

  • Human Resources and Health & Safety advice and policies.
  • Leadership and Management Training and Development.
  • Mental Health Awareness training, plus Introduction to First Aid for Mental Health, and Understanding Mental Health in the Workplace for Managers.
  • Training in Managing Virtual Teams, Resilience and Self Care, and Workplace Wellness.
  • Recruiting the right people with the experience in new skills and systems you need.

Get Hybrid Working Help

for You and Your Company

SVC Solutions can provide you and your team with a complete range of business solutions to your business-critical issues. For a no-obligation confidential chat about how can help you and your company:

  • Message us by using the Contact Us button below.
  • Or call us on 01206 262117.

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