COVID changed the face of many workplaces and employer’s attitudes to working from home. Not surprisingly perhaps, as many organisations could not have survived without it during the Pandemic.
And, as we returned to some sort of normality, many have been asking how effective it really is, with a more recent and increasing trend for many employers to start encouraging more people back into the office in an effort to improve efficiency, creativity and team working. While other employers have been actively incorporating it into their workplace, especially the prevalence of Hybrid Working, a combination of office and home working.
So, the Government wanted the answer to many questions. The UK’s Hybrid Work Commission, in collaboration with the CIPD, has now released a comprehensive report outlining the benefits and challenges of hybrid working. The report emphasises that a well-implemented hybrid work model can lead to increased productivity, better work-life balance, and a more inclusive workforce.
The Government is anxious to capitalise on the rise of hybrid and remote working. To make sure, it sought a wide variety of opinions; it was co-sponsored by various organisations, including CIPD, Indeed, Liverpool John Moore’s University, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Prospect, Vodafone, and Zoom.
Not surprisingly the report is inconclusive, and suggests that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach; employers should aim to find a balance that suits both the organisation and its employees.
From an inclusivity standpoint, hybrid working can offer opportunities to those who might otherwise be unable to work, such as individuals with disabilities or caregiving responsibilities. However, it’s crucial to remember that there are many job roles that either cannot be performed remotely, or, it has been found to create operational and team working problems.
Flexible working is not simply about home working, and employers should also consider other forms of flexible working, like flexitime and compressed hours, to benefit all staff.
The report also highlights a perception gap in productivity. While some employers believe remote work enhances productivity, others feel the opposite. Interestingly, these views often depend on the current working model of the organisation.
Lastly, the report calls for the UK Government to introduce a National Remote and Hybrid Work Strategy. It also recommends that employers provide training to Line Managers on managing hybrid teams, and that guidelines be developed to measure productivity in a hybrid environment.
Action Points for Employers:
- Consult Your Team: Involve employees in discussions to find the most effective hybrid working model for your organisation.
- Training for Managers: Invest in training programmes that help Line Managers effectively manage hybrid teams.
- Measure Productivity: Develop meaningful metrics to evaluate the productivity of employees in a hybrid setting.
- Inclusivity Check: Ensure your hybrid model is inclusive, catering to people with disabilities and caregiving responsibilities.
- Flexible Options: Apart from remote work, consider offering other flexible working arrangements like flexitime and compressed hours, where feasible.
- Government Guidelines: Keep an eye on Governmental recommendations and strategies related to hybrid and remote working to stay compliant and maximise benefits.
By implementing these action points, employers can make the most out of hybrid working while ensuring a balanced and inclusive work environment.
The guidance provided in this article is just that – guidance. Before taking any action, make sure that you know what you are doing, or call an expert for specific advice.