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What is hybrid working?

It’s hard to walk a few steps in business these days without hearing the words ‘hybrid working’. Before the pandemic, there were organisations already adopting this, whilst the traditional way of working was still predominantly office-based.

The swift changes the pandemic brought with it have meant that hybrid working has become much more well-known and widely adopted.

Companies are now embracing the hybrid working model and jobseekers are listing it as criterion when looking for their next role.

But what is it?

Hybrid working is a flexible way of working, where employees can split the locations in which they work and adopt a hybrid approach of office-based and remote working.

Let’s dig deeper

At its broadest, hybrid working is about dividing work between the office and home. When we dig a little deeper however, its much more than that.

Hybrid working can encompass a raft of ways of flexible working, such as:

  • Most of the week office-based, part of the week remote,
  • Most of the week remote, part of the week office-based,
  • Staggered working patterns and working in shifts,
  • Whole teams office-based with other teams working remotely,
  • Employees choosing the times they work or compressing hours,
  • Companies shortening the working week.

Why do it?

The benefits hybrid working can bring are many and are increasing as organisations embrace it.

Positive wellbeing is a significant benefit. With teams able to work from home, they can integrate their work into their home life and achieve a better balance.

Less travelling: Working at home means no daily commute. Another wellbeing plus, and a cost saving for staff.

Better relationships: Being able to work from home requires managers to put trust in their teams to work without supervision and remain productive, therefore it can strengthen relationships as colleagues see they are being given more control over their working life.

Increased productivity: Remote workers can focus on tasks that require deep concentration and no interruptions. Collaborative and team working tasks can be reserved for the office time. Productivity can increase as the work tasks become more tailored to the location in which they are being carried out. Better wellbeing and work/life balance also helps to increase productivity as the workforce remains motivated and committed.

Lower running costs: By no longer having everybody in the office, there is the potential to make savings on office space and equipment, though companies still need to ensure what they do provide is sufficient for the company needs.

More talent to choose from: With the boundaries of the office widened to include remote workspaces, the potential for a wider talent pool is there. Appealing to workers who are only able to work remotely is now an option, but also, workers who have had to reduce their work or leave work, because of personal commitments such as caring for dependents, who can now be part of a remote workforce.

But what of its challenges?

Of course, there are things to overcome and address, as with any new process. We’ve covered our ten biggest challenges here, but broadly, they include factors such as a change in culture, a need to retain and strengthen connection and communication, and making sure there doesn’t become a hierarchy of workers based on where they are working. Company processes will need updating, including policies and procedures to ensure you remain legally compliant and following all employment legislation.

How do we do it?

If you’re thinking of adopting a hybrid approach, there are some simple steps to follow to get you started.

  • Make a plan – always the best way to start. You need to plan your approach, beginning with consulting your teams.
  • Choose a schedule – you need to decide on the right hybrid work schedule for your company. We have advice here on the different types and considerations.
  • Prepare – create your implementation systems, invest in equipment, training and upskilling colleagues and managers.
  • Tools – decide what tools you will need to implement your plan. This should include any communication and collaboration software, and hybrid management software, such as Team Today.
  • Review – build in regular reviews to see how the new approach is working, make any changes, and keep communicating with your teams to get feedback and ideas for improvements.

Hybrid working is an exciting way of bringing work into modern life. It allows us to blend our worlds and recognises that the new age of working is quite different to how we’ve worked before.

Wherever you are on your hybrid journey, we have resources on our blog for whenever you need it.

Madeleine Thompson

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