Hybrid Working - How to practically achieve it

Louise McCosh


Hybrid Working - How to practically achieve it

Not a week goes by without another multinational commenting on hybrid working - whether it be their plans to embrace it or decrying the merits of the new world of work, hybrid working is the new hot topic.  In this article, we consider hybrid working in more detail, along with how employers can effectively implement this new model of working with a range of downloadable resources included.

 

Working 9 To 5, What A Way To Make A Living

Dolly Parton has been signing about the downsides of the ingrained notion of the 9 to 5 office culture since 1980, but it has taken a pandemic to fundamentally alter the world of work.   The enforced social experiment of remote working has quashed arguments that people have to work in an office to be productive, and it is has empowered employees to work in a more flexible way balancing other aspects of their lives alongside work.  

It is a misconception that work will revert back to permanent office working post-pandemic, and indeed for some companies embracing hybrid will be key to success in rebuilding, not least if it is a means to reducing costly floor space, or to attract and retain top talent in a heavily candidate-driven market. 

Of course, after a year and a half of completely working from home, we can now clearly see the positive aspects of spending time in the office.  Commentary is littered with views that we are losing “water cooler moments” by not being in the office.  This overly simplistic view has left many of us wondering if we ever had a truly inspired work-related conversation with a colleague whilst filling up our water bottles, rather than exchanging pleasantries or the latest gossip.  However, it is true that collaboration, training of new and more junior staff and building relationships and culture are all easier face-to-face, and this makes hybrid working a very compelling model.

 

The Conundrum of Hybrid

Whilst most employers can see the wave of change coming, the reality of hybrid working is harder to visualise.  The reason for this is simple - there is no real hybrid blueprint we can use as a basis for our thinking.   The vast majority of businesses pre-pandemic operated a complete office working model, peppered with a day or two at home for more senior staff, and then overnight we moved to full-time remote working. 

Even companies who were closer to the new norm, like Google, famed for their forward-thinking approach to working, are missing the mark suggesting those opting for permanent remote working will be paid less than their office working counterparts causing outrage amongst staff.      

The lack of a hybrid working operating model creates a dilemma for companies – most are sold on the merits, but are struggling to see how to achieve it which in the words of Dolly is “enough to drive you crazy if you let it”!  But fear not, there are a range of practical steps you can take. 

 

Effective Implementation of Hybrid

Hybrid working will be unique to every business, but what is universal for all employers is that hybrid will evolve.  Accepting this new model of work as an evolving, iterative process is the first key step – it will take months, if not years to iron out the wrinkles. 

Whilst it will take more than “a cup of ambition”, developing an effective hybrid working model doesn’t have to be arduous and there are a number of simple actions you can take.  Below our top 5 recommendations to achieving successful hybrid working including downloadable resources:

1. Talk to your staff on a group and individual level

Talking to and listening to staff is essential.  Taking a consultative approach through focus groups, conducting surveys and arranging for managers to speak to staff individually will pave the way for implementing changes in how everyone works.  Download our Hybrid Working Staff Discussion Form by clicking here.

2. Develop a hybrid working strategy for your business

It is important for leaders to develop a hybrid strategy that works for their business and staff, this can be achieved by answering key questions such as: 

  • How often do you want staff to be in the office - are you flexible, or is there a set percentage of time or number of days per week you want people to come in?
  • Do you want to go a step further and become a completely virtual company?
  • Are there roles that cannot accommodate hybrid working in your business?
  • What will you do to keep your culture alive?
  • When do you want to move to hybrid working?  

3. Arrange for your managers to consider how they will manage hybrid working

There is no doubt there will be significant practical challenges to managing hybrid working.  Task managers with considering how they will manage hybrid in practice such as ensuring adequate cover in the office and how to maintain effective communication with some staff at home and others in the office.  Download our Managing Hybrid Working Plan Form by clicking here.

4. Develop a hybrid working policy

Setting out the parameters of hybrid working for your business is crucial, and this can be achieved through the development of a hybrid working policy.   This will set out expectations, and will also detail more practical elements such as whether you will pay for additional household costs when staff are working from home. 

5. Consider your IT needs

Hybrid working means that your staff will essentially have two workstations and so there may be a requirement for additional hardware.  There may also be a need to consider enhanced software functionality to embrace this more modern approach to working, such as hybrid working software.

  

 

Happy Hybrid Medium 

Hybrid working is a new frontier for most businesses, and whilst we have all become used to change over the last year and a half, moving to hybrid can seem daunting.  Bold moves to reconfigure your office space to accommodate a more modern way of working will be right for some, but this doesn’t have to be the blueprint and can almost be a stumbling block to moving forward.   If implementing hot-desking and creating collaborative break out spaces feels a bridge too far for you right now, try taking some of the small, yet incremental steps to achieving a happy hybrid medium that will work for both the business and your staff.

 

Further Support

If you need support and guidance in moving towards hybrid working, French Duncan HR Services are here to help.    Please do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing enquiries@fdhrservices.co.uk or by calling 0141 221 2984.

   
 Click here to see Louise McCosh's profile and contact details.

 

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