How to make hybrid working a success

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24 January 2022

How to make hybrid working a success

There has been so much change to working arrangements over the last 18 months and it looks like in many cases, things may have changed for the long term. Hybrid working – splitting your time between the office and home – may become the norm in many organisations in future including roles which were once considered unsuitable for homeworking. Many businesses have found that working remotely doesn’t necessarily lead to a dip in productivity levels.

You may now be left with some staff wanting to stay working from home, some wanting to come back into the office and some preferring a hybrid or flexible approach.

But there are a few things you need to get right for it to work properly in your organisation, especially if it is going to be a long-term plan.

1. Think carefully about the pros and cons for your business and the lessons learned from the pandemic working arrangements. Think long-term as having a strategy will be important.

Clearly not every business is in a position to be able to offer hybrid working and even if you can, it might not be applicable to every role. If you can and working from home has worked for you during lockdown then it could of course work for you long-term.

Also give some thought to how it would change your company culture and what you could do to maintain the culture you have.

2. Gather feedback from your staff

Understanding what your staff feel about it is an important starting point. Gather feedback and understand what they think the challenges will be and give them the opportunity to raise concerns.

Hybrid working will have particular implications on your managers so it’s important to ensure they are fully on board and are up for the unique challenges it will bring.

3. Set out a clear policy

Defining the parameters of your new hybrid working policy will be the building blocks for its success. As this is likely to be a change from the usual working arrangement it is important to set things out formally as it could constitute a change to terms and conditions.

Consider these questions: Will the policy extend to all employees/roles? Will there be limitations on days at home versus days in the office? Will your staff need to come into the office for meetings?

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Hybrid working needs to be based on effective communication. You should agree what technology you are going to use and what regular meetings you will have. Regardless of how many team members are in the office, it is advisable to conduct all meetings online, ensuring it is fair to everyone.

You may be using Zoom or Teams for your meetings but consider also whether you will benefit from project tools such as Slack and maybe WhatsApp for informal chat.

5. Arm your team with the right tools for the job

As well as ensuring your staff have appropriate kit to be able to work from home – laptop, desk, chair, consider how you will deal with staff wellbeing, inclusion and training needs.

6. Plan some face-to-face time

As human beings we need some opportunities for social interaction and as restrictions have relaxed somewhat now it should be possible to arrange some regular in-person team focused events.

7. Be supportive

We’ve all found the last year or so difficult at times and staff wellbeing needs to be top of your agenda. Ensure you create the opportunity for open discussions on how people are feeling, any concerns they have or challenges they face.

8. Don’t lose sight of learning and development

Effective people management becomes more difficult with a mix of people at home and office. You may find your staff have different training needs such as how to work remotely as a team, communication skills or IT training. Managers may need to focus more on how to manage outputs rather than hours worked.

We have seen increasing interest from businesses for rota management software, not simply for scheduling staff but for logging your start and finish time or seeing who happens to be in the office on any given day. If you think this could benefit your company’s hybrid working policy, please get in touch.

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