Hybrid working is when an amount of work occurs in an office or other workplace, and the rest is done remotely. This may involve everyone having a mixture of office and remote working or having some people permanently at work, while others always work from home. In the past, working from anywhere other than the workplace was rare.
But this was changed by the COVID-19 pandemic as governments gave instructions to work from home when possible. Advances in technology meant that this was a successful way of working, and many employees preferred it, although others highlighted drawbacks to not being in the workplace. Hybrid working is an attempt to enjoy the best of both worlds, and increasingly companies are considering that this may be the future.
Advantages for employees
Working from home allows employees to be more flexible in their approach and enjoy a better work-life balance. They can often work when they are most productive or adjust their schedule around family commitments without becoming less effective at work.
The pandemic has also highlighted how easily illnesses can spread in the workplace, and many are glad to avoid this exposure by working from home. Working remotely, if required, has helped many if they have tested positive for COVID-19 and need to isolate but do not feel particularly unwell.
In a good workplace testing routine, rapid antigen tests can be easily sourced from suppliers like Matrix Diagnostics. If an employee tests positive following a COVID-19 test, they can switch easily to remote working.
However, with some time spent in the workplace, employees avoid the loneliness that can occur if work is done entirely from home.
Advantages for employers
With fewer people in the workplace, employees can make financial savings. They can maintain smaller premises, with lower overheads. Additionally, with employees not needing to live near the workplace, employers can recruit from anywhere in the world, allowing them to consider a higher calibre of applicants. And with employees increasingly preferring at least some remote working, by following a hybrid model, they can attract these high calibre candidates,
And crucially it gives working parents vital work/life balance and a better quality of life. Sick days will be reduced, and employees will be more loyal to the company because it gives them the lifestyle they want. Happier workers also produce a better quality of work and may even work extra hours to replace the commuting time.
Making it work
The key to successful hybrid working is good communication. Employees need to know how they will be monitored and supported when not in the workplace. Even with regular contact, employees need to be aware of the danger of creating a two-tiered system where those in the workplace are favoured over those who are not. Regular meetings and team building activities, both in person and via video link, can effectively forge workplace links that can otherwise weaken.
Employers must also be aware of differences in home circumstances. Not everyone has the quiet space needed for productive working, so keeping the hybrid system flexible is necessary to get the best working environment for all employees.
It seems a near certainty that hybrid working will continue to grow in popularity, so taking the necessary steps to ensure it works well is time well spent.