Hybrid working is no doubt a hot HR topic; an evolution of latest working practices born from agile and then flexible working.

Brought to the fore by COVID’s sudden impact on working practices, Hybrid working encourages an anywhere, anytime approach – be it on the go, in the office or from home, within or outside of the traditional 9 to 5.

As the year anniversary of the first UK lockdown falls further behind us, the business risk of not formalising new working arrangements increases. What was accepted by employees at the height of a pandemic, be it working from home at the kitchen table, or shifting hours due to flexible furlough arrangements, can not be adopted as a permanent approach.

While at the start of 2020 organisations understandably had some leniency in terms of creating new working practices, for 2021 businesses must communicate clear and fair working arrangements.

As we begin to see the transition back into the workplace from COVID enforced home working, HR professionals and business owners must consider how to facilitate and support changing expectations around working practices.

Key Things to Consider for Hybrid Working:

  • Process & Policies – Making a business decision about which roles can adopt hybrid working must be reflected in Company Policies. It’s important to ensure this is communicated clearly to employees and supported by a Hybrid Working Policy.
  • Role Evaluation – Determining which roles are suitable for Hybrid Working must be decided in a fair and consistent way. All roles must be evaluated using the same process, as opposed to being decided by manager discretion. Failure to be seen to act fairly will no doubt create tensions within the workforce, something that does not support an engaged and positive company culture.
  • Office Return – Hybrid working will see employees return to the office, albeit it in combination with home working. It’s important to ensure employees are supported during this transition, and feel confident that safe working practices have been put in place.
  • Discrimination – All employees’ personal circumstances must be taken into account and supported. If an employee has a disability, either physical or mental, how are you ensuring this is considered if they are moving towards a blend of home and office working?
  • Employee Health – If Hybrid working formalises home working for an employee, it’s crucial to consider the wellbeing of the employee as part of this. Home working and the impact on Mental and Physical Health has been well documented throughout the pandemic. Regular communication and check-ins are key and should be a thought through process.
  • Performance Management – as we now begin to look at the longer-term impact of Hybrid Working, Managers will be responsible for team members who they are not always physically located with. Management will need to shift approaches to assessing performance through outcomes, contribution and value, as opposed to time spent in the office.

These, and many other areas, must be considered as the shift to Hybrid working picks up pace. Contact us today to discuss more…

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