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Is hybrid working the way forward?

Hybrid working

Governments around the world have announced the reintroduction of working from home in order to quell the new Omicron variant of covid 19. Is it time to make this a part of your long term strategy – and if so how would you manage such a move?

A new normal?

The pandemic locked down millions of workers last year, but it also created a massive stimulus and catalyst for change. Online HR and communications tools really came into their own.
Research by CIPD has found that after this global event most people want to continue working at home at least some of the time; giving organizations an opportunity to establish new ways of working in order create successful working from home (WFH) programs. 
YouGov surveyed employees about their interest in continuing work from home as well–and their results show very strong opinions on both sides: 39% were opposed while 55% supported more flexi-time arrangements like these.
Are these a reflection of the traditional versus the new? Should a progressive company be taking these considerations on board?
Other agents with their own agendas are also chipping in of course – many investors have shares in city properties – what does more home workers mean for them? And how will the economies built around workers fare (transport / eateries / retail)?

Is there a middle ground?

The change in working patterns is happening quickly and many employers are offering the option to work from home as part of a modern “hybrid working package”.
This new trend will allow people who want more flexibility while also building a career, offsetting some commuting costs and being able to organise their home / family lives around less rigid time constraints. Think of all those times when you haven’t been in for a plumber or have had to organise a morning off to get to the doctor. What if every Monday and Friday you were at home working? 
This is seen as a very attractive to the modern talent pool.

Okay sounds good – how do I introduce hybrid working?

It’s important to remember not everyone can work effectively from home, and of course it depends on the type of business you run. Manufacturing is obviously limited, but there may be roles within such organisations that will fit. There are also legal issues that need careful consideration such as fairness in employment practices or discrimination against employees who must take time off for medical appointments (among other things).
A good starting point would involve discussing these concerns with your team members or heads of departments before coming up with any final decisions on how everything will work out.

What else should I consider?

The future of work is fairness. Think about how much choice you can give someone and be prepared for the difficult conversations around pay or benefit challenges because people might think that the advantage of flexibility has been unfairly applied. Working from home is still viewed as a luxury afforded to employees – which means some people will inevitably feel aggrieved. 
Officially, hybrid working is when employees make a formal request for flexible schedules and it’s accepted, and this will amount to new terms of employment. If this is offered to all employees, then this can obviously be promoted as a perk in your recruitment comms. Informal arrangements can also result in an employee being granted more time off from work without any changes legally required; however, its best that everything be done In writing!

For a formal approach you will need a hybrid working policy

Decide on a position for hybrid working and put it into an official company policy. This could mean updating your existing flexible working policies with the new requirements, which roles are eligible to take advantage of these benefits or requesting them through either their manager or HR department if they don’t know how themselves yet (and then following their guidelines). 
The other options available include telecommuting as well; this means that employees work from home one day each week instead of coming into office buildings every single day like before.

It’s worth the work to be flexible

The world is changing and so perhaps are the ways we work. 
Hybrid working allows for a better balance between one’s personal life, family time or even just preventing mental burn out. It has also been shown that employees who take up this practice have significantly higher rates of satisfaction than those not in it – meaning employers stand to gain too.
It goes without saying that HRM tech like Punch can help with online and home working management.
If you’d like some help with how to fold this into your WFH strategy be sure to get in touch
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