Undoubtedly, the shift towards hybrid work models, whereby employees experience flexibility over their working environment, has become one of the biggest side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst remote working commenced as an essential measure for many businesses to survive, it has since become evident that flexible working could not only restore the work-life balance, but also revolutionise entire business models.
With the mounting pressure on employers to consider their employee’s mental health, wellbeing, happiness and productivity, the question of how to manage this the correct way has always presented a struggle. Now, however, employers are beginning to understand the key drivers of happiness in the workplace – Flexibility.
Besides necessity, flexibility is the biggest motivation in moving towards hybrid working models. Most employees have adapted to working from home (WFH) and are much happier with their ability to waive daily commutes goodbye, spend more time with their families and generally achieve the much-desired work-life balance. Seriously, who doesn’t love skipping rush hour traffic after a busy day?!
Fully remote working is not necessarily for everyone which is why introducing hybrid models of work can help achieve balance. Whilst 83% of employees feel they do not need an office to be productive, a number of workers continue to feel the strain of isolation, including the lack of collaboration and inability to switch off. If you’re considering implementing hybrid work models in your organisation, there are a lot of considerations before making any changes.
Check out some of our recommendations for a smooth transition!
Take Time & PLAN!
When introducing any major organisational changes, it is fundamental to plan it correctly. Although the media (and maybe even employees) may be hyping up hybrid working, rushing to implement anything due to external pressures could be a disaster waiting to happen. Before making any decision, do your research, determine the interest of your employees, and work out if it is in fact a plausible reality for your business needs.
Gauging your Workforce
Before changing anything, you need to understand your employees’ perspectives. Utilising a company-wide communications strategy, such as anonymous surveys, will ascertain whether WFH, hybrid or flexible working is in fact a consideration. Once you have gauged the attitude of your workforce you will need to ensure new company policy and processes are implemented to reflect the newly introduced practices.
Implementing Policy & Practice
Prior to making any decisions on implementing flexible working models, ensure any necessary paperwork is done. Devising policies which clearly outline expectations from employees can help eliminate any ambiguity, particularly if there is a range of different wants and needs from your workforce.
Not having an appropriate policy or guidance document in place may lead to hostility between colleagues. Remote workers may feel people predominately working in the office are being favoured, whereas in-office workers could perceive remote workers as being less productive. Having transparent, formal directives in place helps to avoid these situations as everyone should know what is expected of them. Ensure that whichever working model is applied, that it does not initiate a potential HR nightmare.
If you are considering employing fully remote employees, ensure you have a fit for purpose recruitment process. Traditional recruitment methods may not accommodate the remote world so you may need to consider things like management alignment, behavioural insights, and candidate profiling to ensure you can make a better hiring decision. Remote recruitment could create a more accessible and inclusive working environment for people with disabilities. Remember, making a bad hire can end up costing a company thousands in lost income, training costs and reduced staff morale, just check out our bad-hire calculator. If you are recruiting for a critical role, get in touch and find out more about our Corvus Assured® recruitment solution, with a 95%+ success rate.
Remote Alternatives to Maximize Productivity
Whilst a hybrid model of in-office and remote working is being strongly advocated at the moment, there are a number of alternative initiatives that may be more valuable to your workforce. For some organisations, introducing a 4-day working week could produce a similar outcome as the hybrid working model. Research is beginning to show that employees’ productivity is equal whether they work for 4 or 5 days per week. Besides striking a better work-life balance whereby employees will be more revitalised and achieve more flexibility in their personal lives, there are additional company benefits including heightened productivity, staff well-being, job satisfaction and retention, and reduced gender inequality.
Notably, the pandemic has accelerated a radical working model that most employers were only beginning to think about, if at all. With strong internal communications, employee engagement and commitment, flexible working models can help you stand out as an employer, recruit better staff, and strengthen your organisation as a success for the future.