What is Hybrid Working, Really?

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The post-pandemic world has brought with it the future of work. Everything from how we travel, connect, live, and work has been altered over the last two, going on three years and it looks like these changes are, more or less, here to stay.

Not surprisingly, this means the hybrid working model will continue to be a popular choice among organisations, keeping employee engagement high by remaining flexible for team members, no matter where they prefer to work.

Hybrid Working: Defined 

Put simply, hybrid workplaces use a flexible working model, empowering employees to work from varying locations - whether that’s in-office or across the globe.

The main idea for organisations here is to create a work environment that’s suitable for every employee, giving employers and staff alike the autonomy and flexibility to collaborate from where they’re most productive, ultimately improving performance, work-life balance, and company culture.

working in office

Hybrid Teams: The New Normal 

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), 51% of employees say they benefit from flexible working in their current role, and this number is likely to grow as time goes on.

In the last six months, for example, more than one-third of organisations have seen an increase in flexible working requests.

This information suggests that organisations should be eager and ready to adapt to the ever-changing workplace landscape, however, we need to keep in mind that remaining flexible will be vital and ongoing to learn what works best for employees, the business, and the bottom line. 

Benefits of Hybrid Working

With social distancing becoming a rule and face-to-face, office-based conversations coming to an abrupt halt as a result, employees had no choice but to figure out how to make things work - largely from home.

While hybrid working isn’t exactly a brand new idea (it’s been growing in popularity for the better part of a decade now), the hybrid working trend inevitably took off when the pandemic hit.

This soon came with a clear abundance of benefits for employees and organisations, including:

  • Increased motivation and productivity
  • Improved job satisfaction
  • Improved work-life balance
  • Cost savings due to higher employee retention (and less need to commute)
  • Enhanced employee engagement (with the right strategies)
  • The ability to upskill and reskill from anywhere (with the right technology)
  • Better collaborations and working relationships, and
  • Saving hard-earned money on the rising costs of living

Now that many employees know what they’re getting with this flexible working model, there’s simply no way their organisations can go back to the typical 9 to 5.

We now know what we’ve been missing and we’ll stay - or go - where we can find it.

Questions to Ask

It’s important to remember that a hybrid working model doesn’t necessarily look the same from business to business. In fact, some organisations may feel that they won’t benefit from this type of model at all.

That’s why it’s important for any business to ask the right questions before moving forward with any long term hybrid working measures.

If you’re stuck, some questions to consider include: 

  • Can you trust your employees to work well on a hybrid model?
  • What does hybrid working mean for your workforce? What does it look like?
  • How will we communicate and keep up morale? How can we remain inclusive?
  • How can we make opportunities accessible to both in-office and remote employees?
  • How will a hybrid working model affect employee mental health and wellbeing?

working at home

How to Get It Right

By this point you’re probably blithely aware of the fact that a lot more goes into a hybrid working strategy than simply allowing employees to choose if, when, and how often they work remotely or in the office.

Crossing our fingers and hoping for the best is - at best - the worst thing organisations can do here.

Instead, what needs to happen is for C-suite leaders, HR, and upper management to come together and work to further develop a hybrid workplace culture.

Things to consider to implement this successfully, include:

  • Setting the tone from the top down to ensure employees (at every level) understand that their input is welcome and valued.
  • Ensuring leaders commit to the role of hybrid working themselves (i.e., leading by example).
  • Encouraging leaders to upskill on hybrid job design and implement a team-based approach to deciding which tasks should be done by whom and where (i.e., in-office or at home).
  • Revamping the key elements of the employee lifecycle to line up with the hybrid model (e.g., look at recruitment, onboarding, and training initiatives).
  • Making sure leaders are supporting and communicating with people they don’t see daily.
  • Establishing trust from the top down that employees at each level will get the job done without being micromanaged, and
  • Ensuring employees have the support (technological, financial, and otherwise) they need to work well when they’re working from home.

working from home

Well, there you have it! We hope this blog proved helpful and gave you some comprehensive insight into hybrid working, why it works so well, and why it’s the key to organisations remaining innovative.

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