Alan Sugar may not approve of hybrid working or adjusted timetables but the rest of us are pretty excited about the sudden willingness of organisations to consider creative changes to our working lives. In some industries, remote working has been standard practice for years and for others it had seemed an impossibility until COVID struck. Creating hybrid working cultures can be quite complicated and there will be bumps in the road. However, in the battle for talent, a refusal to adapt will lose your competitive edge and will limit your hiring pool.
“One of the lessons learned from the pandemic is that companies need to be able to trust their workers to be able to get the work of the day done, instead of having an overweening sense of propriety about whose rump is in a seat at a particular time.”Robert Brown, Vice President of the Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, a Fortune 500 company
Is hybrid working possible for my company?
Tech companies have been hiring remote workers for years. This is really due to the nature of the work which is generally task-based and is completed mainly in isolated concentration. To expect a person to commute to a space where they won’t be communicating with others is pointless. For roles that involve task completion in a non-collaborative environment, remote working seems the most practical approach. Why pay out for a desk when the staff member will be just as productive and more relaxed at home?
At the other end of the scale a construction worker, obviously has to be on site. However, the majority of us work in a more varied way. Roles involving creative collaboration certainly benefit from in-person meetings as do top-level strategy roles. Few of us, however, spend all our time in meetings and divide our time between a individual work and team work.
Hybrid working requires a more task-based structure. Once you break down your employee’s work into tasks you can start to analyse the percentage of time required in the office. Work closely with the individuals to ensure you’re offering a plan that suits everyone equally. For example some workers may benefit from leaving the office at three every day and working from home in the afternoons, whereas others would rather a set number of full days working from home. There will be an element of compromise but try not to project your own requirements onto others.
Hybrid Working should be Equitable and Justified
Unfortunately, some companies have accepted hybrid working options for senior staff and rejected them for the more junior workers. This is a sure-fire way of creating resentment and diminishing motivation. An equitable home-working policy should reflect the tasks being performed rather than judge people on perceived trustworthiness or productivity levels.