For many, the flexibility to work from home is a big incentive when choosing an employer.
For an employee, avoiding the commute and having time in their own home to really focus on those key activities that require extra attention, without interruption, can help to make us feel more relaxed and be more productive.
For both the employer and the employee there may also be cost savings. For the employee with fewer transport costs, etc. but also for the employer who may have reduced office space requirements.
So how do you implement a hybrid working environment?
Gain employee buy-in
The last couple of years have been a challenging time for everyone, and you need to be sensitive to your team’s feelings, therefore it’s better to talk to your employees individually to establish if they have any preferences on how they would like to work going forward. Questions to ask would be things like:
What worked well during the pandemic and what learning can be taken from that?
What are the potential risks and challenges for the team working in a hybrid way?
How can team meetings be handled effectively and productively?
Encouraging thoughts and ideas from your team is both inclusive and will be seen as both fair and reasonable. To facilitate a useful discussion, you could provide a questionnaire in the first instance, and discuss outcomes at individual and team meetings.
There are always things to consider before implementing a new way of working and these can include whether the employee has the right equipment or technology to be able to be productive working from home. In addition, what health and safety issues might they encounter if working from home.
There may be policies and processes you need to update or introduce; however, it may be useful to familiarise yourself with what you already have in the first instance and then review any existing documents to establish if changes need to be made or any additional support and training is required.
New ways of working
For any new way of working, you will need to think about the workflow and any processes you currently use, as well as technology platforms in use. How can these be adapted?
What flexibility around working patterns should be considered? The traditional 9-5 could be replaced to reflect more flexible working patterns which offer a more attractive work life balance.
When considering allocation of tasks, it’s important that those attending the office are not given more work or recognised disproportionately to those working from home. Equally, it’s vital to check on your employees’ well-being and ensure that clear boundaries are set between work and home.
As hybrid workers may not be as visible, performance standards and targets need to be clear, ideally focusing on results and outcomes.
Finally, and most importantly with a remote team, all communication needs to be intentional and planned and your team needs to recognise that this a shared responsibility to ensure that communication is clear and consistent across the team and the organisation.
ACAS has some good resources if you are considering hybrid working.
For more support on how to implement hybrid working in your organisation, please get in touch for a chat. We’d love to help. Letstalk@albanyhr.com, 0131 364 4186.