How to make hybrid working a permanent offering

team call while working from home
By Caroline Gammon | 10th December 2021 | 3 min read

While the pandemic has been ongoing for some time, we’re still not in the clear, made apparent by the Omicron variant and introduction of the Government’s new guidance, Plan B. Although the UK is still acting on a reactive basis, one thing is undeniable: the world of work has forever changed, with hybrid working now the new normal.

To ensure your business doesn’t fall behind, I’ve examined why hybrid working is crucial for the future and looked at what steps you can take to make it a permanent offering.

What is Hybrid working?

Hybrid working, also known as flexible working, is when businesses give their employees the choice to split their week between working from home (WFH) and the office.

The last 18 months of hybrid working

The pandemic’s disruption to the workplace is here to stay, with expectations regarding working from home forever changed.

In fact, the BBC found that 70% of workers stated they would ‘never return to the office at the same rate’.

Businesses need to embrace this move to hybrid working, especially as employees have shown us that operating remotely can be hugely positive, with 58% stating it’s made them more productive.

What will happen if businesses force their employees back into the office?

One word: resignations.

A recent poll from Fortune discovered that 40% of UK employees would start looking for a new job if told they can’t work from home.

person working from home

How can your business make hybrid working a permanent offering?

The above research makes it clear that hybrid working needs to be a top priority for your business, so I’ve outlined seven factors you need to consider when looking to make it a permanent offering.

1) Reassess your job ads

Since people now expect the option to work from home, you must ensure that your current and future job ads state whether the role is remote, office-based or hybrid.

2) Offer managers added support

Hybrid working places new demands on people managers, which in turn may require you to provide added support and training, including:

  • How to handle hybrid working requests
  • Communicating with a hybrid team
  • Fostering relationships online
  • How to conduct performance management remotely
  • Upskilling on technology

3) Rethink your office space

An uptake in hybrid working will require you to rethink your office space.

When dealing with remote staff, I’d advise that you do away with their set seats in the office and instead opt for hot desks.

By implementing a hot desk model for hybrid workers, you can seat office-based staff together, resulting in more buzz while still allocating space for those who want to come in.

4) Review your communications

With so many employees now operating remotely, gone are the days of simply calling people into a room to have a chat.

To ensure communications don’t drop with more staff working from home, managers and leadership will have to be more deliberate with what they send their employees, passing on key messages and updates.

5) Consult employees

While statistics show that most employees prefer hybrid working, some would rather be in the office full time.

Instead of taking a blanket approach to hybrid working, I’d recommend that you get employees involved, offer consultations and run surveys to find out what individuals actually want.

6) Change how you monitor performance

It may initially be harder to gauge employee performance via a hybrid model; however, this will simply take some adjustment.

Rather than monitoring time in the office, businesses will need to move to an objective-based approach that looks at output.

By monitoring employee objectives, you can determine whether hybrid working is effective for individual employees, providing data to support future decisions regarding roles.

7) Stay on top of tech trends

As highlighted during the pandemic, technology plays an enormous part in working from home.

Be sure to keep up to date with the latest software updates and apps to ensure you’re constantly offering employees the best experience.

How can IRIS help you with hybrid working?

At IRIS, we’re at the forefront of supporting HR teams in all manners of business, from remote working to recruitment – we’ve got you covered.

See our HR software offerings here.