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Is hybrid working right for my organisation?

With enforced home working during the pandemic lockdowns, many organisations realised that home working was a viable option for them and have continued to allow staff to work from home, or remotely, some or all of the time in a working style now known as hybrid working. However, not everything in the garden is rosy, and there are downsides to be aware of and to try to avoid. In this article we will look at the benefits and challenges organisations are facing when implementing hybrid working for their employees.

Time to read: 3mins

The Benefits of Hybrid Working

So what are the benefits to the employer;

Increased Productivity

A study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that 71% of employers reported either an increase or no change in productivity from employees working from home. This suggests that hybrid working can lead to increased productivity for many organisations.

Cost Reduction

Hybrid working can also lead to cost savings for UK organisations. The CIPD survey found that 63% of employers had reduced office space due to hybrid working arrangements. This can lead to significant cost savings in terms of rent and utilities.

Improved Employee Well-being

The CIPD survey also found that 61% of employers reported an improvement in employee well-being because of hybrid working. This can lead to reduced absenteeism and increased employee engagement.

Reduced Commuting Time 

The average commuting time in the UK is approximately 59 minutes per day, according to a study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) . By offering hybrid working arrangements, organisations can reduce commuting time and improve work-life balance for their employees.

Access to a Wider Pool of Talent

Hybrid working allows UK organisations to access a wider pool of talent. By offering remote work opportunities, organisations can attract and retain top talent regardless of their location. This can lead to a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Environmental Benefits

With an increasing focus on the environment and many organisations driving for net zero, Hybrid working can have positive environmental benefits. A study by the Global Workplace Analytics  found that if employees who could work from home did so just half the time, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million tons per year, equivalent to taking 10 million cars off the road.

The challenges of hybrid working

While hybrid working offers numerous benefits, it also presents some challenges for organisations. Some of the challenges include:

Communication  Communication can become more difficult with hybrid working arrangements. It can be challenging to ensure that everyone is on the same page and to maintain a sense of team cohesion.

Cybersecurity Risks

Hybrid working can also present cybersecurity risks for organisations. With employees accessing company information from outside the office, it can be difficult to ensure that data is secure.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Hybrid working may require organisations to comply with different legal and regulatory requirements. This can be hard, particularly for organisations operating in different countries. It can also prove a challenge in certain regulation heavy sectors such as FCA compliance in the financial sector and Ofsted compliance in children’s social care.

Management and Supervision

Managing remote employees can be challenging, particularly for UK organisations with a large remote workforce. It can be difficult to ensure that employees are working effectively and efficiently.

Training and Mentoring

Remote work can make it more challenging to build rapport and establish trust with team members. Without regular in-person interactions, it may be harder for mentors and trainers to create meaningful connections with their mentees and trainees. Mentors and trainers may also find it more difficult to monitor the progress of remote staff and ensure they are meeting their development goals. This can be particularly challenging for on-the-job training, where observation and feedback are essential for effective learning.

Corporate Culture

Remote work can make it harder to build a sense of community and belonging among team members. Without regular in-person interactions, employees may feel disconnected from their colleagues and the company’s mission. This can also lead to an increased rate of staff attrition.

Conclusion

Hybrid working offers numerous benefits for many organisations, including increased productivity, cost reduction, improved employee well-being, reduced commuting time, access to a wider pool of talent, and environmental benefits. However, it also presents some serious challenges, including communication, cybersecurity, compliance and management and supervision challenges.

Organisations will need to implement effective strategies to address these challenges while reaping the benefits of hybrid working.  Overall, with the right approach, hybrid working can be a powerful tool for organisations, but it is important to get your strategy right and make sure it is right for you.

Colin Stuart
Colin Stuart is the founding Director of Baker Stuart and has more than 25 years’ experience in workplace analytics and consultancy. With a passion for creating spaces that work for people but based on evidence not on conjecture, Colin has helped deliver significant cost reductions whilst improving business performance and staff satisfaction.
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About Baker Stuart

We are an independent specialist consultancy providing a comprehensive range of innovative workplace strategy, workplace management and change, move management, project management and programme management services. Thinking about optimising your organisation? Get in touch with us here.

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