The large-scale shift to hybrid working has challenged the way almost every organisation, across industries, operates. Business leaders have been forced to reconsider how their businesses do business, and this has been further magnified by changing employee expectations as a result of the benefits experienced during remote working periods.
Many organisations have embraced the hybrid working model as a new approach to work moving forward, with 57% of companies now offering work-from-home opportunities on a regular basis. However, to ensure they are equipped for the workplace of today and tomorrow, companies have needed to prioritise finding the right balance of hybrid working, where the benefits can be enjoyed without business disruption.
What are the benefits of hybrid working?
Hybrid work offers many benefits for both employees and organisations, which have proven to help simultaneously improve employee wellbeing and organisational efficiency.
The benefits of hybrid working for employees include:
- Greater autonomy over where and how they work, which has led to improved employee satisfaction.
- Less time and money spent commuting, resulting in additional disposable income and more time availability for personal or work endeavours.
- Less geographical constraints, meaning location is no longer a limitation when choosing to work for a company or not, as workers may be more willing to travel further if only required a few days a week.
Some of the benefits of hybrid working that organisations have come to discover include:
- Financial benefits, where costs have been saved on office equipment and furniture, and offices have been downscaled resulting in less rental costs. Additionally, companies are able to increase their employee headcounts without incurring additional in-office expenses.
- Greater employee retention rates because of the improved employee experience hybrid work offers.
- Improved appeal that attracts top talent, partly because employees are drawn to hybrid-first companies, and partly because being geographically agnostic allows for a greater talent pool to be tapped into.
- Employees are more eager to use in-office time for valuable collaboration, while working from home provides equally as valuable focus time.
Any concerns around whether businesses can survive outside of an in-office environment have also been mitigated by the ongoing – and in many instances, improved – outputs of workers working from home. This shows that productivity isn’t forfeited for the benefits of hybrid working, but rather that hybrid working offers additional benefits with little implications for the company. The benefits of hybrid working show that hybrid really is a win-win approach to working.
How to continue to find the right balance with hybrid work
For many HR teams, the shift to moving to a hybrid working model was rolled out at a fast pace, and as organisations settle into this new way of working it’s time to review strategies and ensure they are optimised to work for the long-term. Here are the steps you can take to ensure you are still striking the right balance with hybrid work, fostering the best possible culture, and setting your team up for success.
Listen to your employees
Employees work best when they feel they have agency and control over their working conditions and how they do their jobs. They want to feel listened to and valued. Yet our research has revealed that 70% of employees say they have little or no influence over how things are done at their organisation, and 38% say their company is rarely or never open to their ideas.
Consult and collaborate with employees when designing your hybrid working practices. Develop clear and transparent policies and principles about eligibility for – and access to – hybrid working, and establish systems to monitor decision-making and access. Undertake ongoing listening activities with workers, managers and worker representatives to learn the lessons of hybrid, and continue to review, adapt and improve your approach.
Delve into the data
Any problem areas already present in your organisation need to be identified and addressed to ensure your hybrid model isn’t being hindered by undealt with issues. Leveraging your employee experience data effectively, you can identify where in the organisation any problems may have arisen before, as well as where more balance can be encouraged. Using effective tools that can help you discover these insights are key to finding the information you need to strategise the best solutions to problems.
Assess your organisation’s risks relating to equality and inclusion and develop an action plan to ensure that hybrid working supports inclusion. Include inclusion in every aspect of your hybrid working implementation, and ensure equal opportunity for learning and development and reward and recognition, regardless of where and when people work.
Again, by taking a proactive approach to your data, you will be able to identify areas where DEI is a concern and take the necessary steps to ensure your DEI is where it should be. This will improve the employee experience overall and contribute to making your company more desirable to future candidates.
Having a hybrid working strategy in place is important for ensuring every process aligns with the overall approach. This strategy should inform the policies and guiding procedures needed for an effective hybrid model, and with this documentation in place, you can train and equip employees accordingly. Training and support on how to manage the work-life balance in a hybrid environment can go a long way in helping employees to be their most productive without compromising on their wellbeing, and by showing this degree of care for employees, companies can anticipate happier employees serving higher tenures.
Communicate and maintain transparency
A solid communication plan, supported by an effective communication tool, can also help organisations ensure key communications are disseminated timeously and help employees align with their organisation’s hybrid plans more easily. Additionally, with effective communication channels and procedures in place, you can foster a more effective feedback culture in your organisation, where employees and the organisation can freely ask questions or provide feedback to each other, thus helping streamline hybrid efforts from both sides.
Just like employees need support maintaining balance in the hybrid workplace, so too do your leaders need support in managing a hybrid workforce. Managers need to feel confident managing employees wherever they are. Provide training to managers on how to manage hybrid teams effectively and support hybrid workers, including performance management, remote communication, collaboration and relationship-building.
Additionally, with the right tools, you can put your leaders in control of their own development and make recommendations on where meaningful improvements can be made. From this position of strategic leadership development, you can ensure that your hybrid employees are being effectively managed by empowered leaders.
While hybrid work is still a fairly new approach many are still coming to grips with it, the benefits of hybrid working indicate that the approach is here to stay. To best ensure the balance is being maintained in your hybrid work environment, it’s important to keep testing, learning, iterating and evolving your approach so that your employees (and the organisation overall) can continue to enjoy the benefits of hybrid working without any concern of how it may affect business continuity.
To run intelligent surveys, analyse data, discover trends, spot trouble and take action, contact our team about our Discover XI platform, and start uncovering the insights you need to build an irresistible hybrid workplace.