How organisations can begin preparing for a return to the workplace and hybrid working for the longer term
Where would we be without our teams being flexible over the last year and continuing to work on site with restrictions or working completely remotely. With restrictions changing over the coming weeks and months read more about getting ready for hybrid working.
Frist a bit of context, data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that only around 5% of the workforce worked mainly from home pre-covid. As we know, due to the pandemic and government mandates for people to stay at home has increased this percentage significantly. Research conducted by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) showed that before the pandemic, 65% of employers either did not offer regular working from home at all, or offered it to 10% or less of their workforce. The CIPD report that of this 65% of employers, this is expected to fall to 37% representing a dramatic and significant shift in ways of working which managers, people professionals and employers will need to prepare for.
We are all different and so need and want different things from our work and work life, and so while some of us may want to continue to work from home all the time after the pandemic, I am sure many of us would prefer a balance where we can be in the office for some of the week to physically meeting with colleagues to collaborate and work on project and have that all important social contact with our colleagues and then work from home for the remainder where we need to focus on producing the deliverables. Is this where the relatively new term 'hybrid working' fits in?
Many organisations are now considering the potential benefits of what ‘hybrid working’ means for them in the longer term, how this can meet not only the needs of the business but meet this new employee demand, and consider what will need to be in place to maximise the effectiveness of these new ways of working for all.
Clearly, the introduction of hybrid working will require a significant culture shift for many organisations, and require new ways of working and associated policies and practices to be established and embedded to work in the longer term. We have all had to quickly evolve during the pandemic where we have all had to respond to cope with the crisis, for some of us that has been working from home, for others that changes to the way we do things. However, in some ways hybrid working will make greater demands of managers and organisations than the urgent shift to total remote working.
The vaccine programme and its rapid roll out should offer us that potential return to the workplace for employees currently homeworking around late June 2021 subject to confirmation by the Government.
How to prepare?
Short term suggestions:
ensure that any return to the workplace plans follow Government guidance and prioritised accordingly.
Use the three key tests as a guide; is it essential, is it safe and is it mutually agreed? The CIPD have published this helpful flowchart.
Establish safe office occupancy
Communicate your plans and consult with employees and trade unions as appropriate.
Longer term recommendations:
Agree your overall business strategic position with regards to hybrid working.
Develop policy and guidance to support this strategic direction and define hybrid working in the business context.
Communicate and engage with your people throughout.
Plan for and overcome any implications of hybrid working including technology, well-being and facilities and health and safety.
Nurture the ongoing effectiveness of your hybrid teams.
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DISCLAIMER: The materials in this guidance are provided for general information purposes and do not constitute legal or other professional advice. While the information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances may impact the accuracy and validity of the information. Auxilium HR Solutions is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for any action or decision taken as a result of using the guidance. You should consult a professional adviser for legal or other advice where appropriate.