Since Covid-19 changed our lives in March 2020, many workers across the world have had to adjust to mandatory working from home. As we are now easing out of lockdown companies have had to decide the best way to proceed with the change in working conditions. While there are pros and cons to both office and home work, it seems that many are not ready for a full return to the office just yet.
A recent survey showed that 55% of US workers want a mixture of home and office working. In the UK, employers expect the proportion of regular home workers to double, from 18% pre-pandemic to 37% post-pandemic. In China, employment expert Alicia Tung has predicted that in 10 years’ time, there will be a 60/40 split of onsite/remote work.
There is growing enthusiasm for hybrid working arrangements that combine an office base with remote options. If you’re an employer hybrid working is almost inevitable as we progress through 2021. Here are some things to consider.
Hybrid working – what to consider
Introducing hybrid working is a good time to reconsider recruitment practices, particularly manager training. Training is essential when you start a new role, and managers are also likely to need training in how to manage outputs rather than hours worked, as well as how to restructure jobs better to fit in with hybrid working.
Sickness policies can also be affected when working from home and it must be clear that remote workers should still rest when sick. Other HR policies such as development and promotion will also be affected. It may also be beneficial for staff to receive training in how to manage their work-life balance as hybrid working continues to blur the boundaries between work and home life.
When we refer to hybrid working, many people think of the mix between working from home and going to the office, however hybrid working may include freedom around when to work as well as where. In general employees will have more autonomy to fit work around their personal lives, offering employees the best of both worlds, the structure and social aspect of the office with independence and flexibility of working from home.
The pros and cons of hybrid working
Hybrid working patterns are not for everyone. Having high quality internet access, the luxury of a spacious home and outdoor space make working from home much more appealing. Those squashed in to small flats may not love the idea of having to work from home for a large portion of time.
There is however a significant financial benefit to working from home. MoneySupermarket found that lockdown homeworkers saved an average of £126 per month on commuting since March 2020. That figure is likely to be a lot higher for people with long commutes into London from the surrounding counties. It is likely that some staff could be worried about the financial impact of commuting again. For parents, they may have got used to picking up their children from school every day and they idea of finding childcare arrangement again may worry some people.
Like most things related to the pandemic, this isn’t a straightforward process and figuring out how to accommodate employees needs as well as those of the business is complicated. However, the positive is that life is at least slowly getting back to normal and employees will be able to return to their offices for maybe the first time in quite some time.