Welcome to our brand-new blog, where we will be giving you information and our advice on topics such as marketing, recruitment, employability, and the odd surprise here or there! Recently, we’ve been sharing a few articles about hybrid working, a relatively new method of work that 9 out of 10 companies are implementing in some form according to a McKinsey survey. This felt like the perfect topic to kickstart our blog, so today we will give you the rundown on the essential details of hybrid working, its advantages and points to consider, and some advice on how to get the best out of it. Read on!
What is Hybrid Working and what is its USP?
Hybrid working allows employees to split their time working in the office and from home. Office days focus on activities such as team meetings, team bonding exercises, presentations and project kick offs, whilst remote working is for individual tasks like answering emails, copywriting, completing your part of a project etc. The core advantage of hybrid working is that it allows for flexibility in terms of working hours and choosing which work environment is most convenient for you on certain days, which allows you to fit work around your life and responsibilities, instead of work dictating your life. We would argue that, for many, this is a healthier way to work, as senior manager’s focus is now shifting to quality output and results rather than ineffective measures of performance such as hours worked and how well you abide to a company handbook. This reduces pressure to complete tasks by a certain time, which means you can plan to complete work within your most productive hours and get on with chores, look after your kids, or just have some good old- fashioned downtime in other blocks of the day!
Hybrid working’s ability to provide total flexibility has so far led to real benefits for companies, as a McKinsey survey revealed that 51% of executives reported individual productivity improving, 45% say team productivity has increased, and 44% report that employee engagement has improved in the last 15 months, suggesting that the flexibility of remote/hybrid working has allowed employees to prioritise and put their needs first, reducing anxiety and completing work at one’s own pace, increasing the quality of output. Employees have recognised these benefits, with a Glassdoor survey reporting that 86% of employees want to work from home at least some of the time when offices fully reopen, whilst the proportion of remote workers is set to double in the UK, from 18% pre-pandemic to 37% post-pandemic.
So, by now you might be wondering, what’s the point of the office side of hybrid working if remote working is so lovely? Well, the fact that coming to the office will now be a conscious decision rather than an expectation may actually help to strengthen a company culture and instil a greater sense of purpose in oneself, as you are choosing to meet and work with your colleagues instead of being forced to. Meetings are also more likely to be effective and lively in person as well, as its easier to create a friendly, open atmosphere that makes contributing your own opinion and bouncing ideas off each other much easier. You won’t have to worry about someone’s dodgy WIFI signal as well!
How to get the best out of hybrid working
Despite the significant advantages of hybrid working, it’s a big change that’s new to everyone, so here’s a few challenges that may arise and some advice on how to deal with them.
- When working remotely, you may feel some role confusion and have this idea that you’re not working as hard as you were when you were in the office. Its important to have an honest and open conversation with your manager as early as possible about what their expectations are of you and what day to day tasks are expected to be completed. This will form trust between yourself and the manager, whilst creating clarity which reduces anxiety. In reality, you’re very likely working harder than ever!
- If your manager or other colleagues seem more stressed than usual and its starting to get to you a bit, have patience with them and remember that managing hybrid teams or being involved in one is a completely new experience for them, and perhaps haven’t received much training from the organization, everyone is in unfamiliar territory!
- Many people’s home office has to double as a kitchen or laundry room, which may throw up chores that need doing all of a sudden. We all need regular 5-10 min breaks, so perhaps use these short breaks to deal with any chores so that your home office environment is as peaceful as possible. Surroundings like this can be distracting as well, so you could try to train your brain to get into “work mode” by playing certain music, putting on specific lighting, or wearing smart clothes.
- One danger of hybrid working is that employee cliques could be formed, with more office-based workers forming groups and the same for more home-based workers, which could create sub-cultures, something potentially harmful to organizations. Managers should, where possible, ensure meetings are attended by everyone in person or everyone remotely, so that employees feel they are part of one team. By making yourself involved in the work culture as much as possible, by regularly communicating to all of your colleagues, going on lunch breaks and socials together, this will help to create a harmonious, genuine culture that makes new and existing colleagues more comfortable, both in the office and remotely.
- Finally, be wary of the dreaded Zoom fatigue! This is something that so many of us have experienced over the past 16 months, the lack of energy to feed off of because of people not physically being in the room makes it more tiring to concentrate. Ensure you can attend as many in person meetings as possible and try not to schedule more than 2 hours of virtual meetings a day.
Hybrid working is a fascinating development that seems to be on an upward trend of worker productivity and satisfaction, seemingly becoming the next evolution in the way we work. Perhaps it is a result of the pandemic giving us time to reflect on ourselves and has shown us that to have a healthier mindset, our own values, beliefs and life responsibilities should drive the work we do, not the other around. We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog, please give us some feedback as we’d love to hear your thoughts on hybrid work and the blog itself!