The term 'hybrid working' didn't really exist prior to the pandemic, but now that it is part of our everyday vocabulary, we need to look at how we integrate it into our working patterns.
WFH (Working From Home) was something we had to do during 'lockdown', but now we don’t. And yet it is expected – and in many cases, demanded!
What was a flexible, verbal and short-term agreement is now here for the long term. At the bare minimum, changes or checks to contracts, policies and procedures are needed to protect both employees and employers as businesses settle down into a different way of working that incorporates WFH and time in a communal workplace.
When exploring the pros and cons of hybrid working, there are two essential aspects which should guide our decision-making (over and above the legal imperatives):
- What works for the business and
- What works for the people who work here now – and who may want to work here in the future?
This is where, maybe, there is a mismatch between employers’ needs and employees' wants.
Negotiating a hybrid working model that's good for the business and its people
There needs to be negotiation and possibly compromise, to reach a solution that works for the majority of people as well as the business.
These tips may help:
- Start by creating a clear vision for the business and setting SMART business objectives for the next three to five years.
- Consult with employees on their wishes, and map them against each other; this helps to identify where needs and wants match, overlap and diverge.
- Work through what is, and is not, acceptable to the business and its people.
- Effective communication is critical throughout. Ensure everyone is clear about what is happening, why, how and when. This will go a long way to keeping everyone on board and invested in the final outcome.
Two other critical aspects of implementing a new working structure
Transparency and fairness are fundamental. What works for one employee may not work for others, but by being open and transparent about the thought process behind the decisions, everyone is more likely to be accepting of the new way of working.
Above all, businesses need their people to survive, and people need their business to survive, so these facts alone provide the starting blocks for developing a cohesive, productive working environment for the future.
Free checklists and advice on developing a hybrid working model
SYLO| Beyond HR. has developed four useful checklists to help you better understand how to fully and successfully create a hybrid working model and implement it within your business.
These checklists cover four key areas:
- Business planning and communications
- Employee wellbeing and health and safety
- Contracts, IT systems and procedures
- Performance management and training
You can download and print all four checklists here.
About the author
Luci Martin, Strategic Business Consultant, SYLO | Beyond HR.
Luci has been part of the Business Strategy team at SYLO | Beyond HR. since 2018. Her background is in FMCG and experiential marketing both nationally and internationally, having worked for organisations such as Unilever, Glaxo SmithKline, Tetley Tea, Chessington World of Adventures/Thorpe Park and Kew Gardens.
Luci gained her consultancy experience in COI, part of the Cabinet Office, as a management consultant working with Government departments in Education, Business and International Development before taking a break to have her two children. Luci now works with the SYLO team providing that vital link between business and people strategies within organisations, generally working with MDs and owners.
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