Is hybrid working right for your business?
Leeann Nash June 19th 2023 - 3 minute read
The Covid pandemic changed our working habits dramatically, with many people finding themselves working from home full-time even after the lockdowns ended. Many other businesses encouraged employees to return to the office, but often offered some form of hybrid option.
While hybrid working has become common, it’s more beneficial in some circumstances than others. Here we explore the pros, cons and considerations of offering hybrid work.
What’s the role?
The job role in question will of course impact whether it’s suitable for hybrid or remote working. So, rather than applying a blanket policy for the whole company, consider the impact on each department.
Your sales team may find the bustle of the office energising, and it could be beneficial to have colleagues on hand for quick questions and advice. Meanwhile, developers have been successfully working remotely for a while now, and most of them prefer it.
Generally speaking, any role when the individual can get their head down and work in isolation is likely to be much more suited to homeworking than roles that require interaction and cooperation.
Of course, many roles require both. You can maximise the benefits of hybrid working by arranging collaborative work, like meetings or multi-department projects, for when everyone is in the office.
One primary benefit is that you can attract the best talent to your business. Many people expect or seek hybrid working when looking for a role, so it’s a potential deal-clincher for many prospective employees.
It also means you can widen the talent pool you’re drawing from, otherwise you’re limited to people within commuting distance. Even if you’re offering hybrid work, rather than fully remote, people are much happier to take a long trip to work if they are only required to do it a few days a week.
A 2022 survey from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that 78% of respondents said hybrid working improved their work/life balance, while 47% said it improved their wellbeing. Only 8% said it had no advantages.
However, there are pitfalls that need to be avoided. Homeworking can blur the line between work and an employee’s personal life, so it may be important to ensure there are clear boundaries in place for you and your staff.
You may want to offer flexible working, which can be very beneficial to some people, or you may set rigid working hours. Figure out what is best for you and your employee and make sure you check in with them to make sure they’re happy.
Employee satisfaction brings a whole range of benefits for your business, including better productivity and higher staff retention. So, offering hybrid working to those employees who request it could be both good for them and your business.
While happier employees tend to work harder, many people also say they are more productive working from home. In the ONS survey, 53% said there were fewer distractions and 52% said it was quicker to complete work at home.
However, it becomes more interesting when you break down the demographics. Younger workers were less likely to say that there were fewer distractions at home. Of those aged 16 to 29 years, only 32% reported fewer distractions, compared to 52% of those aged 30 to 49 and 60% of those aged 50 to 69.
While it changes among demographics, it also changes from person to person. Having a hybrid approach means you can cater to different working styles, but it may be worth finding out how individual employees work best and then trying to facilitate that. If someone does find it harder to focus at home or in the office, find out why and see if you can mitigate it.
Will it cost more or less?
With employees working from home some of the time, both they and your business could save some money. Workers will cut down on travel expenses, while you could potentially downsize your office or save on snacks and energy bills.
However, there are other costs to consider. You may need to provide employees with extra equipment, such as a laptop. Meanwhile, workers may see their own bills go up.
Overall, most companies and employees will see a net saving from hybrid working. But every business has different costs and requirements, so it’s worth reviewing.
So, is it right for you?
Offering hybrid or remote working brings many benefits, but you may need to take certain steps to ensure it’s a success.
Scheduling in-office days for collaborative work, reviewing potential ways to cut costs, and carefully considering the workplace requirements of different roles are all important factors to look at.
And remember to check in with your employees and review your policies. This way you can fine tune your approach to make it as effective as possible.