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Prior to the covid-19 pandemic, hybrid and remote working was seen on a much smaller scale. Without embracing technology and remote working, a lot of businesses would have struggled to continue activity, it was a welcome opportunity throughout 2020 and 2021. As a result, hybrid working has become the norm across many industries across the globe and is something that is here to stay. Like all working processes, there are pro’s and con’s to hybrid working and it is something currently discussed across the media with well-known global brands making firm stances on their hybrid working policies.
There are individual and organisational preferences when it comes to hybrid working, but there are many benefits that can be experienced when businesses facilitate a hybrid working environment.
A hybrid model provides employees flexibility to find a pattern that works most effectively for themselves, while still working to achieve business goals and activity levels. Having increased flexibility and the autonomy to work hours that suit individuals and their preferred way of working can lead to a greater work life balance and reduced stress, which can have a significant impact on absenteeism.
Employees experience greater and improved work life balance through hybrid and remote working models. Having the flexibility to work hours around family commitments, health and wellbeing and important life events has a huge positive for employees and it can result in greater output and productivity in the process.
Sha Marthenis, Global Marketing Executive at CSG Talent based in Adelaide, Australia highlights how the hybrid working model at CSG Talent allows her to perform at her best, while maintaining a great work life balance. “Having the option of hybrid working has been a game changer for me. It allows me to have more control over my working life and has dramatically increased my productivity as a result. I can decide where I work when it works for me. I choose to predominantly work from home because it suits my working style but it is really nice to have the option of the office also.”
In recent years, teams and businesses have demonstrated how much impact a hybrid work model can have on both productivity and efficiency for individuals and businesses overall. Hybrid working has seen increased focus from team members which has resulted in high performance and increased activity levels. Those who work remotely can often be more productive compared to working in an office environment. Focusing on tasks that require concentration when working remotely and collaborating with team members on tasks that benefit from physical interaction when in the office.
Through hybrid working, costs can be reduced for both business and employees. If an employee chooses to split their days in the office and at home, commuting costs will reduce. For businesses offering hybrid working, there may be the opportunity to scale down office space, promote a hot desk environment and save on office costs and office supplies.
The office commute for many has an impact on carbon emissions and carbon footprint, by reducing the number of days and number of employees travelling into an office throughout the week, a business can positively contribute to reduced carbon footprint. This is a huge focus for both individuals and businesses across the globe to help combat climate change and hybrid working can support this.
Giving employees flexibility, improving their overall work life balance and facilitating a supportive and positive work environment has a positive impact on employee engagement.
For the hybrid model to work successfully and to keep teams engaged, managers need to build strong and trusting relationships with employees, this can be done through regular check ins and open communication lines, meeting in person regularly and showing appreciation and recognition consistently. (Harvard Business Review)
Alongside increased employee engagement, a hybrid working model can help improve employee retention and employee attraction. In today's candidate driven market, offering a flexible working model where employees have the autonomy to work in a way that works best for them as an individual, while benefiting the business and productivity is seen as an attractive employee benefit.
A great example of hybrid working resulting in positive benefits for a business is the online ecommerce platform Shopify. Shopify invested heavily in technology and infrastructure to allow employees to work remotely, from anywhere. Alongside this, Shopify enhanced internal communications and were proactive in handling associated limitations and challenges that can result through hybrid working. As a result, they experienced reduced overhead costs, improved employee engagement and work life balance which has positively contributed to their talent attraction and talent retention.
At CSG Talent, we fully embrace the hybrid working model and experience for our employees. We reap the benefits but we are also aware of the potential limitations or challenges hybrid working can present. The senior leadership team ensure they are on top of this to promote productivity alongside overall well-being of our teams. Here we outline some of the common challenges with hybrid working that some organisations and employees may experience. Working in the office environment can provide structure with allocated start, finish and break times. This can be very different when working remotely.
While hybrid working has many benefits, there can be limitations when it comes to communication lines between teams. The reduced in person contact can impact the frequency and consistency of internal communications. It’s important for managers to facilitate regular points of contact for team members, and to encourage employees to reach out to their peers to maintain open communication lines.
When employees work remotely, they can miss out on being part of the company culture, team interactions and a feeling of inclusivity. Where possible, it’s hugely beneficial for hybrid and remote workers to attend the office for team events, presentations or certain meetings to ensure they have the opportunity to build relationships with their team in person, and be part of the company culture.
While remote working increases productivity, it can also lead to increased hours and difficulties in separating work and home life, with some employees finding it difficult to switch off from the working day at home. This needs to be a focus for organisations to ensure they check in and monitor the wellbeing of their teams. It’s also important for individuals to manage their time effectively to look after their overall wellbeing and ensure they don’t burnout.
Employees and employers need to be mindful of the impact remote working can have on social isolation and feelings of disconnect of team members. While hybrid working offers individuals a range of benefits and a better work life balance, it’s important to stay connected and feel a sense of belonging to the organisation. Leaders and teams need to make a conscious effort to recognise the signs of isolation and put measures in place to ensure this is monitored and action taken where needed to encourage inclusivity.
There is pressure on IT systems and teams to manage the level of risk hybrid working can pose with data breaches or cyber attacks. IT teams need to create effective practices and ensure the safeguarding of sensitive company information with increased remote working of employees.
Dom Ridley, Head of Renewable Energy Recruitment at CSG Talent appreciates the value of hybrid working and encourages his team to adapt their working pattern to this model, as he does so himself. He is well aware of the benefits but mindful of potential challenges for his team at times.
“For hybrid working to work effectively, a pattern needs to be identified which works for an individual and for the business. There needs to be element of discipline and organisation from individuals, and trust from managers that the work will get done. “
In 2021, Metro Bank experienced difficulties with the hybrid working model, with the management team deciding the model was decreasing activity and posing challenges with communications and collaboration across the business. Employees were left frustrated when a decision was made to return to the office environment on a full-time basis and since, the hybrid model has resumed. This highlights that there can be challenges with hybrid working and it is vital for businesses and leaders to be aware of in order to manage these effectively to ensure the hybrid model works for both employees and the business.
In recent months, we have seen two huge organisations issue statements on ‘the return to the office’ with Twitter and Disney requesting employees now return to the office over the hybrid model. Disney called for employees to return to the office from Monday to Thursday to help support business culture and activity. While there is no doubt, physical interaction amongst teams can be hugely beneficial for team spirit and culture, this demand from businesses will no doubt have a negative reception from some employees.
There are advantages and disadvantages with the hybrid working model, however if businesses are proactive in providing solutions to potential challenges, the hybrid model can be a huge success. Working closely with both clients and candidates across all of our specialist industries we understand what a vital benefit hybrid working models have in the hiring process but are also aware of the challenges it can present. Many large corporate organisations have unlimited resources to facilitate hybrid working and are used to working like this, however some large brands are still encouraging employees to return to the office, this definitely highlights the concern about company culture impacted by reduced numbers in offices and is definitely something for leaders to consider. True hybrid models work most effectively when the employer can facilitate and provide relevant resources, and for employees to be confident working autonomously. More and more candidates are seeking the hybrid working model and true flexibility in a role so this is of huge importance for businesses when both attracting and retaining talent.
This model will likely remain a permanent fix in the workplace and employers should ensure they can facilitate this in a positive way, supporting employees to be the most productive and engaged, while still focused on their own wellbeing. With this, the benefits and results will speak for themselves.
To explore further ways to enhance your employee experience to support talent attraction and talent retention, click here. Alternatively, you can find out more on our talent strategy or executive search services on our website. If you would like to speak with a member of our expert recruitment team about talent or hiring needs, or if you’re keen to gain insights into the market you operate in, please get in touch.