As we now have a roadmap towards the end of restrictions in the UK, many businesses are looking to how they can open up the workplace again. Many large organisations have publicly announced that they are not going back to the old ways of working. Instead, they are offering hybrid workplaces for their staff.
Here is what you need to know about hybrid workplaces and whether they will work for you.
What is a hybrid workplace?
The UK lockdown forced businesses to quickly adapt to remote working. And so many of your staff will have been working from home during the pandemic. It has put working from home onto a fast-track for a lot of businesses who may have first invested in the technology back in March 2020.
Many staff find they are enjoying the reclaimed commute time and enjoying a better work-life balance. For some employees, working outside of the usual 9-5 has been a benefit.
We have previously said that working from home is not for everyone. Many people will be missing socialising in the office. And the lack of spontaneous chats can have an impact on wellbeing and team connectedness.
Yet, a hybrid work place offers the flexibility to meet all the needs of your employees while also prioritising the business needs.
Adapts to your needs
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to running a hybrid workplace. As a business, you need to decide what works best for your needs. It may be that certain job roles are more effective when in the office. Or that you’ve found some members of the team are more productive at home.
There is no set formula to say that you need a certain amount of staff in the office at any one time for a hybrid office. And you may need to experiment about what set up works best.
Remote working and flexible working
A hybrid workplace helps facilitate both remote working and flexible working. Remote working does not necessarily need to be from home. As more of society opens up, the opportunity to work remotely increases. Some organisations use regional offices where staff can choose a shorter commute. And many cities now offer co-working spaces to meet the flexibility of office space.
Likewise, flexible working can mean a flexibility in the hours and days worked. It can also mean a flexibility in location. This can help businesses retain talent when many people may be assessing their work-life balance.
Increase in productivity
We’ve previously looked at how working remotely can increase productivity in your staff. By bringing in greater flexibility, you can support all your team to work in a way they find most productive.
This helps reduce sick days. And for those who struggle with working from home, can also help reduce their stress.
Breaks down barriers
A hybrid workplace increases the accessibility of your jobs. While most workplaces are built with accessibility in mind, some staff will find that the flexibility of working from home can greater support their needs. This means you can retain talent and maintain morale.
Downside of hybrid workplaces
No working practise is perfect and there are downsides to hybrid workplaces. Some job roles simply cannot be done from home. And staff may feel resentful towards those who do have the opportunity made available.
You also need to be aware of any bias towards flexible or remote workers. They should be treated the same as the staff who are coming into the office. As before, the lack of spontaneous meetings such as stopping the boss in the corridor for a quick chat can get things sorted much quicker than finding diary space for a Zoom meeting. It also means that staff working from home may be at a disadvantage if they can’t as easily build relationships as those in the office.
You can be at risk of grievances if you don’t address these issues when setting up your hybrid workplace.
Hybrid workplaces of the future
By using the COVID pandemic as an opportunity, you are preparing your workplace for the future. Work culture was slowly moving towards a more flexible structure. Lockdown and work-from-home messages have fast-tracked this development.
Returning to the old ways of work may seem like the easier option, but taking time to work out what works for your organisation is a future-thinking approach for any business.