Is hybrid working the future?

After a year of remote working, how are businesses returning employees to the workplace in a post-pandemic world?

We look at some of the solutions that companies are planning to introduce.

Is hybrid working the future? Feature

Covid-19 forced employers to quickly adapt to the ever-changing worldwide situation and install work from home policies for employees. The reality is that more than a year later, companies are only now preparing to bring their employees back into the office, with many planning to adopt a hybrid work week.

Initially, many employees saw it as two weeks working from the comfort on their sofa wearing PJs, having a sneaky glass of wine as the day winds down, and finishing off that box set as they worked! But how have people taken to a year of working from home? 

Microsoft Surface and YouGov collaborated on a report investigating how people found being away from the office over the past year. Speaking to just over 4000 UK office workers, the 'Work Smarter to Live Better' report (i) found that;

  • 55% used their lunch breaks to focus on their personal life
  • 56% reported an increase in feeling happier when working from home
  • 30% reported that they worked longer hours from home, finding it difficult to switch off
  • 53% felt that they should be available at all times while they worked from home
  • 65% missed socializing the most being away from the office
  • 75% spent more time with friends and family than they would have done in the office
  • 90% said that their employers have adapted to hybrid working

It appears that the days of working exclusively in an office will become a thing of the past, with companies moving to a hybrid approach as the UK comes out of lockdown. Whether this will continue once social distancing rules are relaxed remains to be seen, but for now, hybrid working is here to stay!

The BBC approached the UK’s 50 biggest companies regarding their plans to return their combined 1.1 million staff to the workplace, with 43 companies out of the 50 saying that they planned to adopt a hybrid work pattern in some form (ii). 

We have taken a closer look at two businesses looking at introducing a blended work model.

Chief people officer at Aviva, Danny Harmer, has said that they will be introducing five hybrid options, which will consider the opinion of all staff.  95% of the 16,000 strong workforce would like an element of remote work moving forwards. However, some would prefer to be back in the office full time. 

The accounting and consultancy group, KPMG, consulted their workforce to find out how they felt about returning to the workplace before unveiling a flexible hybrid model where their 16,000 employees will move to a four-day fortnight from June. The plan outlines that staff will be spending an average of two days a week at their primary office with the rest of the time spent at home or conducting client visits.

KPMG conducted internal research in March 2021 where they discovered that; 

  • 87% of staff said that they would prefer to no longer commute 
  • 76% said that they enjoyed that working from home allowed them more flexibility
  • 65% said that their work-life balance had improved

Chief executive at KPMG UK, Jon Holt, said on the announcement, "We trust our people. Our new way of working will empower them and enable them to design their own working week. The pandemic has proven it’s not about where you work, but how you work.”

However, not everyone is willing to adapt to hybrid working with Goldman Sachs telling all staff to prepare to return to UK offices full-time from June 21, claiming that the hybrid model does not suit their culture. Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said, "I do think for a business like ours, which is an innovative, collaborative apprenticeship culture, this is not ideal for us." 

The 2010-2015 coalition government created The Behavioural Insight Teams to improve people’s lives and communities by suggesting small changes.

 The Behavioural Insight Team undertook their most ambitious project in 2020 (iii) by assessing 20 million job applications on Indeed. They found that positions that clearly stated their flexible work policy in advertisements saw up to 30% more applications when compared to adverts that failed to mention flexible work opportunities. Ultimately, companies were opening themselves up to a more diverse range of applications when prospective employees knew upfront what the flexible work policy was. 

If you’re considering hybrid working and are actively recruiting, do you have a process in place to ensure your new starter can work from home straight away? With Reach ATS, you can make sure that there is an action plan in place as part of your onboarding so that both you and your new employee are ready to go without any unnecessary hiccups on day one!

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