It’s the talk of the recruitment town; hybrid working is the buzz phrase that’s lingering in the post-pandemic jobs market.
But what does it mean for the job seeker?
Given that everyone is telling you that the power lies with the candidate at the moment, does it mean that you can simply ask and you will get? Or do you need to showcase particular skills and attributes to secure these golden opportunities that deliver the best of both worlds?
What is hybrid working and why do you care?
The pandemic struck and we all trotted off home to work from whatever space we could muster for the next 18 months. We proved we could do it. Home working went out of the realm of the fictional and into reality. We discovered what worked, what didn’t, and it thoroughly became our new normal.
Hybrid working is simply a mix of working part of the time on-site, in the office, and working the rest of the time remotely, most often from home. It’s not a new concept. What is new about it is that hybrid jobs are now as common as salt on chips. It’s no longer being considered as a stop-gap, but a long term employment strategy.
The hybrid model is inherently varied. The balance between onsite and remote working varies notably from one employer to the next. For some companies, working locations versus hours and days will be set in stone. For others it will be more flexible.
Companies who really get it right realise that actually it’s completely about matching the right work to the right place. This might mean that whilst you need quiet and diligent focus to write a report you hole up at home, but when you need to brainstorm and craft a new strategy you coordinate with others to collaborate in person.
That’s the first rule of hybrid working that job seekers need to pay attention to: make sure you know what hybrid working is for this company.
Do employers like hybrid working?
Attitudes towards hybrid working have definitely shifted thanks to the C-word. Technology has caught up and, generally speaking, professional workers have demonstrated that trust and motivation is there. Lots of the previous barriers to hybrid working have gone. There’s also the fact that many employees have applied pressure for this to continue.
BUT, that doesn’t mean that employers blindly love it. It may lower costs in some ways but raise them in others. And it’s an additional risk when it comes to recruiting a new employee.
How to sell yourself as a reliable hybrid worker
This brings us to the fact that you need to sell yourself as a reliable hybrid worker. You need to be able to demonstrate, through your application, that you are a skilled self-starting self-motivated diligent independent worker whilst also being a collaborative and energised team player. That’s a tall order. It is two juxtaposing things and they will need evidence for both.
Fundamentally, this means that you need to be proficient at explaining how you are effective at determining what fits the office environment and what fits working from home, rather than listing how it’s more convenient for you. Similarly, you need to demonstrate that you bring immense flexibility, but that is flexibility to do what’s needed for the employer, rather than flexibility to get away with the bare minimum.
The good news is that it’s a candidate’s market. You are in a strong position to request hybrid working. You just need to show that it serves your employer and not just you.