We often think of employers and employees as being on different sides of tug o’war. In the area of hybrid working, since lockdowns have ended, there’s been renewed jostling. On one hand employees want to keep the flexibility of the hybrid model and on the other, employers are encouraging employees back into the workplace. Indeed, that encouragement can be quite strong and coercive in some cases.
However, recent research unveiled by the Chartered Institute of Management (CMI) shows that hybrid working is a very positive experience for many. Their survey, partnering with WorkL, looked at managers, but we can extrapolate lessons for all of us. The research shows that hybrid working practices of varying forms are permeating into everyday working life. In fact as I write this, I’m sat at home ready for the work day ahead and glad I’m not sat in the ‘rush hour traffic’ I endured yesterday on my commute to the office!
The research has revealed that 80% of managers are already working in a blended way (where at least one day out of five is remote). Importantly, 61% of those managers also said that they “expect their staff to work in a blended fashion.”
Hybrid working is best practice
The CMI believes that employers need to offer the flexibility of hybrid working as best practice. Ann Francke, CMI Chief Executive says,
“We are experiencing an uptick in productivity, and an uptick in many companies results. We’re not saying everyone should work from home 100% of the time, we’re saying the best practice is to have a blend, so when you come into the office you can do those things that are very difficult to do remotely.”
In an environment where getting hold of and retaining the best talent is increasingly difficult for employers, we need to take note. Employers must be capable of offering their workforces hybrid working, without undue pressure and without inherently penalising hybrid workers. If we know that engagement and productivity is higher when hybrid working is facilitated, then we should definitely offer it wherever possible.
For individuals, this means thinking about what works best for you. There is no ‘one size fits all’ best approach with hybrid working. Some will want to work from home for the majority of the time, others prefer to be in the office. Knowing what balance works best for you allows you to think about your career options within the boundaries of what particular employers are offering.
It’s interesting to note that it tends to be the larger businesses which offer hybrid practices more consistently. Smaller businesses need to take care not to dissuade potential competitive talent because of this. Already, smaller businesses may struggle to secure the best talent against larger counterparts. A way to engage your employees more may in fact be to become more flexible, not less, using your smaller size to your advantage.
Flexibility is key
At the end of the day, we need to understand why hybrid models work, rather than simply shoehorning our working practices into them. Hybrid working is effective because it brings the best of both worlds. Employees still get the connection, motivation, network and access to resources that being onsite brings, while also getting the autonomy, independence, and undisrupted time that homeworking allows. The balance between these is variable and it’s down to each employee and employer to find what works best. Communication between both parties is therefore vital.
As such, getting the right match between employee and employer at the recruitment stage, in light of hybrid working, is essential. F1rst Commercial Recruitment is here to help.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next article
Our next article will be published in March. In the meantime, keep abreast of industry news and discussion on LinkedIn with our short burst videos/posts. You can sign up to the F1rst Commercial Newsletter and find out more about what we do and how we do it on our website www.f1rstcommercialrecruitment.co.uk. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.