Since the COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid working has become a popular choice amongst organisations, with around 85% of individuals preferring to work from home. The hybrid work model combines working from home and in the office – whether these days are specified, or the choice of the individual, is dependent on the business. Flexible working is found to have many knock-on benefits for businesses, not least employees reporting increased job satisfaction and improved mental health.
When crafted strategically, this new business model has the potential to improve both productivity and the organisation of company resources. However, around 68% of organisations don’t have a plan in place or fail to adequately manage their system. With increasing numbers of businesses expected to adopt a hybrid working pattern, it is vital to understand how you can effectively execute your own policy should you decide to follow the trend.
Outline your work policy and procedure
During the initial stages, clearly state what is expected from your staff in order for them to transition easily into this new type of working environment. It is essential that you clarify what the model is, how it will work and why it would be beneficial. You will also need to consider any circumstances that may inhibit your staff from working successfully at home. Treat remote workers in the same way as office-based staff: outline the roles and responsibilities expected with each position and discuss procedures for any disciplinary issues, absences and problems with performance.
Create a space for communication
Communication in every business is paramount and should not fluctuate whether employees are together in the office or connecting virtually. Asynchronous communication methods such as email are useful for projects that do not require an immediate response, but you should also invest in instant messaging and calling services like Microsoft Teams to allow team members to effectively discuss any issues, ask quick questions, or maintain social ties.
Equipment and technology
Each employee that works remotely must have all the necessary equipment and technology in order to work effortlessly whether in the office or at home. Conduct a survey to find out what each individual needs, whether it is a desk chair to avoid back pain or a mouse and keyboard. Every piece of technology must be updated and in good condition so that there is no reduction in productivity between workplaces. Investing in large amounts of equipment suddenly can be expensive, therefore you may want to consider applying for a business loan during the transitional stage.
It is worth noting that office spaces can be converted into static spaces when the plan is put into place, with people ‘hot desking’ as and when they come into the office. You can maintain order and an awareness of who is in by introducing an online desk booking system.
Development and training
Working from home brings new challenges and demands that businesses have not seen before, so it is imperative that relevant training is provided to all employees. This will ensure that all individuals are well-versed on how to complete their work to a high standard and maintain productivity within their new environment. Frequently offer support and any training on subjects that workers are unsure about and provide consistent feedback whether this be good or bad.