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            Hybrid Working in the Longer Term

            29th March 2023

            Whilst many businesses have been flexible with their policies around hybrid working during the pandemic, many are now looking to implement more permanent strategies for hybrid working in the longer term. A quote from Satya Nadella (CEO & Chairman, Microsoft) in 2021 certainly rings true:

            “Hybrid work represents the biggest shift to how we work in our generation…it will require a new operating model, spanning people, places, and processes.”

            These are the four most common hybrid work models:

            • Flexible model – Employees choose their location and working hours based on their priorities for the day.
            • Fixed model – The business sets the days and times employees work remotely or go into the office.
            • Office-first model – Employees are expected to be on-site but have the flexibility to choose a few days a week to work remotely.
            • Remote-first model – Employees work remotely most of the time with occasional visits to coworking spaces or the office for team building, collaboration, and training.

            Each of these models is outlined by a few key policy areas, setting rules and expectations about how much flexibility employees have at work. The options businesses have either implemented or are considering for successful hybrid working in the longer term are far reaching and signal significant change for the future of work:

            1. Remuneration: Hybrid working is making changes to equipment provision and salary packages. Employers are providing equipment such as laptops, keyboards and chairs to employees to enable them to do their jobs at home, and/or paying employees to cover their additional overheads due to working at home, although employees will save on the cost of commuting to work.
            2. Location: Many businesses have diverse workforces from around the world, and hybrid working has offered up the opportunity for employees to move nearer to their families or to experience a new culture by moving to a new country altogether. Many businesses are supporting this, trusting their workforce to perform remotely whether they are 1 or 1,000 miles from the office.
            3. Blended Team Meetings: Hybrid working involves a mix of in-person and remote team meetings. Many companies are planning yearly retreats to get together and see one another in person as a whole group. When working in a blended team, this enables team building to keep the company culture consistent and avoid employees becoming disconnected from the business or team.
            4. Rotating Schedules: It has become far more commonplace for employees to take turns working from home or at the office. This allows for both remote and in-person work, whilst meeting business needs.
            5. Flexibility in Working Hours: Hybrid working allows employees to work from home during specific times of the day or week, such as during rush hour or when they have personal commitments. This allows reduction in the stress of commuting and a better work-life balance.
            6. Project-Based Work: Hybrid working is being used for project-based work, where employees work remotely during the initial stages of a project, and then come together in-person to finalise the project. This enables flexibility and collaboration while still maintaining the benefits of remote work.
            7. Work from Satellite Offices: Hybrid working has started to take place working from satellite offices or co-working spaces. This allows employees to have the flexibility to work from different locations, while still maintaining access to the resources and tools they need to be productive.
            8. Tech is Evolving: Collaboration between staff is essential for training, development, and effective task completion. It’s also one of the main challenges of hybrid working. Tech solutions are adapting to meet these needs in a hybrid work environment and as a result the importance of business tech strategies is ever increasing. Equipping teams with the digital solutions to work from anywhere is more important than ever when it comes to attracting talent and business growth.
            9. Training is Adapting: Prioritising both technology and training makes hybrid businesses far more attractive to employees amid the ongoing battle for talent. 42% of employees are more likely to stay in their current job if their employers provide more regular, intensive training on the use of digital technology. Hybrid working has resulted in increases in both leadership training as well as online training opportunities across teams.
            10. Change to Onboarding: More and more employers are considering flexible hybrid working at interview stage. Onboarding in a hybrid environment requires streamlined communications, clear expectation management, with an emphasis on connection supported by the right digital infrastructure. Businesses are using more tailored onboarding programs that monitor progress, deliver training and schedule events with colleagues that keep them engaged, no matter where all the team members are located.

            A further current workplace trend has been the four-day working week, with the 6 month trial finishing earlier this year. The success businesses have had during the trials, where employees get 100% pay for 80% of their normal hours, has led to some businesses making this a permanent policy, while others have seen the successes and are deciding to try it themselves.

            Despite the above trends showing an acceptance from employers that hybrid working is here to stay, many are still expecting more from their employees in terms of visibility in the office. There are cases where businesses are seeing discrimination claims being brought against them where employees do not want to work from the office.

            What is clear is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for hybrid working in the longer term and the solutions are transforming the world of work.

            MD Comment

            One of the hot topics of debate amongst employees and business users is the future of working patterns / practices. With both parties looking at the conundrum from different perspectives. When speaking with our clients and candidates two distinct desires come to the fore, employers want crystal clear clarity on what “hybrid” looks like for them and employees, understandably, want “flexibility”. What they often end up with is vagueness and grey areas causing frustrations all around. As the expectation for a degree of hybrid working becomes embedded in the psyche of job seekers, many forward thinking employers are harnessing their ability to offer hybrid work. Becoming a more attractive employment proposition to candidates and at the same time improving retention levels with existing employees.

            Posted by Mike Gorshkov

            Managing Director at Linea Resourcing

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