Working from home, now what?

The necessity of a WFH setup for millions during the pandemic lockdowns has created a massive stimulus and catalyst for change. After all, our working patterns haven’t changed for generations.

Research by the CIPD and a YouGov survey suggests that after the pandemic the majority of workers want to continue to work from home, at least some of the time, providing opportunities for organisations to establish new ways of working.

Moving to a hybrid working approach

Now that ministers are nudging workers back to their desks, we’re seeing signs that increasingly employers are shifting to a hybrid working approach, where employees spend part of the week in the office and are at home for the remainder. There’s a huge rise in job vacancies (albeit from a low base) advertising the option to work from home.

How do I introduce hybrid working?

Start by considering which roles can and cannot be done from home, who may or may not want to work from home, any concerns and how best to handle them. This can also help make sure that decisions are fair and follow the law on discrimination. It’s essential for employers and employees to discuss and agree working from home plans together, prioritising fairness, inclusion and flexibility.

What else do I need to consider?

Employers will need to think about how much choice they can give people, and be prepared for the more difficult conversations about pay and benefits challenges on the grounds of things like discrimination if people think things aren’t being fairly applied.

Where employees make a formal request for hybrid working through a flexible working policy and it’s accepted, this will amount to a formal change to terms and conditions of employment. Hybrid working can also be agreed on an informal basis, without a contractual change.

Getting ahead with a hybrid working policy

Decide on a position on hybrid working for your organisation and put this into a policy. This could be updating your existing flexible working policy. The policy should cover which roles are eligible for hybrid working, how to request it, the other flexible working options available and responsibilities for hybrid workers and team leaders.

Then discuss the plan with your team leaders and decide how it will be communicated!

Why being flexible is worth the work

A better work-life balance, fewer distractions, higher job satisfaction and reduced absence rates are just a few of the benefits of hybrid working. There’s now a real opportunity to shift long-standing working patterns and working cultures that could be good for all. And especially for employers, in terms of their ability to attract, retain and engage the people they need.

If you need a bit of help with managing the move to hybrid working, get in touch and we’d be happy to help.

Read how Google and PWC have introduced flexibility for their staff.