Hybrid working is now considered to be the new ‘norm’. Hybrid working simply means that organisations are offering greater flexibility in both working hours and working venues, allowing employees the flexibility to work either from home, the office or another location that works well. This blog will outline how flexible working will encourage staff loyalty so that organisations will attract and retain the best staff during the post-pandemic’s ‘Great Reshuffle.’ This blog will also outline the biggest five issues that will affect staff loyalty and affect your organisations’ smooth transition to hybrid working.
What is hybrid working?
Whilst initially, hybrid working was considered to be a short term solution to the pandemic, it is now widely accepted that this flexible working model will be a permanent working practice. One of the biggest reasons for this is because this flexibility is now an important, even critical consideration for many employees in the decision to remain in their role.
For many employees, the post-pandemic, hybrid working is a new long term feature of their working lives and a new practice that they are reluctant to give up.
What is hybrid flexible working?
Hybrid working means flexibility to many employees. Offering employees the choice to either work from home, in a remote space or in the office and it is now a must for over half of UK employees.
This strength of feeling within the workforce was highlighted in a 2021 survey from Microsoft Work Index. Which found that the pandemic has changed hybrid working from a nice to have to a must-have.
Hybrid working brings the ability to work in an environment that – to a degree – suits employees. However, what I have noticed when working with businesses is that there are issues with the suitability of hybrid working for:
- different teams,
- age groups,
- and sectors in the workforce.
For example whilst some employees will enjoy the benefits of the office environment looking for more interactive and collaboration experiences, others feel that the office is a distraction.
If you would like to read more about the different expectations of hybrid working within your organisation then this article will be of interest to you How can leaders bring teams together in a hybrid work environment?
What are the benefits of hybrid working?
The hybrid working environment is here to stay, it is a long term trend that will ensure that organisations are able to recruit staff from different areas, regions and countries.
What are the benefits to the organisation of hybrid working? For organisations the size of the recruitment pool has increased, companies are able to attract talent from across the country and even the world.
This ability to recruit from anywhere in the world is a huge benefit to the organisation. Organisations can now have a wider spread of recruits to fill roles, as well as ensure that the workforce is more diverse. This diversity brings a rich and new way of thinking. A more diverse team will mean that the workforce is able to understand and work with customers better – as well as be able to work with a wider customer base.
In addition to the organisational benefits of hybrid working, there are also benefits for the workforce. For example, employees have a wider range of companies that they can work for, they are no longer restricted by their geography and who they can work for.
There is a surge in demand and expectations from the millennial and Generation Z workforce that a level of flexibility is required. Therefore organisations looking to retain this younger workforce – in particular more creative and technologically based industries – offering this level of flexibility is essential to retain the best staff. The tech industries are already suffering from recruiting and retaining staff.
More experienced workforce are looking for flexibility for different reasons, perhaps changing family commitments or reducing the commute has changed their attitude towards work.
If this workforce change of attitude is of interest to you then reading my article on how your organisation can bring together different teams in hybrid working will be of interest Bringing teams together in a hybrid work environment
Why is hybrid working benefical for your organisation?
The shift if working is of great benefit to the employee mainly due to less travel time and also where and for whom they can work, but also there are great advantages to the organisation that offers this flexible incentive.
Outlined below are some of the key benefits of hybrid working for your business:
- Staff Loyalty
As a direct result of the pandemic, many employees see flexible working as part of their working package, those organisations that embrace this change will benefit from strong staff loyalty.
- Retaining staff
As more and more staff are looking to organisations to support their wellbeing. A job for life is no longer probable or a requirement. Employees are looking for opportunities, job engagement and fulfilment. It is no longer the adage ‘ a good wage for a good day’s pay.’ Employees are expecting more to the job than was expected even 3 years ago before the pandemic. The ‘Great Reshuffle’ means employees are looking around to find companies that support flexible working as well as their wellbeing. Hybrid working is a benefit that most employees are looking for as a standard in order to remain within a company. Organisations that offer this flexibility illustrate that they care, the employee matters and employees are happier to stay within that organisation.
- Recruting staff
If your organisation has a company reputation for good wellbeing practices including flexible working then recruiting the best staff will be easier. It is no longer a necessity to offer the best salary. Employees are looking for the best employment package which includes wellbeing, flexibility and a range of professional and personal development and support.
- Diversity of thinking
Attracting different groups from different areas around the country and an even wider worldwide employment net means that the organisation will benefit from a range of different thinking. This thinking will mean that customer services, product design will have a more diverse input.
Hybrid working brings a diversity of thinking to the organisation which means that creative and innovative solutions can be found to work problems that can range from technological difficulties to more detailed customer-facing issues.
- Reduced costs and overheads
Remote working reduces the need for expensive office space. With fewer people in the office, expensive office costs are reduced. Therefore costs and overheads for many organisations are decreased. There is a reconfiguration of the office environment which needs to feel welcoming so that it has a collaborative and connective feel. The term resiliency spaces are being used to the previous traditional desk environment.
- Increased productivity
A combination of flexible working and less commuting time has meant that employees have increased their working hours. This has meant, in the short term at least, that employees have become more productive.
Hybrid working and managing inclusivity
How does hybrid working benefit your employees?
Employees have expressed a preference for more flexible reasons and the reasons have been numerous and interesting. Below I have outlined some of the reasons employees have given a preference for hybrid working. These include:
- A better work-life balance
The ability to have more autonomy over their work schedule can range from fewer days in the office, to the hours worked for example no longer 9-5 and travelling to work in the rush hour. The ability to work from 8 to 4 allows employees to help with childcare responsibilities even schedule necessary medical appointments.
- Ability to focus
One of the main contributing factors that have been reported from working more days at home means that work is more focused, with longer periods of concentration and fewer office interactions or noises.
- Fewer distractions,
When team members can switch off their MS teams notifications and close emails for a few hours, there are fewer distractions to their workday. As the pandemic wore on more employees had a workable office at home, there are no longer working a the kitchen desk. Designated workspace at home and the return of children to school/playgroup has meant fewer distractions.
- More time for family
A benefit of more home working means that less time is spent commuting so that employees can spend more time with the family and get involved with the school pick up and family activities than before.
- Spending more time with friends
The pandemic saw an increase in social isolation, now working more days at home with less travel time means that more time can be spent socialising. An important part of workplace resilience is community and connectivity. Organisations benefit when staff feel connected to their wider purpose and being part of the community helps to bring more productivity whilst at work.
- Less time commuting
Choosing to avoid the commuting hours has meant that when employees do visit the office for connectivity and collaborative meetings there is less time in the commute. When employees are at work there is less annoyance and stress with the daily struggle and inconvenience that comes with commuting.
- Reduced travel costs
Travel costs are reduced and in effect a slight pay rise for the employee which means more disposable income to improve the economy.
- Technological upskilling
Those employees previously reluctant to upskill have made adaptations. The use of technology has escalated significantly and all employees are well versed on the ‘turn off the mute’ button!
- Higher levels of motivation
With more choice comes higher levels of motivation. Coming to work with purpose rather than routine, gives the employee more motivation and your business a higher level of engagement.
- Freedom and autonomy over where and how they work
Hybrid working has its drawbacks for team leaders trying to assess their team’s levels of mental wellbeing. More wellbeing programmes are becoming less about yoga or mindfulness initiatives and more focused on a stronger resilient wellbeing strategy that has a structured approach to wellbeing. Employees are benefiting from great levels of care as team leaders upskill their coaching skills so that they are able to connect more fully with their teams.
Most organisations are aware that all meetings will include remote participants therefore preparing a hybrid working plan that includes a wellbeing resiliency element is essential.
Creating a Wellbeing Strategy that will support and retain staff is essential – if you are looking for a simple Guide on how to create your organisations’ Wellbeing Strategy then this will be the perfect place to start click here and download your free Wellbeing Strategy Guide
In conclusion, hybrid working is considered to be a permanent fixture of the modern way of working. This shifting work pattern has been illustrated in a recent report from the Microsoft Work Index 2021 quotes that over half of the workforce will leave their current role if a variation of hybrid working doesn’t remain post-pandemic.
Meaning that organisations wishing to retain and keep key staff require a more flexible approach to the working environment. Organisations will be offering people the choice to either be at home or in the office – a hybrid solution that suits the individual and, as this blog has explored, will also benefit the organisation.
To support organisations with performance issues and boost productivity during hybrid working contact Adele for coaching sessions for team leaders and employees. Coaching that use a structured approach towards clear objectives, personal growth and moving forward.
If your organisation is looking to incorporate a coaching programme or would like to investigate the opportunities that coaching can offer please email me to discuss your organisational requirements or book an appointment straight in my diary
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