What is hybrid working?

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Hybrid working is one of the most popular forms of flexible working. Since the enforced remote working during the pandemic, many employers have subsequently adopted a hybrid working arrangement. A number of studies show this to be the perfect compromise for both employers and employees – the latest statistics show that 74% of businesses globally now offer hybrid arrangements.

Despite it now being a part of many contracts and job adverts, people on both sides of the table still ask, what is hybrid working? In this guide to hybrid work, we’ll bring you up to speed on the definition and the latest statistics around productivity and employee satisfaction.

Definition of hybrid working

In a hybrid work arrangement, the working week is split between days in the office and days in a remote location (often the home, but there are many co-working spaces to work from too!)

The ratio of office to remote days varies from company to company, and sometimes from employee to employee, but is typically a 3:2 split one way or the other. However, as we move further from the height of pandemic disruption, we’re seeing more businesses requiring a 4:1 office:remote split.

Hybrid working allows flexibility in the place an employee works, but not the hours. For more information on flexi-hours and other types of work arrangement, read our guide to flexible working.

Why adopt hybrid working?

If you are yet to implement a hybrid working policy for your business or are yet to work in a hybrid role, you may be looking for evidence of its value.

Luckily, the last few years have provided a vast amount of data around every aspect of hybrid working. This can help you craft the most effective policy for business performance and employee wellbeing, answering important questions around engagement, productivity, and employee attraction.

Let’s look at the data.

Despite many businesses and managers being gripped by ‘productivity paranoia’ during and after the pandemic, the data tells a different story. The vast majority of employees (87%) report being productive when remote working, and Microsoft are seeing productivity on their Office 365 products continuing to rise in 2023.

Employees being less active when working outside of the office environment is an understandable concern for managers but, time and again over the last few years, research has shown these fears are unfounded. As long as efforts are made to keep hybrid working employees engaged through smart management and regular social interactions, company productivity will not only hold firm – it will often rise.

Recent data shows that 53% of workers in the UK prioritise work-life balance over location and benefits when making career choices. This gives hybrid work policies a huge amount of weight when attracting and retaining the most sought-after talent.

Businesses that pay the appropriate amount of attention to their hybrid policy will reap the benefits in a competitive hiring market, and can build the respect and trust with their top employees to ensure they stay loyal for the long run.

Hybrid work best practices

Creating an overarching hybrid work policy is one thing, but the day-to-day admin needed to make it effective is another challenge. Managing hybrid teams has become much more nuanced since the days of Zoom calls in the pandemic. Read on for the current best practices around hybrid working.

As there as fewer opportunities for managers to see their teams in person, the hybrid work model requires a more intentional approach to employee management.

This means setting specific times for one-to-ones, making use of the latest generation of online work tools, and adopting a results-based approach to assessing performance, placing less emphasis on presenteeism. Read our tips on managing remote teams to set yourself up for success.

When the right care and attention is given, the hybrid setup can strike a great balance between focused, solo work, and collaborative, creative teamwork.

The former aspect allows individuals the chance to work to their own productive schedules, while the latter adds the crucial social side that creates a team bond. The results speak for themselves – studies have shown that engagement is highest amongst hybrid employees.

The effects of hybrid working on employee mental health can be both positive and negative, so it’s important that businesses adapt their wellbeing practices to this new way of working.

Solo remote working can be a blessing for some, but others struggle with a sense of isolation, or may not have the ideal environment to work from home. Managers must understand that different personalities will respond differently to hybrid working, and ensure employees are supported with regular mental health check-ins and social initiatives.

Our interviews with employee wellbeing experts can provide actionable advice on how to support your hybrid team’s mental health.

The long-term view

The option for employees to work remotely and limit the number of people in the office was an effective solution in the era of COVID, but is hybrid work here to stay? The answer from most experts is an unequivocal “yes”.

The hybrid option is adaptable to every individual’s preferred way of working, maximising their productivity. At the same time, it retains some universal rules for employees, such as of 9-5 working hours, ensuring no disruption to team communication, diaries, and deadlines.

Fully in-office roles and industries will of course continue, but that rigid way of working has been shown to be deficient in several ways, not least of all in the area of mental health. With hybrid, nothing is set in stone and, through creativity and ingenuity, it will continue to evolve. The policies will become more nuanced and individualised, while managers will finesse their practices to draw the best out of their teams.

Once you have a competitive hybrid work policy in action, it’s time to start hiring exceptional staff! Get in touch with your requirements today.

Author Angela Lopes Tiger Recruitment Team

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