During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, many office workers had to work solely from home, something which was mostly unheard of before the pandemic struck.
As time progressed and the pandemic restrictions started to ease, employees were asked to come to the office for a few days a week or month and then work from home/remotely for the rest of the time.
This measure was to help curve the spread of Covid-19, but for many companies, this type of working model has remained despite restrictions being lifted. This has now become known as hybrid working, but what does it mean for the future of work and what are the benefits of hybrid working?
Definition of hybrid working
Hybrid working is a type of flexible working model where employees work partly at home/remotely and partly in an office. The amount of time an employee is expected in an office varies from business to business and in some cases employee to employee.
Other types of alternative working models include;
- Homeworking / remote work - solely working from home or remotely
- Flexible working - where an employee works set hours but can choose when to work them
- Job sharing - sharing the contracted hours of one employee amongst two or more people
Advantages of hybrid working
If you are running a business which does not rely on daily face-to-face contact, then there are many advantages to hybrid working. These include;
- Reducing the size of your current office or using a shared workspace can save you cost on ground rent
- If you do own or rent a building you can also reduce costs on electricity and other utilities, particularly if less equipment is being used
- Decreased sundry expenses on items such as tea and coffee
- Fewer PCs and other such equipment will be needed (or renewed when they fail)
Improved employee wellbeing
- Employees who are able to work from home or remotely a few days a week tend to feel less stressed because they have a better work-life balance. In fact, 60% of workers say their work-life balance is better since they started hybrid working
- This is because hybrid working allows them to fit their lifestyle around their work hours
- They will also spend less time commuting saving them money on travel costs and giving them more personal time back
- With less time spent commuting to work, your employees can spend more time carrying out their work at home
- The office can be a distracting environment, so hybrid working can allow your employee more time to focus
- Knowing what days your employees are working in the office will help you to better plan face-to-face activities such as company-wide meetings, ideation/brainstorming and team building
Wider talent pool
- Not having your employees in an office five days a week allows you to recruit talent from further afield
- This is because commuting to a distant location is more desirable if it is only required for a set amount of days a week/month
- This can not only help with finding better talent but also increase diversity in your workforce
The advantages seem good, but is there anything I should consider?
Before you implement hybrid working, you will need to determine whether your employees' home environment is suitable for the type of work you require of them. People have different living circumstances so you shouldn't assume hybrid working is right for everyone.
You should also consider the impact a hybrid workplace can have on company culture, mentoring and knowledge sharing - and if you believe employees will be able to adapt to this type of working arrangement.
Could I try out hybrid working and revert back to office-based working?
You should discuss and consult with your employees about the way forward, obtaining their consent to try hybrid working. You would want to set out clearly the terms of the hybrid working arrangement in a hybrid working model and alter their contract of employment (with their consent) to reflect that.
You must of course be careful in administering this, and any other policy, so as to avoid discriminating against your staff and causing constructive dismissal claims.
What should a hybrid working model cover?
The hybrid working model should include details such as:
- How many days a week staff will be in the office and how many days at home (and will the same model apply to all employees)
- How you will ensure health and safety procedures are followed
- What will you do if it’s not working for you or the staff member
- How will you monitor your staff in terms of wellbeing and development
- How you will ensure good communication in your company
- Who to talk to if the staff member has any concerns
- What additional training needs will be required
All of our employment contract templates now contain a hybrid working model section which you can be removed based on your requirements.
Get legal assistance from LawBite
Changing the terms of an employment contract should be done under the supervision of an experienced employment lawyer or HR professional. If you require legal guidance from our expert team of employment specialists, book a free 15 minute consultation or call us on 020 3808 8314.
- Understanding the increase in National Insurance contributions
- The National Minimum Wage in 2022
- What is a contract of employment
- What are the terms and conditions of a contract of employment
- Registering as an employer - what you need to know
- Understanding expenses and benefits
- How to check Right to Work
- What is a Skilled Worker Visa?