5 Reasons Why Hybrid Working Benefits Your Business
It's estimated that six in every 10 jobs In Cambridge cannot be done remotely including crucial jobs in hospitals and laboratories.
Of course, that means that thousands of jobs in the area and across the country can be done remotely, with many businesses embracing the hybrid working model. However, some business owners and line managers remain sceptical.
Who can blame them? Because in almost every team you've ever run you know there are people that will abuse the privileges you provide and disappoint you. It might be two people in a team of forty, but those two are a headache and seem to consume far too much worry time.
The answer to this is not to punish everyone for one or two, but to provide a system that works for the majority - those that you wish to keep. And manage the individuals who are abusing the system accordingly. Because the benefits to the organisation can be huge.
What are they?
Enhanced Employee Well-Being
Resistant employees continue to find ways to work their way around the system whether it be counting their days at college as one of their two days at home rather than their three days in the office, or using up annual leave to take days off when they should be present in the office. I know people who are simply too anxious to return to their offices and stay home for mental health reasons.
We should be asking why.
Just some of the problems individuals speak to us about include anxiety in mixing within a busy office post-COVID, the pull and push of work and home commitments and the frustration that the office environment is too bright or too noisy to work effectively.
Many people decided to get a dog during the pandemic when the family had time to walk it and now have an animal that cannot be left alone all day. Or the employee has simply found that working from home meant they could get two walks in per day, in daylight, which has improved their mental and physical well-being. Being out in nature and regular exercise is clinically proven to improve health. No one has managed to find any evidence that commuting and sitting at a desk for eight hours does anything but harm human beings.
Happy, healthy employees are more productive, and collaborative, will have fewer absences and are likely to be longer-standing because they feel supported and understood.
Ensuring You are Able to Attract New Employees
Hybrid working is a basic expectation for employees post-pandemic, with surveys suggesting that many businesses are struggling to get their staff back into the office despite repeated requests.
All the time trying to find a way to enforce something that most employees do not want and watching them leave and be unable to replace.
With virtually no unemployment in the UK, if you want to stay fully staffed, you will need to be attractive, and flexible working is high on every jobseekers list. Businesses are now offering hybrid working AND flexible working, enabling people to work from home two to three days per week and choose their hours. One of Clarity's customers allows the team to make up their hours however they wish, provided it fits with the needs of the team and the customers, enabling people to work a 35-hour week in four days, for example. Or drop the children at school, work, do the pickup and then work again late afternoon and early evening around the needs of the family.
Imagine those with mobility issues (disability, monetary constraints, inability to book a driving test) who cannot choose a job that insists on working in the office all week.
Opening up your business to the best people on the market ensure your continued success.
Reduced Operating Costs
We are seeing businesses which were once constrained by the size of their office space, grow.
Grow, without the delay of finding larger, more suitable premises which can be complex, expensive and time-consuming.
Their operating costs have not escalated, rotating their people through the office with much of their work done at home.
Many small businesses which were forced to shut their premises during the pandemic found they were able to function without them and now, us included. It doesn't work for everyone - many people are desperate for something a bit more normal and crave human interaction. If you have people in your team that fit this description you'll lose them unless you can find a good compromise, like people sharing working space at home or frequent team interaction.
There are small businesses that have everyone in on the same day, and the offices shut two days per week, reducing utility bills.
If you're looking for evidence that WFH is unproductive, you'll find it.
If you're looking for evidence WFH increases productivity, you'll also find it.
Because for so long we've believed that people who turned up for eight hours or more in the office and looked busy were productive.
I'm just thinking of all those David Brent tips for appearing busy, like making sure you have a messy desk, always walking around with a document in your hand and having two jackets ensuring you always leave one on your chair to appear ever-present on the premises.
Output is what matters, not being seen and smart bosses are measuring what individuals contribute.
Feedback from individuals is that what they get done at home is very different to the 'work' completed in the office. Work days can be buzzy, and collaborative, catching up and sharing ideas but it can also be distracting with individuals feeling they need to catch up with their inbox when they get home.
Shared working spaces are great if you want to brainstorm problems, learn from others, and create an environment for extroverts to be re-energised (think of sales teams discussing customer relationship challenges, product concerns, and best practices).
For your individuals doing complex detailed work, quiet space is welcomed.
Teamwork Doesn't Disappear - It Changes
There's no doubt that the feeling of working in a cohesive team can disappear entirely for some people when they're alone at home.
Most of us don't enjoy Zoom meetings, not talking at all for fear of talking over someone. Worrying about whether you're being judged on the background in your home office.
What hybrid working can do well is allow people time to focus on their day-to-day quiet work at home and then when they all come together in the office it's accepted that those days are more interactive, that the time has been specifically allocated for human interaction, communication and innovation. Everyone expects it, makes time for it, and invests in it, bringing the best version of themselves and what they have to offer.
For those of us with small teams with no address, we have brunch meetings frequently where we take our laptops but they are rarely opened. The time is set aside to check in, to become up to date with people's challenges (private and professional), and safe time to offer up ideas, share in our problems and celebrate our successes.
Hopefully, this article has been useful. If so, you might enjoy:
How to Interview Like the Best: https://www.clarityappointments.co.uk/view-details/36390/Jobseekers-How-to-Interview-Like-the-Best.htm
Why Kindness During the Recruitment Process Pays: https://www.clarityappointments.co.uk/view-details/36379/Why-Kindness-During-the-Recruitment-Process-Pays.htm
Clarity Appointments is an independent recruitment agency specialising in accountancy and office vacancies. Situated between St Neots and Cambridge, we work within Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, with some clients further-reaching due to work won through referrals.
Contact us now for a free, no-obligation chat. Contact Clare here.
Clare Wight is the founder and Managing Director of Clarity Appointments, an independent recruitment specialist. She served as a Regional Director for The Employment Agents Movement, supporting other independent recruiters.
She remains an active member of Recconnect (formerly Members Only), a recruitment leadership network promoting high ethical standards, collaboration, diversity, equity and inclusion.
She believes business owners are more fulfilled and higher-performing when they provide emotional and professional business support to other business owners, even those they deem to be competitors. She does this actively, whilst challenging and updating her skills and knowledge of the recruitment sector, enabling her to offer the best advice to firms looking to make their next hire.