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Hybrid Working - SCE Solicitors - Employment Law in Leeds

Hybrid working – 10 tips to make it a success in your organisation

The coronavirus pandemic has certainly been a turning point in our approach to flexible working and overall, it seems to have been a success debunking the myths that employees couldn’t be trusted to work from home.

Two-thirds (63%) of employers have responded to a CIPD survey, which looked at how to make hybrid working a success, to say that they plan to introduce or expand the use of hybrid working to some degree.   

The evidence is showing that many employers are now planning to introduce permanent hybrid/blended working, particularly where there is evidence that their employees are just as productive or even more productive when they can work more flexibly.  71% of employers said in the survey that the increase in homeworking has either boosted or has made no difference to productivity.  

We thought we’d pick out ten things you need to think about to ensure a smooth transition to permanent hybrid working if this is something your business is considering. 

1. Weigh up the pros and cons for your business

Clearly every business is unique and has different needs, so you need to assess the pros and cons of a hybrid working policy carefully to gauge whether it could work long-term.  Think about the aspects of homeworking that have worked well in the last 12 months and how you have overcome any challenges.  Its success may depend on lessons learned.

Hybrid working may not work for every role in your business, so you need to be clear about which roles are suitable for this way of working. 

2. Ask your staff

It is important to ensure that you know what your staff’s views on hybrid working are so discuss the options with them.   Depending on the size of your business you could do this through staff meetings, or you could carry out a survey to get people’s views.

Ask them about their experiences of remote working and how they would like to work in future. Listen carefully to people’s views as some may have personal circumstances making it difficult to work from home.

3. Buy-in from senior management

You will also need agreement from the senior management team.  Any change to working practices needs to be directed from the top down.  Where applicable, you’ll also need to consult trade unions.

4. What will the policy be?

Once you have assessed the business needs and your employees’ preferences you will need to decide the parameters of your new hybrid working policy. 

  • Will the arrangements be the same for everyone? 
  • Will the policy extend to all employees/roles? 
  • Will there be limitations on days at home versus days in the office? 
  • What will the ideal balance be between office and home?
  • Will staff be expected to stick to rigid office hours?
  • Will your staff need to come into the office for meetings?
  • Will there be certain restrictions – on working in public places or abroad for example?

5. Communicate the plan

Clear and ongoing communication is vital and needs to come from the top down and we would say via face-to-face meeting (or online) so that people have a chance to raise any concerns.  This would then need to be followed up with written confirmation before the more formal aspects of updating contracts.

Be really clear about the plan, expectations, timescales and contracts.  Remember to touch on things like training, support and wellbeing and be clear how people will be able to request hybrid working.

6. Listen

Hand in hand with communication comes listening.  Whilst planning for hybrid working and doing it in practice long term will require a proactive approach to listening.  You need to ensure you create the opportunity for open discussions on how people are feeling, any concerns they have or challenges they face.

7. Training

Effective people management becomes more difficult with a mix of people at home and office. Pay particular attention to team-working skills, communication skills, performance management – managers may need to focus more on how to manage outputs rather than hours worked; and in how to restructure jobs to better fit the hybrid context.

8. Tools

You will actively need to ensure that all your employees have the tools they need to do their jobs seamlessly between home and office.  As part of your preparation for hybrid working, you’ll need to review systems and available equipment (hardware, office chairs, desks, phones) to assess whether it will appropriately support hybrid forms of working.  You’ll also need to ensure people are confident in their digital capabilities and identify any training requirements.

9. Support

Engagement with your staff whilst many are working remotely needs some careful thought and planning.  It is important to factor in some social and human connection time to ensure the team continues to work well together.  It’s good practice for all team members to work out together how to communicate, what tech and tools to use and how often they should all get together.

10. Changes to terms and conditions

There are contractual implications of hybrid working to consider as a change to hybrid working will mean a change to your employees’ terms and conditions.  You’ll need to decide whether you will have an open clause allowing employees to choose where they work on any day or whether they will attend the office on particular days. Contracts need to state a contractual location of work.

You’ll find more details of legal considerations here.

We’d love to hear about your plans going forward and if you’d like to chat about any aspect of hybrid working please get in touch.

If you have enjoyed this article and would like to be kept updated on Employment Law issues please subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0113 350 4030 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk

SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and litigation practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide. Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here. 

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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