The phrase ‘Hybrid Working’ from a business standpoint, did not really exist in our vocabulary in March 2020, but as it is now part of everyday conversation, we need to look at how we integrate this new form of working into our work patterns. WFH (Working From Home) was something we had to do, but now we don’t. Employers and employees need to face, head-on, the realities of a new ‘norm’ of working. What was a flexible, verbal and a short term agreement is now here for the long term. At the bare minimum, changes or checks to contracts, policies and procedures are needed to protect both employees and employers as businesses settle down into a different way of working.
There are a myriad of articles, short reads, etc. on the pros and cons of Hybrid Working which help to guide and inform but ultimately, it comes down to what does this business need to survive and thrive, and what kind of working environment do we need to build to ensure that happens?
There are two essential elements in making the decision (over and above the legal imperatives):
- What works for the business and,
- what works for the people who want to work here?
This is where, maybe, there is a mismatch between employers’ needs and employee wants.
So, there needs to be negotiation and possible compromise, to reach a solution that works for the majority. Creating a clear vision for the business and setting SMART business objectives for the next three to five years, is a good starting point. Consulting with employees on their wishes, and mapping them against each other identifies where needs and wants match, overlap and diverge. From there it’s about working through what is and is not acceptable to both, and this is where effective communication is critical. Ensuring everyone is clear about what is happening, why, how and when, will go a long way to keeping everyone on board with the final decisions.
Two other critical aspects of implementing a new working structure are transparency and fairness. What works for one employee may not work for others, but by being open and transparent about the thought process behind the decisions, everyone is more likely to be accepting of the new ways of working.
Above all else: Businesses need their People to survive, and People need their Business to survive, so surely, there alone are the starting blocks for developing a cohesive, productive working environment for the future?
If you need help to assess what can influence a successful Hybrid Working Model, download our model and checklist.
Strategic Business Consultant