Hybrid Working - Tips For Employers
The term "hybrid working" captures a lifestyle where people are working from the office some days of the week or month and at home the rest of the week or month. It also includes the other end of the spectrum where people work 100% remotely. According to CIPD research, there has been a significant shift post-Covid in ways of working which professionals will need to prepare for. Employers and small business owners have to rethink the HR strategy where the employee is motivated to boost productivity and get the best of both worlds.
NEW WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES
For employers and small business owners hybrid working opens a whole new world of possibilities. It enables them to minimise estate and facilities costs and allows them to improve employee wellbeing and support inclusion and diversity. Employees will have a better work–life balance, greater ability to focus with fewer distractions, more time for family and friends, saved commuting time and costs, IT upskilling and higher levels of motivation if everything is done right. However, careful attention needs to be paid to the legal framework when managing remote or hybrid workers.
Legal duties to consult workers and trade unions when dealing with changed HR practices are not to be neglected. Careful consideration should also be given to tax, social security and local employment laws when recruiting a geographically dispersed workforce. The relevance of pay and benefits packages should be reviewed, especially in cases of paid travel expenses. Employers should make sure customer service is still following industry and company standards when staff work remotely or in a hybrid fashion.
CAREER PROGRESSION AND TRAINING
Career progression and training as well as the right management style are other issues to be delved into by the small business owner when recruiting or managing hybrid workers working partly or 100% remotely. The employee needs to know where to turn to and how to address problems which occur at work. The communication flow should be smooth and transparent. Micro-management should be reduced and a greater responsibility given to staff at a more junior level in the organisation. It is imperative that no discrimination occurs, for example regarding women workers and older workers. Focus should be on inclusion and diversity. In cases of part-time remote work, employers should make sure the transition is smooth and that on-site training days and appraisals are well-managed. There should be a plan for when employees will work from the office and when they will work from home and this should take into consideration the right collaboration technologies such as SharePoint intranet, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, etc.
Staff competence with all of the technologies that will enable hybrid working is required and further staff training may be necessary. The right learning and development strategy must be put in place.
NEW MANAGEMENT STYLE
Focus will be on work outputs instead of traditional work inputs or clocking off the hours. Staff should be well informed of what is expected when working in a hybrid fashion or at home. A constant communication flow needs to be maintained between remote staff and management so that each one knows what the company and personal targets are and how to boost productivity. Motivational messages are encouraged and it is recommended that management training is carried out to ensure a new management style is embraced.
MENTAL HEALTH AND EMPLOYEE WELLBEING
Focus will also be on the mental health of workers and employee wellbeing. Collaboration technologies will help reduce the sense of isolation of workers. A listening exercise should also be carried out to have a better grasp of employees' points of view with regards to working patterns. Business owners and management should have better insight into the employee mindset: do people feel sufficiently safe? Will part-time remote work enhance performance? Can people engage socially and personally using remote technologies? Are they ready to go back to the office? Business owners and managers should provide training and support to employees on managing work-life balance whilst working in a hybrid way / working from home. Having healthy habits in relation to technology use, including helping employees to mindfully disconnect, is important. Conversations about wellbeing should be part of the regular meetings between employees and management. It should also be a regular feature to offer on going mental health support and information for all employees.
ABOUT ONLINE MEETINGS
The shape and form of online meetings is to be reviewed and the etiquette following their attendance is to be respected. Long online meetings with a lot of noise and confusion regarding who's talking and what the ultimate communication objective is should be avoided. Employees should be briefed and questioned about their preference for long meetings and a shorter version should be favoured. The small business owner should empathise with his/her staff and the right solution should be discussed.
WE CAN HELP SMALL BUSINESSES
Here, at Associate Planet, we are experts in helping you talk with your employees and find the right set-up for the smooth running of your business post-pandemic. We can help you navigate through the do's and don'ts to find the politically correct set-up. It doesn't matter whether you have a geographically dispersed workforce or your people are all local. Why not have a chat with Richard to find out more? Call on 07831 196534 or email email@example.com.
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