Key Challenges with Hybrid Working and How to Address These

Since the pandemic, employers have had to adapt to a new way of working, with most office workers being home-based. As things slowly start to return to some form of normality, there is the question of how employers should help their employees adapt. Many employers are now adopting a form of hybrid working, which is a form of flexible working. They are allowing employees to work between the office and their home. How the working pattern is divided is decided by the employer or between both parties.

Hybrid working is not without its challenges, as you would expect. For many, it’s an entirely new way of working, and it can raise some issues and concerns. These are some of the challenges with hybrid working and how you can address these.

Ensuring Inclusion

Employees mustn’t feel that they are excluded. For instance, if you have a specific day for meetings or go out for lunch one day a week and not all employees are based in the office on that day, it can lead to a feeling of exclusion. If you are holding meetings, make sure employees are involved, even if virtually. If you go out for lunch, make sure you do this at times when everyone is in the office or spread it out to cover the days those employees are in the office. These may seem like unnecessary steps, but they can make a big difference to how employees feel. This way of thinking should be applied across the board, to everything you do in the workplace.

Managing Employees

The inability to manage employees is one of the main concerns for businesses. How do you know they are working, and how can you monitor them from afar? The key to managing employees successfully with hybrid working is to ensure you check-in and communicate with them. It is also worth moving to a task-driven way of operating, rather than worrying too much about whether employees are working the required hours. The truth is that they probably won’t be, as there are many more distractions when working remotely. However, rather than trying to micro-manage them, give them a list of tasks you expect them to complete each day – making sure this is feasible while allowing them to take regular breaks. Communicate with your employees regularly, ensuring they are doing well. Monitor them without being overbearing. Use the time when they are in the office wisely. It can be a key time to do your one-to-one’s.

Sharing Ideas

There is nothing like sitting in an office and sharing ideas with colleagues, but this isn’t always possible with hybrid working. Setting up a message system, such as Slack or Teams, can be a good way to help encourage employees to share their ideas. Ask for regular feedback during office and online meetings. Employees are less likely to express their ideas, so you might need to encourage them a little.

Supporting Mental Health

Working from home can have detrimental effects on mental health. When you don’t see people every day, it can be difficult to know when they are going through hard times. Therefore, supporting them with their mental health can be challenging. The best way to approach this is to ensure you check in with your employees regularly, without becoming overbearing. Make sure they have someone in the workplace they can speak to and ensure you have a messaging service set up for colleagues to chat together. 

Maintaining Productivity

There is the worry that employees will be less productive with hybrid working, but as mentioned earlier, one way to ensure this is by giving them tasks, rather than monitoring the hours they work. It seems that productivity might not be as much of an issue as some may think. According to a report by Cardiff University and Southampton University, 41% of respondents felt they were getting the same amount of work done as they did when working in the office, and 29% said they had been more productive. The report stated that 30% had seen their productivity fall, with 3 out of 10 stating this was down to a lack of work, rather than outside influences.

If you would like to learn more about hybrid working and how to ensure your employees adapt to this way of working, we would be happy to offer some HR advice. Contact us at info@bluetreehr.uk or 07516 335419 for an initial discussion.

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