We are moving into a new era of hybrid working – with some team members working from home, while others are in the office. This new way of working brings its own set of challenges.
Until now we have been working with half the team in the office and half at home and swapping each week, but today sees the return of our full team to the office. We have communicated a flexible working policy in which staff request the days they would like to work from home as we believe it’s important to spend some time each week in the office to aid team working, communication and training of junior staff members.
The general consensus among UK businesses is that the post-Covid working environment will see most employers move to a hybrid working approach, with staff being able to opt for a mix of home, office or remote working.
This more flexible approach to working may lower costs and improve productivity, but it also presents managers with a new set of challenges. Policies and work processes will need to be updated and managers will need to learn how to run a team of home and office-based people effectively.
Before putting a hybrid working policy in place, any business should undertake a risk assessment to explore potential implications of things like cyber security, training new starters, wellbeing, client confidentiality, and so forth.
A hybrid working policy can then be developed, which sets out rules around working hours, provision of equipment, ratio of home versus office hours, etc. Employee handbooks should be updated with the new hybrid working policy once it has been finalised.
Managers should take steps to ensure that home-based staff don’t feel left out. Staff should be included in decision making regardless of where they are based.
Video conferencing is a useful tool for team meetings as this technology allows everyone to join a meeting in a face to face environment. If you are planning team socials or strategic planning meetings, arrange them in advance and give remote workers the option to join these events in person. As with most things in business, communication is key.
Tim Watkins is Managing Partner and is always open to a chat over a coffee whether it is a member of his team or one of his clients – you can call him on 01242 776000 or email email@example.com.