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Can Hybrid Working Replace Remote Work?

Isbella Ribar

Sun, 22 Aug, 2021

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 4 minutes

Digital and technology markets are candidate-driven, making it hard to persuade talented candidates to join your organisation. Beyond pay, candidates want to work for a company they believe in, they want to work for a diverse organisation, and they increasingly want to be able to work when and where it suits them best.

Today, the digital and technology jobs market is more competitive than ever. After a short period in 2020 where the company had a flood of applicants in their inbox, the power is once again in the hands of the candidates.

In light of that, you should seriously consider hybrid (or flexible) working. Although implementing forced remote working hasn’t been easy, it’s been shown beyond all doubt that it is possible, and many millions of employees don’t want to revert back to the way things were.

A recent Fulcrum survey showed that most people are inclined to desire to combine both home and office work – referred to as hybrid work or flexible work – with the number one choice being to work three or four days a week from home.

We want to share some of the reasons why flexible working is good for business, as well as the ways you can implement one working regime – and why you should continue to offer flexible working beyond the COVID-19 era.

A Rise in Productivity

It is not only good for your company, but for your employees as well. A lot of research indicates that employers can increase employee productivity by offering more flexible schedules – moving away from the traditional 9-5 and not making attendance mandatory in the office.

Business Insider quotes Ron Friedman, psychologist and author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, as saying:

“We have decades of studies showing that people are happier, healthier, and more productive when they feel autonomous. The more autonomous we feel, the more likely we are to be engaged.”

Attracting & Retaining Talent

We know employees desire flexible working hours but what does this look like in terms of the employment cycle? There is evidence to suggest that it affects both sides of the coin. Recruiting top talent for your company is easier when flexible working options are on the table.

In addition, it boosts retention. Two-thirds of employees said they’d leave if their hours weren’t flexible enough, according to the Staples study conducted prior to the pandemic. Imagine the increased demands employees will have now. Other research found that companies offering flexible working keep their staff for much longer, too.

Health issues, which often result from working long hours and stress, cost businesses millions every year.

The Hybrid Approach

The pandemic has one silver lining. Pre-COVID-19, there were a lot of uncertainties surrounding this topic. In order to adapt to flexible working, companies need to think about issues such as communication, cybersecurity, and how employees will perceive remote/flexible workers.

Almost every organisation has now been forced to adjust – and quickly. Teams, Zoom and Slack have become common tools for corporate communication. As a result of these lessons, we learned how to network online and protect ourselves at the same time when working remotely. As a result, flexible work is no longer subject to the social stigmas once associated with it.

You’ll also enjoy the best of both worlds as soon as things return to normal. This means you can run or attend a big meeting or attend a conference securely. As long as your employees are working in good faith, you’re allowed to let them work anywhere and when they want.

Flexibility or A Shorter Work Week?

It was predicted that flexible working would completely replace the office and that remote work would be the norm in the coming years.

The picture is starting to take shape now that we’ve had close to two years of it. There are some organisations, like Twitter and Facebook, which allow employees to work completely remotely. These companies are the exceptions. In many instances, hybrid working will be offered, and it is what staff will expect – making it an essential recruitment and retention strategy.

Take Unilever, for example. Nitin Paranjpe, the British multinational consumer goods company’s chief operating officer, says they interviewed its workforce about their preferences. In those discussions, it has gone beyond remote and flexible working to actually reducing workweeks.

Paranjpe said at a recent event that it is “very unlikely” the company will ever go back to a mandatory five days a week, reports Mint. If a company as big and globalised as Unilever can do it, anyone can.

Collaboration Built on Trust

It is very important to think about your HR metrics of success. An output-based philosophy could replace old metrics like reducing absenteeism. Take a look at the concept of trust-based working.

In other words, leaders evaluate their employees based on output, rather than time worked. Some studies have indicated that in many cases productivity has increased since remote working became popular. It may seem counterintuitive to those accustomed to the old ways of doing things – but they will likely lead to the future of work.

At the end of the day, you must always focus on what provides your employees with what they need to do good work – since what benefits them, ultimately benefits the business.

Put simply, flexible working is the future of work and it’s here to stay.

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