Six ways to get to grips with hybrid working models

Resetting work patterns and the workplace for post-pandemic realities appears to be a popular option as far as the workforce is concerned. According to a recent study, 74 per cent of UK employees say that a mix of office-based and remote-working is the best way forward following COVID-19. But how will organisations ensure the hybrid working models they deploy work for everyone – and what changes in working practices will this usher in?

Richard Guy, Country Sales Manager UK & Ireland, Ergotron gives his six considerations for organisations looking to redefine their workplace strategies for the coming years.

  1. Rethink spaces for new ways of working

With more and more people working from home, office workspaces will need to be redefined in line with the more fluid needs of the hybrid workforce.

For example, some workers will want to come together in person every couple of weeks for planning or brainstorming meetings, while others will want to make connections with team members a couple of times a week. This means employees will need to book exactly the space they need, at the time they need it, for the type of work they plan to do. 

To accommodate these needs, organisations will need to flex their office spaces to suit a variety of in-person dynamics. That means replacing fixed desks and workstations with collaborative tables, breakout areas and furniture that facilitates a variety of creative working approaches in a less formal way.

  1. Establish new working norms in collaboration with employees

When defining what their new models of flexible working will look like, organisations will need to take into consideration the expectations of their workers. That includes how often individual employees want to work from home or in the office.

Workers are keen to revaluate the traditional nine-to-five working day considering new working modes. According to the study, 68 per cent of UK employees think set hours are no longer relevant to modern ways of working, believing that the emphasis should be on outcomes rather than hours worked.

  1. Nurture new leadership styles

For many organisations, the response to the pandemic impelled many leaders to unlock a more collaborative and cooperative culture that brought out the best in employees by giving them shared ownership of business-critical goals.

Going forward, leaders will need to guard against returning to hierarchical and siloed ways of working as the company positions itself to capitalise on more fluid onsite and remote working arrangements.

  1. Levelling the playing field for all

If employees are asked to continue to work entirely from home or for much of their working week, then those that lack adequate workspaces or ergonomic furniture will be at a disadvantage.

For some organisations, offering employees a stipend to help set up a permanent home office complete with appropriate seating and a desk is one way forward. Similarly, assessing the health and wellbeing of employees in their home office environment will also be a priority. According to the Health & Safety Executive, employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other worker, so organisations will need to find ways to virtually assess the home workstations of employees.

  1. Continuing to care

Initiating programmes that tackle the issues of burnout, anxiety, stress, and loneliness will be central to helping employees balance their work and home commitments. That includes finding ways to avoid or manage workplace conflicts or harmful team dynamics that can quickly escalate when everyone is working digitally.

  1. Mind the digital divide

Some personnel might have roles that mean they always or frequently will need to be in the office, while others will mostly be working remotely. That means some employees may miss out on in-person conversations and interactions that put them at a disadvantage or makes them feel excluded from key decisions and discussions.

One approach to co-managing the hybrid workforce may be to ensure that all team meetings are conducted virtually. By requiring office-based colleagues to log on from their desks, everyone is treated equally and can participate with full visibility of every comment and can contribute equally.

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