Creating an Effective Hybrid Working Policy

Creating an Effective Hybrid Working Policy

When you’re creating a hybrid working policy there are 7 components you’ll want to consider. We’ll explore these later. This blog holds key considerations for HR managers and business leaders from hybrid working statistics and HR trends. Plus download a free resource for assessing a job role for hybrid working and more on the pros and cons for businesses.

What HR leaders need to know about hybrid working in 2024

The world of work is evolving at an incredibly fast pace. With new workplace, leadership and HR trends such as AI being key talking points for the future of work. Through all this, what’s clear is that the hybrid working model remains a prevalent part of a job’s overall offering. Boosting other employee benefits and perks.

Establishing an effective hybrid working policy is crucial. Especially as HR Managers, L&D professionals and business leaders continue to adapt to this evolving landscape.

How often should HR policies be updated?

It’s important to review your HR policies annually (and whenever change occurs in your business) but this year is particularly important. With the Flexible Working Bill 2024 making waves, now is the perfect time to assess and refine your hybrid working strategy.

Making decisions on this for your HR and hiring strategies isn’t easy. Whilst some leading organisations are ordering a return to the office, others are branching out in creative ways. Enhancing their flexible working policies to boost their talent acquisition strategies and reduce employee turnover.

The Rise of Hybrid Working and Current Statistics

Hybrid working has revolutionised the world of work since rates exploded in response to the pandemic. Many employees and employers are experiencing higher productivity and job satisfaction as a result. However there are big variations in these positives dependent on factors such as sector, market pressures and team culture.

So what do the figures tell us about hybrid working amongst UK workers now?

How many UK workers benefit from hybrid working?

Around 40% of the UK workforce work from home at least some of the time:

  • Fully remote working – 10%
  • Hybrid working – 39% (29% work from home a bit, 10% don’t but have the option)
  • Unable to work from home – 39%
  • Not in employment – 12%

Which day do people work from home the most?

People are most likely to work from home on a Tuesday (67%) followed closely by a Friday (65%). Mondays are often a day which sets the tone for the week (making Tuesday a more desirable day for remote working). Whereas Friday can often attract extra traffic due to weekly commuters and holidaymakers and therefore this can be a desirable day to work from home.

How many UK companies offer hybrid work?

74% of UK companies offer some form of hybrid working. With technology and financial sectors being most likely to offer this (at 85% and 78% respectively).

Is hybrid working an important job consideration to UK Workers?

Hybrid working is still a very important consideration for people looking for new jobs or deciding whether to stay in their current roles. 68% of employees prefer hybrid working with a further 28% preferring fully remote working. This leaves just 8% who prefer to work in the office full-time.

How has hybrid working impacted company culture?

Hybrid working has improved team productivity in some companies, especially those making use of technology for L&D (learning and development) and team communication. However, this has caused negative impacts on company culture in many business including reducing the positive effects of social copying.

Hybrid working can make mentorship & collaboration more difficult (impacting on observational learning and vicarious learning, both of which thrive on face-to-face interaction.)

Understanding the Flexible Working Bill 2024

HR legislation changes have protected employee rights regarding requesting flexible working from day 1. Therefore, it is imperative that you create robust hybrid working policies which offer fairness and transparency. These HR policies must balance the needs of both employees and your organisation too. This is particularly important with the recent tweaks to the Equality Act which now includes indirect discrimination.

So how do you create an effective hybrid working policy?

Hybrid Working Policy: What To Include

Here’s 7 components which should be included in your hybrid working policy. This policy may vary depending on whether your organisation is a start-up, SME or a multinational organisation. Also consider the needs and norms of your sector and external and internal stakeholders who may be impacted by your chosen policies.

Eligibility Criteria

Define which job roles are suitable for hybrid working and the criteria for eligibility. Download our free resource, at the end of this article, to help you to effectively assess if individual job roles are right for hybrid working.

Work Schedule

Specify the number of days employees are expected to work from the office versus remotely. Mandatory days and expectations should be made clear during the hiring process wherever possible. This includes in job ads, interviews and job contracts to avoid misunderstandings and reduce employee turnover. 33% of people leave their job within 6 months, significantly increasing hiring and training costs and impacting on productivity and team cohesion.

What’s more ensure that any changes to hybrid working rules are communicated clearly across the company especially if new return to the office measures are introduced. This is important for two reasons:

  1. It needs to matter to them – If employees believe the move is about presenteeism they will be reluctant to comply. They may feel betrayed or resentful feeling they aren’t trusted or feel a sense of loss. Extra commuting time will impact their work-life balance and adds travel costs. Therefore, you need make these changes matter on an individual level, in the same way as when you’re getting buy-in for new organisational goals.

2) Clarity is critical – If the rules aren’t clear then compliance will be low and may lead to HR scenarios, such a disciplinary procedures. It can also cause workplace conflict from employee relations (for example between managers enforcing the rules and direct reports).

Core Hours

Do you operate on a 9-5 basis? Or do you allow for asynchronous hours, with or without core hours?

For example, do you expect employees to work between 10-2pm each day (to support customers), on a 35-hour contract with start and finish times? In addition, you may wish to put safeguards in place. For example no working between 11pm-5am to prevent burnout.

To go further you may consider setting expectations for out of office hour communications. For example stating that if emails are sent after 5pm employees aren’t expected to respond until at least 9am the next day.

These considerations will depend on the needs of the business and you’ll want to consider accommodations too. These include for neurodivergent staff or to support employees with menopausal symptoms.

Communication and Technology Protocols

Establish clear guidelines for communication, including the use of digital tools and expected response times. This is important for building trust with customers and trust within teams.

Performance Metrics

Set measurable performance indicators to ensure productivity and accountability. It’s important to analyse this regularly. You may find hybrid working is effective and that you could expand this further. Alternatively, you may find remote working has a detrimental effect on productivity and innovation.

Health and Safety

Address ergonomic considerations and mental health support for remote workers. Just because your employees are working from home doesn’t always mean it’s ‘safe.’ Lone working, DSE and wellbeing support are all examples of factors in remote working which your HR team should be aware of.

IT, AI and Security

Implement robust IT support and cybersecurity measures to protect company data. In addition, as AI continues to infiltrate the workplace consider how this can improve efficiency. It’s important to put safeguards in place for AI, for example regarding the fact that AI can be inaccurate.

For custom advice on your HR policies speak to our responsive HR team.

Topical Hybrid Working Trends in 2024

The hybrid working debate rages on with several emerging trends regarding how companies are sharing and implementing their hybrid working policies:

  • Office Attendance and Performance Reviews –  Some organisations, including a leading firm in the legal sector, are starting to use office attendance as a factor in performance reviews. It remains to be seen if this trend will be adopted by other companies.
  • Tech-Enhanced Workspaces – Companies are investing in technology to create seamless hybrid work environments. Including virtual collaboration tools, blended learning for L&D (using technology to improve learning) and AI-driven productivity software.
  • Employee Well-being Focus – There is an increasing emphasis on mental health and well-being, with companies offering more robust support systems for remote workers to prevent burnout and isolation.
  • Office-centric workforce strategy clashes – According to Gartner many leaders feel a return to the office is the only way to promote productivity, visibility and loyalty. However, the business consultancy gives a word of caution to organisations who dismiss to benefits of hybrid working too quickly.

Many business leaders still consider hybrid working to be a risk with 69% of business leaders worried about collaboration, company culture, creativity and engagement. Meanwhile 54% of HR leaders believing their employees are less connected to their organisations than before the pandemic.

What’s more people are more reluctant to move than at the height of the great resignation. This is partially due to the cost-of-living crisis (and financial stress) and economic instability. This means some organisations are becoming bolder about return to the office mandates.

Levelling the playing field for gender equality…or is it?

Workplace Insight found that flexible working means more women are being promoted into senior management roles. This is helping with the gender pay gap. A recent study concluded this gap would take 45 years to close! The effect is even closing the diversity gap too and making some workplaces more inclusive.

On the other hand companies which favour in-person work many be causing a disadvantage to women. Women are more likely to take on childcare responsibilities making them less likely to progress at work.

In conclusion, in a world where hybrid working is the norm, a well-defined HR policy for this is imperative. By understanding the key elements and leveraging resources like our downloadable guide, HR professionals and business leaders can create a flexible, productive, and satisfied workforce.

Ready to optimise your hybrid working strategy? Download our free resource now and take the first step towards a more flexible and productive workplace!

Download Our Resource: “How to Assess a Job Role for Hybrid Working”

To support HR managers and business leaders in implementing effective hybrid working policies, we’ve developed a quick guide resource:

“How to Assess a Job Role for Hybrid Working” taking inspiration from CIPD.

This guide will help you determine whether a new hire can effectively perform their duties in a hybrid setting, ensuring both employee satisfaction and operational efficiency.

Download the “How to Assess a Job Role for Hybrid Working” guide today by emailing us and we’ll send it over shortly 🙂

Get Your Free Download – Hybrid Working Assessment for a Job Role

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    Please note that the information in this blog was created based on the integrity of reputable links at the time of publishing. These blogs should be used for guidance only, you should always check information further before taking action as sources may update over time. Talk Staff holds no responsibility for implementation or loss but can provide HR support and advice based on your custom business needs.

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