Business Leader received some advice for business owners ahead of their anticipated return to the workplace from Alan Price, CEO of BrightHR. He shared his five important things to consider if you are looking at introducing a ‘hybrid workplace’.
A recent survey by the British Council for Offices shows that participants favoured not only working from the office but also from home, creating a “hybrid” working arrangement which could soon take the spotlight from traditional working norms. Before making the shift to hybrid working, here are five things employers need to think about.
A hybrid working arrangement may not already be covered under existing policies, so you will need to actively think about how this arrangement will impact on the effectiveness of existing policies. This means that a new type of working arrangement may call for new policies or the revision of existing policies. The policies you may need to create or revise range from disciplinary and grievance to IT and employee monitoring.
Where existing staff are concerned, it may be difficult to change their employment contracts without their agreement – depending on what the contracts state about this. It is crucial that you are checking staff contracts before moving them to a permanent hybrid working arrangement. Otherwise, this may give rise to a breach of contract claims. For new hires, hybrid working can be incorporated into their contracts, if necessary, from the start of their employment.
Employers have a duty of care towards their staff and must ensure that the working environment is safe while they are in the office. This should remain a priority for hybrid staff, as is it for staff fully situated in the workplace and ensuring that they are given support for any mental health issues they may be facing. This support should be accessible both in the workplace and at home.
- Managing teams
It is important to maintain communication with hybrid staff while they are working from home. This can be achieved by holding regular weekly/daily meetings with them either in person or remotely. Most importantly, to determine the arrangement’s effectiveness, staff should be given clear targets to work towards, which can be evaluated during these regular meetings.
- Training and development
Staff and managers should be well-equipped to transition to hybrid working and know what to expect from it. Training is also crucial to promote the successful delivery of their roles from two (or multiple) locations.
Hybrid working is not a legal obligation on employers, but those who wish to accept it should ensure that the mechanisms in place encourage its success for both their business and staff.