23 September 2021
Five reasons why employers are embracing hybrid working
There was a near audible grumble across the UK from workers when the Government announced that it was safe to return to the office. For many, we’d grown too used to the freedoms offered by remote working to give it up completely.
As such, more and more businesses are turning to a hybrid model, where employees split their time between the office and working remotely. As The BBC reports: “In the UK, employers expect the proportion of regular home workers to double, from 18% pre-pandemic to 37% post-pandemic.” But just what are the advantages of this from a business perspective?
1. Increased productivity
In days of old many bosses assumed that permitting employees to work from home was a recipe for disaster, with simply too many distractions and opportunities to skive outside of the office. But in fact, many organisations over the pandemic found that productivity increased with a remote workforce.
Without the stress and strains of the daily commute, employees have more energy to focus on their job, and the time they save gives them more opportunities for exercise, leisure, and family time. Of course, there are certain jobs, discussions and matters that are best dealt with as a physical team or done in the office. But the beauty of the hybrid model is that it permits this also.
2. Mental health
Employers are becoming acutely aware of the duty of care they hold in supporting employee mental health in the workplace. There is increasing evidence that remote working has numerous positive effects on mental wellbeing: as an Envoy and Wakefield Research report states “34% (of workers) said hybrid working would improve their mental health, and for those currently working from home all the time, that percentage increased to 50%.”
However, the major downfall of an exclusively remote working model is the danger of employees beginning to feel isolated and lonely – one of the strengths of hybrid working is the fact that employees will still engage face-to-face with their colleagues on a weekly basis. This also enables managers, HR, and mental health first aiders to check in with people more easily and identify if anyone is struggling in any way.
3. Wider recruitment pools
In a traditional 9-5 office-based model the talent pool which a business can recruit from is restricted. While you might be able to attract some go-getters to relocate to work for you, this is costly, and many are becoming less willing to uproot their families for a job.
A hybrid model increases appeal to workers from further afield. While someone a 2-hour drive away from the office is unlikely to take a job if they must do it every day, as this would result in a whopping 20 hours of commuting a week. Whereas if they only need to come in for two days, the job will seem far more appetising.
4. Asynchronous working
Another advantage to hybrid working is that it creates some scope for asynchronous working, which in turn can boost productivity. If staff are confined 9-5:30 in the office it creates a culture where they work solidly for that time, and don’t work at any other point, even if it doesn’t make logical sense to work in such a way: e.g. if they’re waiting on someone to provide them with data, they need to complete a job.
Remote working grants employees with a bit more flexibility, so they can more easily nip out for an hour if they need to (and their workload permits) and work an hour longer when they return. While this of course doesn’t work for all roles – such as call-centre based work – for many it does and granting the employees with the autonomy to work in such a way allows them to focus better, increases efficiency, and loyalty too.
5. Retaining talent
Finally, perhaps one of the key reasons that employers are turning to hybrid working is because people are starting to demand it. Offering it not only helps businesses attract talent, but it helps to retain people. Wakefield’s report found that 55% of respondents said they’d look for another job if their employer didn’t offer hybrid working.