If one thing’s for sure, it’s that flexible working is here to stay. The pandemic has impacted how we think about work, especially where we work.
Rather than being a place teams have to go to every day, the office is now seen more as a place to collaborate, socialise, be creative, and offer a dedicated workspace away from home for people who don’t have a good set-up.
The solution may be ‘hybrid working’; a term that describes splitting time between the office and remote work. It isn’t a completely new model, but it’s been accelerated by the pandemic and the acknowledgment that some types of work can be done just as successfully from home.
A hybrid working model allows employees to work flexibly, without sacrificing the opportunity for teams to collaborate and socialise. For many, hybrid working offers the best of both worlds – in fact, throughout this year, we’ve seen many of our members adopt it, using their office 3 days a week on average. To tap into hybrid working, many businesses are turning to more flexible workspace solutions, such as coworking or managed offices, instead of inflexible long-term leases.
In what’s still a changing world of work, the best thing about hybrid working is its flexibility. There are many different approaches; for some businesses, it might be mandatory for employees to come in 3 set days each week, while others will make it entirely employee-led. It’s all about deciding what’s best for you, your business, and your team.
Hybrid working model examples
Hybrid working can be adapted to suit your company, but if it’s not something you’ve explored before, it’s worth reading up on other approaches. Here are some examples of what a hybrid model could look like:
- Small business with 10 employees, who are all based within commuting distance
- The team can feasibly work from home, but benefit from spending time together in the office too
- Management ask the team to come into their office on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week, Tuesday and Friday are optional but the office is open
- Their office can allocate 10 people, so there is no need to rotate teams
- On days spent in the office, they go for team lunch weekly, and organise meetings so they are in person, not virtual
- They choose to work in a coworking space for the perks and social events, enabling them to network with other companies
- Small business of 20 employees, based in two locations
- The team can feasibly work from home, and because they are spread quite far apart, are used to communicating virtually
- They choose a coworking space with several locations so that their team have access to workspace nearby
- Their strategy is employee-led; the team can use the space or work remotely whenever suits them
- The only exception is that they have bi-weekly meetings with the whole team at one of the locations
- Medium-sized business of 65 employees, most are based within commuting distance
- The team can work from home feasibly but benefit from spending time together in the office
- Not everyone can easily get to the office and so some prefer working remotely
- They occupy an office in a coworking space for 30 people
- Leadership decide to leave it up to individual team leaders to decide how often their team should come in, and complete a weekly sheet to ensure there are not too many people in the office at one time
- On average, employees visit the office twice per week
- On days spent in the office, they organise all team catch-ups and meetings
- Large business of 500 people based all around the world
- A smaller team of 45 are based in the UK and generally prefer to work in person
- Company chooses an office for 20 people, and also supplies hot desking passes so that no-one is without a workspace if they would like to use one
- The UK team organise regular socials and monthly all-hands in-person to bring the team together
Creating a hybrid working strategy
So, you’re all on board for hybrid working… now what? With so many different approaches, it’s important to think through your strategy before launching into it. As a starting point:
- Survey your employees – Before you even begin creating a hybrid working strategy, find out what your team want. It’s important to take feedback into account and not make any assumptions – while studies show that employees favour hybrid working, it could be more – or less – so for your team.
- Evaluate your workspace – You may already have an office in place from pre-pandemic. If not, it’s worth thinking about the type of space that will best suit your needs. Consider:- How many employees are you likely to have in the office at any given time, and what would be maximum capacity?
– Do you need to have a dedicated desk for every employee, or can they move around? (This could help you save space)
– Would every employee be there for the whole day, or could you have one desk serve two members of staff, one in the morning and one in the afternoon?
– Do your team have all the equipment and support they need to work in the office and/or remotely?
- Confirm your policy – Do you know that you want the team in the office on certain days, or is this up to each department? Or, is it up to each employee? Whichever route you decide, you need to make your policy clear. If you’re setting a whole-company rule to come in 3 days per week, which days? If it’s up to each department, is everyone clear on how to manage this so you don’t overfill your office? If it’s employee-driven, are there any days they do need to be in that must be communicated?
- Be transparent – We’re still living in uncertain times, so communication is absolutely key. Make sure your employees know when they have to be in the office, and who will be there. Keep them updated with any changes.
- Create feedback loops – Hybrid working is brand new to most businesses, so keep getting feedback from staff, department leaders and senior management on whether they think your policy is working. Take their feedback into account and keep iterating your policy until you have a strategy that works for you.