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  • Rachel Doyle

Should you be offering hybrid working or is it time to embrace fully remote?

What are some of the benefits that hybrid/ remote working has delivered?

Many businesses have adapted to new routines ranging from offering varying levels of hybrid working, from a couple of days at home a week to only needing to visit the office a few times a month. As we navigate this ‘new normal’, we walk through what working remotely has delivered for its employees. What is clear is that every organisation seems to be doing something different.

A chance to refocus when working remotely

Working remotely has ensured that meetings are now with purpose. People are sensitive to everyone's time and ensure that when they host meetings, they not only follow agenda, but that they generally run ontime. People are mindful that when face to face events take place, they don’t know when the next one may happen and because they know that they aren’t just going to see someone in the office, there is a greater purpose of making the most out of face to face meetings.

Hybrid / remote working has brought with it:

  • No more meetings for meetings sake

  • Reduced travelling for some

  • Greater environmental responsibility - less commuting, lower carbon footprint

  • A move away from fixed offices to sustainable co-working environments

  • A realisation that work can actually be delivered very effectively in a remote set up

What about culture?

Just because a team is working remotely, however many days a week that may be, it is still possible to embody a company’s culture. Company culture is upheld by the employees that work in those businesses and by working remotely it won’t suddenly fall apart. If your values are honesty, team spirit and trust, working remotely doesn’t stop any of those values. It is down to the people who are part of your business too and whether they are focussed on those values that your business upholds. By identifying candidates who are a cultural fit to your business, you will be finding those employees that will deliver the best for your business. Relationships can still be built remotely and whilst the coffee machine chats are not an option in the remote set up, you are still able to communicate virtually, through chat platforms and digital communications. So if you have recruited candidates that are strong at building relationships and working collaboratively, they will be able to deliver this whether they are working remotely or face to face.

Working fully remote - what the benefits might be for your employees

Pros of working fully remote

Working fully remote means no commute. Valuable time that was once lost travelling to get to and from work has now been replaced with a work life balance and flexibility. Employees find more time to exercise, spend time with family and/or friends and are more engaged in general. It does require discipline and a need to be able to focus on working effectively, however those employees that thrive in a remote work environment understand where they do their best work. Office environments are noisy and it can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle to concentrate and get through the work that you have to concentrate on.

On top of this, the move to fully remote working has a positive impact on some people’s mental health. Enabling them to be removed from toxic working environments as well as flexibility to access health appointments locally without having too great an impact on working time.

Benefits for employers

A more productive workforce, reduction in lost commuting time and you are now more attractive to talent who are searching for remote opportunities.

Cons of remote working:

The challenge lies for those employees who are at the early stages of their career. When you are on the bottom rung of the ladder, the office is a great place to build relationships, learn from other colleagues and just soak up the atmosphere. Sometimes you benefit from being able to hear conversations or being able to tag onto a call or a meeting. With a fully remote set up, those nuggets that you pickup in your first few years are challenging. Working remotely can be more challenging to establish relationships with colleagues. Missing out on that experience can make it more difficult to feel connected to a business or to know quite how to immerse yourself into it.

Furthermore, it doesn’t work for those employees that don’t have a suitable location to work from. Think house share, or small one bedroom apartments with limited space. Spending the majority of your day in the same location without a clear space that you can separate from once you have finished work can make it challenging.

For those employees that are impacted, having a more local satellite office or co-working space might be a good solution. There are many short term co-working solutions that have been created since the pandemic.

Finally, there is an increased risk of burnout due to negativity surrounding working from home. More recently two high profile business men, Elon Musk and Sir Alan Sugar, have denounced remote / flexible working by insinuating that people are work shy. Colleagues feel under pressure to over deliver and demonstrate that they are adding value rather than taking regular breaks.

Hybrid working

Pros of hybrid working

Face to face time is increased as you require your employees to be in the office more frequently. Meetings take place face to face and teams are visible together in the office. In terms of your employee’s work life balance, hybrid working offers up some level of flexibility throughout the week for employees and a reduction in the need to commute daily.

Cons of hybrid working

Despite there being a demand for employees to be in the office more, there are challenges as employees elect to work different days. So you won’t always have ???

Caregivers may choose to negotiate to work from home for more days to enable them to cover off their caring responsibilities. Here is the challenge, they may miss out on opportunities and their reduced visibility could see them overlooked for promotion or opportunities to take on new projects.

Hybrid is quite vague as to what it means, what exactly it involves and how many days you can expect to work in the office / from home. Due to this, it can be confusing for employees to know the expectations and there is a risk that the policy is reversed, or that a new manager comes in, who wants to see you in the office at least 4 days a week.

In order to attract talent, there should be a choice to employees of either remote or access to a sustainable co-working space. On top of this, if there is a need to attend in person meetings, these expectations should be clarified early on so that this is understood.

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