The coronavirus pandemic brought about huge changes in the way we work, and as restrictions lift, we have a unique opportunity to build workplaces which put employee wellbeing at the forefront. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a recent YouGov poll commission by Acas found that 55% of British employers expect an increase in staff working remotely or working from home at least part of the week.
Hybrid working typically refers to a mixture of workplace/office-based working and remote working, either from home or another office hub, and it looks like it is here to stay.
There are many benefits to hybrid working with employees reporting a better work-life balance, more leisure time (from not having to commute) and improved job satisfaction. In turn, this can improve employee retention and reduce business costs for your organisation.
But with hybrid working set to become the norm, how can we ensure that we are looking after the needs of all of our employees when we may only see them some of the time?
First of all, make sure you are clear with your staff on what you mean by hybrid working. You may wish to consult with them on what tasks they think are best done in the office, and which ones are better performed at home.
Manage their expectations about how many days they will be expected to be in the office, and what technology or IT equipment you are likely to be able to provide. This can help prevent confusion and disputes further down the road.
Loneliness and isolation have a huge impact on our mental health, and we know that this has been a big struggle for many employees throughout the pandemic. As you move into hybrid ways of working, make sure it remains easy for employees to connect with one another. You may want to consider team days where everyone can be in the office together to catch up and work on a project, book in some team lunches and regular calls for when employees are working remotely.
Encourage your team to be creative and come up with solutions that work for them - remember, one size doesn’t fit all!
Managing in a remote or hybrid working environment is different to managing people face to face. Consider offering some additional training to line managers around mental health and wellbeing to help them rise to the challenge. Our eLearning course for line managers can be completed from anywhere and only takes 1.5 hours to complete. Encourage line managers to check in with their employees face to face where they can, and to remember to ask how they’re doing when they are working from home.
Whether you work in the office, are an entirely remote organisation or have a hybrid working arrangement, always make sure you make time to check in with your staff on how they are doing. You can conduct staff surveys, ask line managers to check in with their staff and encourage a culture where people feel they can speak up if they are struggling with their mental health.