Research has shown that, post-pandemic, most employees want to retain the flexibility of remote working, while also enjoying the collaborative benefits of office work by coming in for one or more days a week. Adopting this approach, known as “hybrid working,” offers companies the best chance of attracting and retaining talent in the years to come. Hybrid working may also allow organisations to save money on office space, improve employees’ wellbeing, and strengthen inclusivity.
However, the transition to hybrid working is a significant challenge across every function, including HR. Let’s look at the process.
What exactly does hybrid working involve?
The optimal hybrid model will look different at every organisation. To give just one example, some companies may give workers the freedom to set their own office days, while others might rotate teams so that every employee has a set day or days when they come in to collaborate with their closest colleagues. The first of these options offers workers more flexibility and autonomy. The second option creates more opportunities for creativity and culture-building.
Neither option is “better”: the choice depends on organisational needs. Nor does the same approach have to be implemented across a whole organisation. Different teams may have different optimal arrangements.
So the first step on the road to successful hybrid working is broad agreement on what the parameters of the new working model need to be, and on what success looks like. Managers from across the organisation need to be involved in agreeing this vision.
What are the key challenges?
The key challenges to a successful transition which every organisation will face are communication and parity.
Communication is a challenge because with employees working different schedules or in different locations, information can easily get siloed, even within teams. Centralising knowledge is vital to overcoming this challenge. Digital tools, like cloud-based collaboration platforms, are helpful with this.
Parity is an even greater challenge because it can be harder to monitor. When different employees have different working arrangements, there’s a danger that some individuals or teams end up with less access to management, and as a result to resources and opportunities.
Successful hybrid companies address this challenge by adopting “remote-first” practices. A good example is holding meetings over video call even when some (or most) of the team are in the office.
The role of training
Some employees will inevitably find the transition to hybrid working challenging. Training plays a vital role in helping workers acclimatise to a radically different vision of work.
At Real Projects, we’ve developed training courses in hybrid working best practice for organisations of every size, calibrated for employees at every level. Using an engaging variety of tools and formats, our courses deliver key training across a range of topics from hybrid time management to running hybrid meetings. We can also help you to adapt your own training materials as elearning courses. To find out more, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01603 273918