Hybrid working is a term used to describe a policy where employees can spend their working time between offices and remote locations, such as their home. Also known as blended working, employees have flexibility around where they work on any given day and can do so seamlessly without impacting their productivity or other aspects of their working lives.
Hybrid working models either set certain days for office working or allow employees total freedom over their schedule. Setting guidelines and implementing an effective hybrid working policy is essential so that employees know their expectations when working within this model.
40% of UK employees want the ability to work from home - yougov.co.uk
Why is hybrid working being adopted?
The hybrid working model has existed for as long as the remote working concept has, but the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the attitudes of employees, and companies need to adapt the way they work to allow for this shift.
91% of employees who did not work remotely before the pandemic now desire the ability to do so in the future, with hybrid working among one of the most suggested ways to achieve this without sacrificing time in the workplace.
Understanding the mechanics of hybrid working
Adopting a hybrid working model can present many challenges if not approached correctly. While hybrid working offers many benefits to employees and employers, there are associated risks that need to be considered to help set rules and implement practices to reduce the chance of problems arising.
Hybrid working benefits
The benefits of hybrid working are unique to every business and the employees that make up the workforce, but hybrid working will commonly:
- Allow employees flexibility over their work/life schedule, improving their quality of life and job satisfaction
- Empower employees to make their own decisions about their most effective working environment
- Reduce the requirement for office space or typical office layouts, lowering the cost for facilities
- Improve the mental wellbeing of employees, which helps them to stay productive and satisfied in their role
- Solve the issue of some employees demanding remote working while others wish to work in an office environment
- Allow employees more freedom over where they live geographically
- Encourage physical interaction between employees, helping to retain team cohesion
- Improve staff retention and ability to attract skilled employees due to the benefits for employees associated with hybrid working
- Streamline communications such as meetings and reduce the time spent by employees conversing
Hybrid working challenges
The challenges of hybrid working can often be offset with a comprehensive policy, but some of the challenges to be aware of are:
- Calculating office requirements, such as space and equipment can be difficult if footfall is unknown
- It relies on employees to make the right decisions and being transparent about where they work best
- Employees can experience burnout if they do not alternate between remote and office working environments
- Communication between immediate and wider team members can be hindered, slowing down processes and productivity
- Team cohesion and togetherness may get lost if some employees spend too little time together
- Fewer touchpoints between team members means any problems that arise in your business aren’t dealt with as quickly
- Technology and software requirements may be an expensive outlay if your current setup cannot be adapted easily
- Employees who are not experienced with certain technologies of software may be less productive
- Reverting from a hybrid working system could be difficult once implemented
- Employee costs for home working need to be considered for accounting purposes and can be difficult to calculate
- Aspects of a business may not be ready for a hybrid solution, and many new processes and solutions need to be adopted
Requirements for hybrid working
A hybrid working model should only be introduced once a formal policy has been created. This policy will set out the rules and expectations, and it will uncover any requirements needed to support the new policy, such as software and equipment.
Hybrid working policy
Your hybrid working policy should set all of the expectations and rules for employees so that they understand how they’re meant to work moving forward. Including employees in this decision-making process can help HR departments to create a policy that is best suited to their workforce, and some common inclusions are:
- A definition of hybrid working, to help employees understand what this means in their company
- The roles or departments that are eligible for hybrid working and the rules specific to their team
- Criteria for employees choosing where they work, such as set days in the office, or total freedom for employees
- Whether there are circumstances that employees can be called into the office at short notice
- Safe working measures for home working, such as ergonomic workspaces and safe online practices
- Start and finish times for employees, and whether these are set or flexible
- Guidance on how the company expects employees to work remotely, such as their working pattern, communication, data protection and technological requirements
- Any training that needs to be completed before hybrid working can begin
- Who to contact in the event of an emergency or needing help, such as negative wellbeing
Your hybrid working policy should also uncover the equipment and software needed to support the processes being brought in, and employees must be equipped with the tools they need for hybrid working to be effective.
Transitioning to hybrid working will bring about new equipment requirements, both for the office and remote working environment. It is up to employers to handle this, such as providing their workforce with an allowance for equipment, or sourcing items and distributing themselves. Some of the most important equipment needed for hybrid working are:
- Ergonomic chair
- Laptop & desktop computers
- Monitors for devices
- Docking stations for the office
- Wires, adapters and ports
- VOIP phone solution
Software is essential for hybrid working to be effective. The software you use will often determine the processes you take, such as how you communicate, manage projects, access company mail and how you share files. The software required for hybrid working will vary from business to business, and in some instances, existing software can be adapted to support remote working. Here are some of the most common processes business will require software for:
- Instant messaging tools for internal communications
- Virtual meeting software for staff and client meetings
- Project and task management tools that can be accessed remotely
- Time tracking and management tools to record when people are working
- Programs that are required for employees to fulfil their role, such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Cloud products
- Software to help you receive, manage and respond to business post without the need of a physical mailroom.
- External communication tools to handle operations such as client meetings and physical mail
- File sharing services, such as cloud storage platforms Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive
UK Postbox & hybrid working
Our software can be utilised by businesses looking to adopt any remote working style. We remove the need for a person to physically collect, store and distribute business post, allowing your company to operate fully remotely once combined with other remote software. Here’s how it works:
- We’ll provide you with a virtual address for all of your business mail to be sent to
- Your post will arrive at our mail sorting facility, where we’ll scan your mail items and upload them to your account
- Via our desktop platform or mobile & tablet app, you can request the mail is opened and scanned, forwarded to another location, or stored for later use
- We offer integrations to platforms such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Evernote and Dropbox, making the transition to online post seamless
- More options are available within your account, such as asking us to send a letter on your behalf, or securely destroying sensitive mail
Business mail is one of the last forms of communication to be adopted in a digital way. Other forms of communication such as email, instant messaging and phone services can be accessed with an internet connection, but your post will always need to be physically received and managed.
By introducing an online mail management solution into your business operations, your team can access physical post from wherever they are, removing the need for a physical mailroom. We've been helping companies adopt remote mail management, and whatever your unique requirements, we can help to create a solution that works for your team.