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Hybrid Flexible Working

Why Hybrid Flexible Working is a Friend to Businesses

Like so many other elements of our lives, the Covid-19 pandemic has created or accelerated different ways of doing things. And in the world of work, one of the obvious changes was the massive shift to working from home.

This has generated a new trend in staff management practices: hybrid flexible working. As restrictions around the world continue to loosen and tighten with the flow of the virus, companies are attempting to find ways to tweak their flexible working policies to keep staff motivated and productive.

If anyone is in any doubt as to the increasing importance of flexible working, a large multi-continent report by Microsoft in 2021 states that over 70% of workers want flexible working practices to continue.


What's different about hybrid flexible working?

Hybrid working is a flexible working model that gives staff some choice as to where they work. This generally translates to a combination of working from home and working in the office.

What's interesting is that, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, UK companies generally expect the number of people working from home to double. And in certain industries, this will result in attraction and selection issues, with talented people looking for flexibility as part of the benefits package.

While there are undoubtedly challenges with working from home (with technology probably being at the top of the list), there are clear benefits for organisations who take the time to understand what their staff need.

  • It democratises opportunity. People with great ideas and creativity who can't work in the office all of the time can apply for jobs in your company and contribute to the team.
  • It has the potential to increase productivity. So long as companies offer the right support and practical solutions, the concentration you can enjoy at home and the social aspect of the office will improve motivation and effort.
  • It offers better wellbeing across workers' lives. While there can be problems with isolation and spending more hours in front of a screen, the wellbeing benefits of being able to visit someone in hospital or picking the kids up from school shouldn't be underestimated.



Getting hybrid flexible working right

In creative sectors like fashion, the first priority is to examine the practicalities of flexible working in key business activities like design, product development, and buying. Analysis of the opportunities that will be created, how much control there should be and educating staff on how the system will work are important to ensure that productivity isn't compromised.

The second key point is to talk to staff. If they are included, they are more likely to be realistic about what flexible working means for the core parts of the organisation's business activities.

To devise a system that works for everyone, you may wish to look at the following questions to frame any flexible working model that you are considering:

  • Are staff able to create and design to the same extent at home? If not, are there easy answers to overcome these hurdles?
  • Can core slots in the working week be devised to allow staff to get together to work and create?
  • Does the technology used by staff at home support informal interactions that promote learning and collaboration?
  • Is it possible to gather data on time spent on location-specific jobs such as photoshoots or factory production (if production is in-house) to inform the flexible working model?
  • How does flexible working fit in with the huge shift to online buying?  

With the investment of some structure and thought, hybrid flexible working models have the potential to offer business benefits to companies and increased job satisfaction to workforces.

To help with remote onboarding new employees in a hybrid flexible model, request a free, digital copy of our Remote Onboarding Guide by emailing us here.