Employers should engage with staff, managers, trade unions and employee representatives to understand the early lessons of hybrid working if they want to implement successful office-home arrangements, new guidance has said.
The government’s Flexible Working Taskforce – which includes representatives from organisations including the CIPD, Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the British Chambers of Commerce and Working Families, among others – has published practical guidance aimed at helping employers develop fair and sustainable hybrid practices.
It suggests that well-managed bybrid working practices will help organisations attract and retain staff, as well as support wellbeing, performance and inclusion.
Just 28% of employees feel that current hybrid working models suit their preferences, according to a recent survey by law firm Littler. Asked about the benefits hybrid might bring, 34% of employers felt it would improve productivity.
CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese, co-chair of the Flexible Working Taskforce, said: “Many employers are considering how to implement hybrid working and this new guidance provides practical tips on how to do this successfully.
“We know there is great appetite from employees to have more say over where and how they work and organisations that provide fair and inclusive hybrid working practices will reap the benefits by attracting and retaining talent and increased wellbeing and engagement which in turn can drive productivity.”
Ann Francke, chief executive of the CMI, said it was unsurprising that many employees and employers wanted hybrid working to stay as the pandemic subsides.
“CMI’s own research highlighted the very real appetite amongst the UK workforce for a more flexible approach to how they work, but implementing new policies and getting the balance right is often a challenge for managers,” she said.
“For many managers, introducing hybrid working is uncharted territory. This new employer guidance will be a huge help to them in working out and implement best-fit working practices. Getting it right will mean they have happier, more productive, more loyal teams – and a healthier business – as a result.”
The guidance, which is designed to complement earlier guidance from Acas, urges employers to:
- Train to managers on how to manage hybrid teams effectively and support hybrid workers, including performance management, remote communication, collaboration and relationship building
- Review HR processes and procedures across the whole employee lifecycle to ensure they support hybrid working in practice and enable inclusion and wellbeing
- Undertake ongoing listening activity with employees, managers and employee representatives to understand the early lessons of hybrid and whether it is delivering anticipated benefits to individuals and the organisation
- Keep hybrid working policies under ongoing review, and continue to monitor the impact it has on workers with protected characteristics, ensuring that action is taken to address any negative or unintended outcomes
- Being mindful that some employees might prefer flexibility in their working schedules.
The guidance notes that it is important for organisations to define what hybrid means for them specifically, taking account of organisational or strategic goals and including input from the workforce on both the organisational considerations and potential benefits to workers.