The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has produced new guidance for employers on hybrid working in collaboration with members of the government's Flexible Working Taskforce.
What is hybrid working?
Hybrid working is a form of flexible working where workers spend some of their time working remotely and some of their time working in their employer's workspace. Hybrid working allows employees more flexibility to work where they want and can be undertaken in conjunction with other forms of flexible working including time flexibility.
Why introduce hybrid working?
COVID-19 has greatly impacted working life and brought hybrid working into mainstream conversation in the UK. An ACAS poll found that over half of employers in Great Britain expect an increase in staff working from home or remotely part of the week after the country comes out of the pandemic.
Although some workers were working remotely prior to March 2020, the extended period of enforced homeworking during the pandemic has led to a considerable interest in hybrid working. Employers recognise the benefits of hybrid working, including a better work / life balance, a greater ability to focus with fewer distractions, more time for family and friends, saved commuting time and costs and higher levels of motivation.
Employers have a responsibility for the health and wellbeing of their employees and the opportunities from hybrid working may promote such wellbeing. With rising interest amongst workers for continued flexible working, offering hybrid working could be key in attracting new talent.
What does the CIPD guidance say?
The guidance supplements the ACAS advice previously given on hybrid working. The guidance suggests that organisations looking to implement hybrid working should:
- begin by defining what hybrid working would mean in their circumstances;
- take into account strategic goals and input from workers;
- consider how to recruit and manage hybrid workers effectively;
- pay attention to ensuring that hybrid working policies are fair and inclusive to avoid any unintended potentially discriminatory consequences;
- provide training to managers, review HR processes, and undertake ongoing listening exercises with employees.
The guidance reminds employers that hybrid working continues to evolve and they should be constantly reviewing and developing their approach towards flexible working.
How can an employer effectively implement hybrid working?
As stressed in the guidance, organisations need to work out how hybrid working will work in their context. It is then advisable for employers to:
- consult with staff on the practical considerations regarding introducing hybrid working;
- support and manage workers who are hybrid working and ensure all hybrid workers are treated fairly;
- think about the design of jobs and the structure of weekly or daily tasks then reflect on what needs to change in terms of systems, processes or activities to support hybrid work;
- create a hybrid working policy;
- handle hybrid working requests from staff.
Hybrid working is a largely new and untested concept so organisations should be prepared to adapt their approach.