After working remotely for so long, many organisations are wondering how to reincorporate office working. Should we go ‘back to normal’ or embrace hybrid working: office working combined with working from home or elsewhere?
Researchers from Vlerick Business School have outlined five advantages of hybrid working.
1) Huge competitive advantage in hiring talent
Hybrid working gives your organisation a significant advantage in securing talent by widening the pool of applicants you can hire from. While potential applicants have previously been restricted by commuting distance, this no longer applies. Access to a broader talent pool also fosters increased diversity and inclusion in companies.
Professor de Stobbeleir said, “Flexibility in working location and hours is good for your employer branding as younger employees want more control in this area. Employees in other phases of life, such as young parents or caregivers, will also embrace the chance to work from home.”
2) Hybrid working contributes towards an organisation’s sustainability goals
Hybrid working can make a significant contribution to CO2 reduction as employees travel less frequently between their home and work office. If they do have to go into the office, they can be flexible with when they work and therefore when they travel. The organisation is then contributing to sustainability goals and your employees benefit as well.
3) There are cost-saving implications
If a large number of your employees are working from a different location, the company office can start to feel like an unnecessary expenditure. In this case, moving to a cheaper, smaller office or building to use as more of meeting space can be a smarter choice financially.
4) Increased productivity
Previous research has found that working from home can increase work output. Professor Vanderheyden said, “Assuming home working conditions are suitable, the employee will be able to focus better than in an average office. There is more focus on the job at hand and there are fewer disruptions than in the office. Many companies indicate that working partly at home increased productivity both qualitatively and quantitatively, and employees get more done in the same time than before.”
5) Energise employees
Hybrid work allows employees to fit working with their personality and stage in life. One person might thrive off social interaction every day, while another prefers to isolate themselves while working. By offering that choice, employees have more control over the place, time, and manner in which they work and will experience less stress. They will also have more opportunities to relax while working, resulting in lower absenteeism.
Hybrid working can be successfully introduced into your organisation with guidelines rather than rigid rules. Discussing when home working can be employed and standards of work to be met avoids misunderstandings and feelings of too much obligation. You should also consider a short- and long-term strategy for how hybrid working will take place. Different needs may arise in terms of staffing, job content, or talents. It’s a good idea to prepare for this in advance. Give yourself the freedom to evaluate your strategy regularly and adjust it where necessary on the basis of your experiences.
Jennifer Gaster, Founder and Director of HR recruitment agency HR Heads said, “There are clear benefits to the increased approach to hybrid working that many organisations have adopted as a direct result of the pandemic and quite often these new approaches have fallen on HR teams to introduce and implement.
“The first advantage Vlerick Business School identify is probably the greatest benefit when it comes to widening the talent pool, and many HR professionals are now making career choices based on the flexibility the role offers.
“Hybrid working is here to stay and the benefits, as outlined in this research, are obvious.”