Hybrid working - the “new normal”

Stacey Clark
February 24 2022
Getting used to hybrid working, the "new normal"
For the past 24 months, we've all had to adapt. Following the stay-at-home mandate, and setting up home offices in bedrooms, kitchens, hallways, garages, and even garden sheds. At first, there was apprehension, people don't like change thrust upon them, but now two years on, we've learnt how to have team meetings by video call and keep in touch instantly, by chatting using messenger software.
Staff and employers have discovered they can still produce the same quality of work while avoiding the daily commute. Working from home has also afforded people the time to exercise, learn new skills, take up mindful activities, see family and friends, and has provided parents with the flexibility of being there for the school runs, meals and bedtime.
With companies and their employees seeing these benefits, it seems unlikely that we will ever go back to the way of pre-pandemic working.
However, on the flip side, working from home has been linked to disengagement from the work you do and emotional disconnection from colleagues, with staff working from different locations, flexible hours, sometimes globally in different time zones. Also, for those who live alone, working from home may have been a lonely experience. Some employees do miss the social interaction an office brings.
Best of both worlds
This has resulted in a transition to hybrid working. Staff can spend two or three days in the office and the rest working from home. Allowing face to face time with managers and colleagues.
Businesses have seen a cost-saving benefit, reducing the spend on office space and rent. Many have downsized, with not all staff in the office at the same time, implementing a hot desk system. It's now more important for offices to have informal, open plan creative spaces where staff can work together and collaborate, rather than row after row of desks. The shape and way in which we use offices and how we spend our time in them has changed. Some companies have even discarded chairs from meeting rooms to avoid colleagues from relaxing and filling the time with social chat. Instead, they focus on the work at hand and meetings are completed quicker and more efficiently.
Companies can save costs on overheads, and as a result of reduced numbers in the office, the spend on consumables, refreshments, stationery and supplies will also decrease.
Talent and sustainability
With employees now looking for hybrid roles, implementing this way of working will widen your talent pool. Staff will now happily commute that little bit further, if it's only two days per week, for a great role and a flexible employer. Allowing your staff these freedoms boosts morale, keeps staff engaged and will help you to retain your talent for longer.
And we all know that commuting has a huge negative impact on carbon emissions, so allowing employees to reduce their commute will only strengthen any sustainability goals your business may have set.
The pandemic has changed our lives and the way we work forever. Employees now have the power to shape their time spent working into something that fits with the rest of their lives. Social and business lives have now blurred. Listening to colleagues and staff is essential to ensuring everyone feels valued and supported in these new times. Employees now look for "human" values in employers.
It's clear that hybrid working is the way of the future. Employers who embrace this change could see great benefits.



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