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4 HR considerations if you are returning to the office with a hybrid team

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

It goes without saying that the pandemic has created one of the biggest changes in ways of working that we’ve seen in our lifetime.

Within a matter of weeks, businesses like yours and mine had to adapt quickly and words like Zoom, Teams and Skype became commonplace.

Now that there is some light at the end of the tunnel, most businesses are at least considering going back to the office – or are they?

You’re probably reading this because your business is considering, or has decided, to maintain some element of flexibility, by giving your employees the choice to continue working from home, in the office, or a mixture of both. This is now commonly known as hybrid working.

The benefits of a hybrid workforce can be huge in terms of helping your employees to balance their work and home lives, by offering flexible working arrangements that enable them to balance their work commitments with other priorities.

But there are things to be aware of and manage if you choose to introduce a hybrid working model.

Here are 4 HR elements you should consider:

1. Creating a hybrid working policy

As with any sort of changes in your business, there are always lots of questions, which can easily lead to confusion or conflict with your team, which isn’t helpful at a time of change.

You need to consider all possible scenarios and create a formal hybrid working policy that suits your own business.

Bear in mind, hybrid working will not be operationally viable for all roles, and that requirements may also vary throughout the year.

Think about how:

  • You’ll manage requests for flexible working

  • You’ll ensure the office is staffed (if it needs to be)

  • Much time each employee will need to spend in the office (if any)

  • This will be communicated back to you, so you know what’s going on and where your team will be.

It may look like hybrid working is too much of a headache, but a defined policy is about setting expectations to help protect you, your business, and your relationship with your employees.

2. Make sure you’re treating your employees fairly

It’s very easy to assume that everything is going well, and that all employees are happy with remote working; but this may not be the case.

Please ensure that everyone in your business knows that, even though they are working from home, communication channels to you and their managers are always open.

Make sure that people know the best ways to express concerns, and who to speak to if they have any problems. It’s not always easy to have a difficult conversation at the best of time, and this can be compounded with remote working.

Be mindful, if you find that some of your employees are quieter than usual and make the time to check in on them. The pandemic restrictions may have been relaxed but that does not mean that the knock-on effect on people is not still having an impact.

3. Consider how you manage performance

If you’re not seeing your team every day, it can make performance reviews and management a bit trickier.

Instead of measuring ‘time’ spent in the office, you may want to reconsider the metrics you’re using to measure employee performance.

By tracking metrics such as business outcomes, it becomes less about being at your desk from 9 - 5 and more about performance – this is both the spirit and benefit of hybrid working.

4. Focus on keeping your team engaged

Out of sight should not be out of mind; make sure you check in with your team regularly.

Don’t forget, while some people might relish working on their own, others prefer to have more contact with colleagues. It can be very easy to feel isolated when working from home.

Try to schedule team meetings via Teams or Zoom at the start or end of each day and remember to continue with 1-2-1 meetings too.

Ensure that training and development isn’t forgotten about for those who don’t work in the office all of the time, and if you have any wellbeing initiatives, carry on with them.

In fact, these elements may be even more important while your team works remotely.

Interestingly, people who work from home actually end up putting in more hours than they would in the office and find it harder to switch off from work when it’s time to log off.

Encourage everyone to use their entitlement and make sure that, even if they’re holidaying at home, they switch off entirely from work.

Any Finally…

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to creating a permanent hybrid team; however, if needn’t be difficult. If you’d like further advice or guidance, I’d love to help.

Simply give me a call or drop me an email to arrange a conversation.

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