There are tens of thousands of workers across the UK who have long been seeking employment that allows for hybrid and remote working patterns – but until the coronavirus pandemic hit and restrictions were put in to place, many businesses were unwilling to facilitate flexible working of this type. A years’ worth of enforced remote working later and plenty of (from some camps, unexpected) success, employees the world over are seemingly moving preference to hybrid working styles, even if their employers don’t feel the same way.
But what is hybrid working and is it really going to be the norm from hereon in? Let’s review…
What is Hybrid Working?
There’s no one set definition for Hybrid Working but roughly it equates to the formulation of a part-time ‘in-office’, part time remote working pattern. Most commonly this is either a set number of days or hours a week to be worked in the office, to facilitate in-person or team meetings.
Is Hybrid Working common?
Hybrid Working has always existed, but it’s not been a mainstream working arrangement. Usually offered by large corporations to facilitate the working of job sharers, working parents or those with additional needs, it has historically been the domain of only tech companies or those who needed to introduce ‘reasonable adjustments’ for an employee and their health.
There are no statistics on exactly how many office-based employees currently work to a Hybrid Working pattern, but it’s believed that levels are higher than ever as businesses introduced phased returns to office environments.
Does Hybrid Working really work?
For businesses within which remote working is a possibility and doesn’t impact negatively on performance, Hybrid Working can function brilliantly. Employees who either aren’t able to be in the office full-time or who don’t want to be can remain employed – so companies don’t need to lose their talent for menial reasons, and the workforce feels trusted and empowered.
In lots of circumstances, Hybrid Working is the most appropriate option for staff: for example where they have a disability, dependents, or an illness.
Are many employees really demanding Hybrid Working?
Demand is definitely higher for Hybrid Working now than it has ever been. A survey of UK workers by Barnett Waddingham found that 33% of office-based employees will consider leaving their job if they’re not able to continue to work remotely post-pandemic. That’s not to say that everyone will leave, but the most popular working pattern amongst those surveyed was Hybrid Working.
Do businesses have to offer Hybrid Working?
Businesses have a duty of care for their employees, and should facilitate Covid-safe working within their premises. There is also a legal requirement for employers to make reasonable adjustments to the working environment to facilitate those with disabilities and/or health problems.
There is no legal stipulation for businesses to offer or grant Hybrid Working, but it may be beneficial to staffing levels, office overhead costs and employee morale to do so. Each request should be weighed up and considered on its merits, and a decision made between both parties.