Optimising the impact of hybrid working

24 February 2023

Hybrid working became a widely adopted working model for many office workers after the COVID-19 pandemic. The large-scale adoption of this way of working formed a real step-change for many organisations, which had previously operated using a more traditional workplace-based model. Whilst many employees have now settled comfortably into the very popular 2-3 hybrid working model (2-3 days in the office and 2-3 days at home), others such as new recruits and trainees have cited a need for greater, face-to face contact with more experienced colleagues.

Last year, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) published a report on hybrid and distance working that explored the tax implications of changing working practices.

From a people perspective, the key takeaways from this report are as relevant as ever.

  • There are an increasing number of people choosing to personalise their way of working, including those across borders. There is also a growing adoption of hybrid and remote working being facilitated by technology.
  • Hybrid is popular not just with workers, but employers alike - especially for organisations that are under pressure to retain/find the best talent.
  • It has become more commonplace for workers to request working from another country, with most businesses surveyed reporting cases of cross-border working taking place. This has led to the development of new policies to support these new circumstances. However, some smaller and mid-sized businesses are finding it more challenging to respond positively to cross-border working.
  • Most organisations surveyed by the OTS expect cross-border remote working to continue to feature in their businesses for the foreseeable future.
  • Interestingly, some 70% of those surveyed said they would be less likely to take a job if they did not have the option to work remotely. When asked about why they might want to work from the office, over 75% responded that it had to do with seeing their co-workers.

As well as ensuring all the right policies and procedures are in place to support hybrid, managing teams and individual performance remains high on the agenda. With less face-to-face time and managers working remotely from their teams, specific skills are required so that people feel connected and motivated to perform to high standards. The adoption of technology has become integral and the use of Zoom and Teams calls to create face-to-face time and get messaging across, has become commonplace.

These are all useful and can help companies and managers but hybrid working also needs good people management for business and people to thrive. Clear communications around job roles, expectations, goals and good performance management systems remain fundamental to helping organisations to create the successful workplaces of the future.

From a people-perspective, it’s clear from the above that flexibility and hybrid working have become commonplace and desirable for employers and employees alike and could become a key driver in helping businesses to attract and retain more talent than ever before. It is up to companies to adapt and adopt new policies, procedures and technologies in order to facilitate this shift.

For more discussion around how to manage successfully in a hybrid environment see our article ‘People management for hybrid working’ where we discuss the managers role in more detail.

For a conversation about your people strategy, working arrangements, hybrid or otherwise, please contact Kerri Constable or Steve Sweetlove.