Hybrid Working – are you prepared?

Few will not have heard of it, but how many really know what it means, how to implement it and what the potential business and legal implications could be? Although the hybrid working concept will develop and evolve when more businesses implement their variations and employment law catches up with it, there are a number of factors and considerations that are likely to remain fairly constant.

Why has hybrid working become such a hot topic?

  • Covid meant that people people had no choice other than to work at home and they discovered that they like it 
  • Businesses have adapted and  homeworking is now feasible with cost savings for many
  • Flexible working requests have already increased
  • Government instruction to “work from home if you can” has eased so businesses can plan for the new hybrid world

What is hybrid working?

By definition, it cannot be one thing, so it will develop into many things: many potential different ways of working between home and the workplace with a blending of work/life balance.

The potential variation will very much depend on how different businesses function as well as the appetite of them and staff to embrace change. Deciding which hybrid working option to adopt is important, but not straightforward as businesses will need to balance multiple commercial, practical, legal and potentially regulatory factors.

What are the options?

Not to allow it – It will always be an option not to permit any form of hybrid working, but businesses need to consider that employees have the right to make a flexible working request after six months of employment, which may soon be a day-one entitlement.

Workforce autonomy – This is by far the most flexible option as staff will be allowed to pick and choose where they work from, on which days and for how long at different locations. 

A week about – This  approach is one week working from home and then one at the workplace. This option will be viable for many businesses and can allow for ‘hot desking’ that could, in theory, significantly reduce many overheads including the cost of premises.

Split days and times – perhaps a little trickier than other approaches to orchestrate from a  calendar and timetable perspective. This option can also bring some significant cost savings.

Trialling – An obvious option for many businesses will be to trial one or more options for a given period and with different groups of staff before implementing any final decisions. This is likely to be an attractive option for many.

How should a business decide?

There are multiple different factors to weigh up when deciding how to implement hybrid working practices in your business. The decision will ultimately be based upon the wants, needs and expectations of the business and staff.