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What is hybrid working? - Hybrid working examples

What is hybrid working?

What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working is a relatively recent addition to our cultural lexicon. The phrase entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2022, having gained popularity during the pandemic.

Hybrid working is ‘the practice of alternating between different working environments’. It’s usually a combination of office and home-based work. 

Some 40% of UK businesses now offer hybrid working. There are several hybrid working models, with most companies providing their own hybrid working policy. 

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits and challenges associated with hybrid working. We’ll explore some popular hybrid work examples and examine how companies that offer hybrid working hours can manage this method effectively. Plus, we explain what you should include in your own hybrid working policy. 
 

Fostering a positive hybrid working culture

A positive company culture is a major factor in employee engagement, productivity and performance. 

Nailing your company culture while accommodating hybrid work isn’t straightforward. It requires very clear communication with your team and a carefully defined hybrid work policy, particularly around remote working. 
 

What are some benefits of hybrid working?

Remember when everyone was saying that fully remote work was ‘the new normal’?

For a while, the future of the office was in doubt. Now though, we’re seeing renewed interest from both employers and employees in a hybrid working setup. 

Here’s why.
 

Hybrid is popular with employees

Some employees still favour fully-remote roles, but many appreciate the benefits of a hybrid working arrangement. 

Recently, Eden Scott conducted a study into tech workers’ preferences, finding that over third wanted hybrid working hours, with only 12% choosing to work full time in the office, and a smaller 9% opting for a fully-remote role. 
 

Hybrid can boost productivity

Several prominent organisations believe that productivity levels are higher when employees work from the office some or most of the time. Many major companies have reintroduced mandatory office hours, including Amazon and Meta (3 days per week), and Netflix (2 days per week). 
 

Hybrid offers the best of both worlds 

A hybrid setup can provide employees with both flexibility and structure, and can help companies maintain a positive workplace culture.
 

What are the disadvantages of hybrid working?

Not everyone wants hybrid working. 

Hybrid can negatively impact certain workers
Flexible work can help parents - particularly mothers - to remain in the workforce. Mandatory hybrid hours could limit the flexibility that working parents often require.

In addition to childcare responsibilities, several professionals are primary caregivers to loved ones, or have a disability that makes working in an office environment challenging. The requirement to follow a hybrid working pattern could negatively impact these employees.
 

Cost of living

Hybrid working means employees have fewer options about where they live. If they’re required to regularly travel into the office, they’ll need to live within commuting distance. This can be difficult for employees struggling with the cost of living - most roles in the UK are based in cities and towns, but cheaper accommodation is usually further away from these locations. 
 

Smaller talent pool 

By requiring employees to work part-time in the office, you could limit your talent pool to those who live in the local area or who are willing to move. 
 

Hybrid work examples

There are several types of hybrid working models. Here are some of the most popular. 
 

Flexible 

Flexible hybrid working allows employees to work remotely or in the office whenever they want to. You could either specify set a number of days a week or month that employees must work in the office, or allow employees to choose how often they come in. Some companies avoid minimum in-office requirements and instead encourage employees to attend particular meetings or social events.
 

Fixed 

A fixed hybrid work arrangement usually involves a set number of days a week in the office and usually defines the day. For example, you might require all workers to come into the office on Tuesdays to Thursdays. Some companies also assign certain types of work for in-office days, for example brainstorming sessions.
 

Office-first 

In an office-first setup, most hours are spent in the office, with the ability to request or plan remote working time.
 

Remote-first 

With remote-first hybrid work, most hours are completed remotely, with office working planned in advance. Remote working doesn’t necessarily have to take place at home, but requires employees to have the right set-up.
 

Co-working office

Some hybrid companies have significantly downsized their office space and now want people to specify when they work in the office. Shared offices or co-working spaces are increasingly popular. 
 

Remote working credits

Some remote-first companies provide a stipend for employees to work outside of their homes. This could include co-working space credits, a business club membership or another setup that works for them. 
 

Navigating hybrid working effectively

The benefits of hybrid working can only be realised through careful management. Here are some of the most important things to agree with employees.
 

Communication 

When some or all of the team is working remotely, effective communication can be tricky. You should carefully define how your team should communicate. Explain the best methods of communication - whether it’s a phone call, a Teams/Slack message or email - and discuss your expectations for how quickly they should respond.
 

Productivity & performance

Your team’s work should be equally as productive in and out of the office. Agreeing what productivity looks like, including work volume and performance expectations will help to eliminate any confusion. 

That said, this isn’t an opportunity to micromanage - employees should be trusted to manage their workload.
 

Work-life balance

For some, remote working is ‘taking work home with them’ - so it’s important to communicate healthy boundaries. Specifying working hours - whether they’re flexible or otherwise - can reduce stress for your team.
 

Logistical challenges

One of the hardest parts about hybrid working is coordinating schedules. For example, what if someone is working flexible hours from home, but an office-based worker requires urgent support? This is particularly challenging in client or customer-facing roles, as you may need your team to be able to pick up last-minute communications. 

Explaining which hours your team should be online and when they need to be available can help to avoid bottlenecks. Careful planning and setting expectations with clients and customers can also help to avoid confusion. 
 

Security concerns

Mapping out the security risks will help you mitigate them. For example, should your team only use company-certified software or equipment? Do they need to take private calls in a more secure environment? Is your team aware of confidentiality requirements, and do they need extra training? The greater security risks associated with hybrid working means it’s all the more important to get this right. 
 

Technology & equipment

Consider what technology your team will need in order to perform their work effectively. This could be everything from a software licence, to a high-powered laptop, or even an effective desk set-up. Explain to your team which equipment they need to work remotely, and what you will be providing.
 

Hybrid working policy 

A clear hybrid working policy removes ambiguity and provides a helpful framework for your team. In your hybrid working policy, make sure to cover:

Eligibility 
  • Who can and can’t work remotely? Some members of your workforce may have duties they can’t undertake from home, such as manual  or high-security work.

Working hours 
  • Define the amount of hours the employees must work each week, and when they must complete their hours. For example, if you offer flexible working, then you might require workers to complete seven hours of work between the hours of 5am - 10pm. They could also be available for set hours, such as 2pm - 3pm for meetings and essential communications 

Communication 
  • Explain how you will communicate - e.g. Slack, Teams, phone, email - and expected response times.

Remote working conditions 
  • Clearly define acceptable working environments outside of the office. For example, you may require a private space for calls so that no one can overhear confidential conversations.

Performance 
  • You can define performance targets and what constitutes productivity.

Equipment 
  • Explain what kind of equipment is necessary when working remotely - what your team needs and whether you'll provide this. 

Compensation 
  • If you're providing a stipend for remote working, explain what it can be spent on. 

Security 
  • Clearly explain the security measures that all employees must adhere to.

Exceptions
  • You can also specify who isn’t expected to work from the office if they choose not to. This could include people who have a disability, caregivers and working parents. You may also wish to make temporary accommodations for scenarios including illness, menopause and losing a loved one.
     

Final thoughts

Creating a cohesive hybrid working environment isn’t easy - it takes a lot of planning, and a lot of trial and error. But hybrid working comes with a lot of benefits for both employers and employees. It’s well worth ironing out the kinks in your hybrid working policy now, for better performance in the long term. 
 

Looking to hire?

We’ll help you find the best candidates for your role - whether it’s hybrid, remote or fully in-office. We’ll source high-performance professionals to fit your startup’s culture. For support, get in touch with the TalentSpark team at Eden Scott.