• With working from home for part of the week now the norm for many as we move out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that businesses take steps to ensure it is a success.

    Below we look at some of the key legal and practical considerations if you are a business who has adopted, or a looking to adopt a permanent hybrid working model within your organisation.

    Work life balance

    ONS statistics published in April 2021 revealed that “people who completed any work from home did 6.0 hours of unpaid overtime on average per week in 2020, compared with 3.6 hours for those that never work from home.”

    It shouldn’t be the case that working from home means more working. However, with a flexibility in hours often working alongside a flexibility in the workplace of work, it can be more difficult for line managers to see when an employee has too much work on. Regular communication is key here. We recommend that training on supervising remotely should also be provided to managers.

    Promotion and staff development

    According to the same statistics, employees who mainly worked from home were less than half as likely to be promoted than all other employees between 2012 and 2017.

    This is a scary statistic and hopefully one which is changing as a result of working practices following the pandemic.

    Regular discussions regarding career progression should be had   consistently with employees regardless of where they are working. You may be at risk of losing out on talent by not having these conversations or if you are not providing appropriate training and support to all employees to allow them to progress.

    Recruitment

    There has been much discussion regarding whether retention will become an issue for business who fail to listen to the labour market regarding widespread hybrid and flexible working demands.

    In 2021 a poll of 1,000 UK workers, conducted by EY as part of its 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey, found that four in five wanted flexibility where they worked, and nearly half surveyed (47 per cent) said they would consider changing their jobs if flexible working wasn’t an option.

    Indeed, a quick scroll through LinkedIn this week showed several recruiters stating that the ability to work flexibly is one of the first things employees are now asking for when looking for a new role.

    Businesses offering hybrid working should consider how they are promoting this to new recruits. This is now clearly a key expectation in many industries and offering hybrid working is likely to open up the pool of talent into a greater geographical remit than was previously available.

    On the flip side, with increased  remote job  opportunities available  your business must consider how it stands out in the market as a great place to work for its existing staff as they may also now have more opportunities available to them.

    Loneliness and mental health

    According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, 45% of adults feel ‘occasionally’, ‘sometimes’ or ‘often’ lonely in England.

    It is key that businesses support those working from home. It is also important that managers receive training on how best to support  employees working remotely, and how to keep teams connected.

    It may be more difficult with a hybrid working model to see when an employee may be struggling with loneliness or otherwise with their mental health.

    There are many initiatives we have seen to keep teams connected in a hybrid working environment including virtual staff rooms, mentor or buddy schemes, virtual team building events and many more. Watch our webinar, in partnership with West Kent Mind, for more tips and guidance on how to support employees with their mental health.

    How can we help?

    Our Employment team can offer training, support and guidance on how to implement flexible working within your organisation. For more information on how we can support you, please book a free 30-minute online appointment with a member of our Employment team today, for an initial discussion of your needs.

    Plus, read some hybrid working top tips if you’re looking to implement new flexible working practices within your organisation, put together by our associated HR consultancy, Kent HR.

    This content is correct at time of publication

    Can we help?

    Take a look at our Employment & HR page for useful information, resources, guidance, details of our team and how we may be able to help you

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