It can’t be denied, hybrid working is the office-worker’s dream. It offers the best of both worlds. The all important face to face interaction with senior management to ‘be seen,’ balanced with no commute, informal workwear, and home-brewed coffee on the other days. It’s no surprise that we’re all talking about ‘work life balance’ – we’ve never had it so good!
Amidst all the noise about hybrid working, wellbeing and flexibility, there’s much less discussion about how managers and employers are dealing with this new way of working. The challenges of integrating new hires into an established team, the scheduling issues posed by staff in and out on different days, and, in some cases, managing disgruntled team members in roles that are more office based than those of their more flexible colleagues, are adding to the workload. And that’s before we even consider whether productivity levels are increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same.
The fact is hybrid working can be very challenging for managers who are used to a traditional management style.
It’s not just the practicalities of running a hybrid team that cause problems - trusting staff to work effectively remotely presents a major psychological issue. A recent survey carried out by *Ricoh Europe found that two thirds of employers don’t trust their staff to work from home. Remote monitoring software companies are booming for this very reason, but is balancing mistrust with mistrust the best way to encourage a motivated and productive team?
It seems that it’s not enough to simply offer hybrid working in an organisational quest to recruit and retain talent. Even implementing a hybrid working policy isn’t enough. If hybrid working is here to stay, it needs to work in the long term. It needs to become ‘the’ way of working for workers, managers and employers alike, and it needs to deliver. It needs to become engrained in the organisational culture – and this, starts with education.
Everyone in the workplace needs to understand what is expected from them in a hybrid working environment and learn how best to deliver this. Managers need training to help them adopt techniques to lead a hybrid team - regular scheduled check-ins, rotas for when people are in and out of the workplace, and considered technology options, are just a few of the things they need to think about. Employers need to understand the value of offering hybrid working, and not only decide whether to adopt the model, but if they do, how to ensure it doesn’t negatively impact productivity or staff wellbeing.
The general view seems to be that hybrid working is here to stay, but our view is that until hybrid working becomes company culture, there will be questions raised about how effective it really is.
The team at SkillGate wants to continue benefitting from the perks of hybrid working as much as anyone, which is why we’ve released two new, in-depth hybrid working online training courses – one aimed at everyone, Understanding and Getting the Most from Hybrid Working, and the other for managers, Leading and Managing a Hybrid Workforce.
*The survey by Ricoh Europe, which polled 1,500 business decision makers across Europe, found that 65 per cent did not fully trust their staff to do their jobs from home.