Adapting to post-pandemic hybrid working

Submitted by Mark on 20th July 2021

Hybrid working, employment, resilience, innovation, HR, communication

The world of HR has seen nothing like it. The Covid-19 pandemic has presented challenges and pressures of a totally new kind. Yet the sector has responded with resilience, imagination and innovation … as it surely must. For some firms, the big issue has been how to manage HR issues with the workforce working remotely. But, as normality returns, many companies are facing the challenges of the hybrid solution, where some staff work from home, others attending the office for all or part of their working week.

Retaining productivity and profitability while remaining agile

A survey by the Institute of Directors reports that 60% of businesses asked are preparing for a permanent switch to hybrid working. Regardless of the new arrangement, the challenge for organisations is to ensure that all employees remain engaged, with productivity unaffected. Firms of all sizes are transitioning from survival mode into a more positive mindset – aimed at driving maximum productivity and profitability while keeping agile.

How can HR help you to achieve this balancing act?

Communication – key to the success of HR activity.
Your feedback session, appraisals and even everyday team meetings become even more complex when dealing with a hybrid workforce. With the hybrid model, not everyone’s working schedules will be the same. Care needs to be taken when arranging meetings. Innovative HR management systems will be an asset here.

Setting objectives and expectations
Your employees need to be properly aligned with your organisation’s business goals. Hybrid working will naturally introduce a degree of compromise, with the working day inevitably becoming less rigid. You will need to set out clear expectations and objectives to avoid compromising performance and productivity. A clear understanding of the metrics you need to succeed will free you to motivate and manage your people effectively, without the need for over-reactive course correction, which can lead to employee stress and disaffection.

Make your people comfortable
For those employees thinking of transitioning to remote working, you need to be sure of their requirements and ensure they have the right equipment to make homeworking effective. This might include additional monitors, ergonomic office chairs or standing desks.

Encourage a feedback model
One of the biggest challenges will be making your people feel included in the reform process. You’ll need to effectively engage your people as individuals, encourage them to tell you what they need and lastly, the most important part, do your best, within reason, to satisfy those needs.  Hybrid working is an ongoing evolving process – your people need to feel relaxed that you’ll be supporting them and that they are free to feed back frankly about any issues that might occur.

Ensure fairness
One challenge for you will be to ensure that, as your company policies evolve, they do so in a way that’s fair to all categories of employee. Your approach must be seen to be even-handed between home and office-based staff. You must also carefully weigh employee benefits and reward schemes so that no one feels left out or their status diminished.

Specialist HR advice
Adapting to a hybrid structure won’t be easy, but it may reap untold benefits. Talk to us about how to manage the change and, once achieved, how to maintain a hybrid team that feels fulfilled, engaged, supported and included.
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