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The victory of hybrid working post-pandemic

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The past two years have been transformative for organisations in every sense, and it has enabled them to flourish in 2022 from a talent attraction and business growth standpoint. It’s no secret that hybrid working has won, and it’s definitely here to stay. 

For many organisations, remote working was an alien concept in March 2020. We all experienced first-hand the birth of Zoom team meetings, social events that were virtual, and even highbrow conferences, award ceremonies, and networking events being completely online. 

Although for many of us this felt dystopian and an adjustment, it was actually the start of shifts organisations would have made eventually.

Hybrid working is the norm

Remember when remote working was considered a perk or benefit? It’s now become a non-negotiable for candidates, and can no longer be advertised as something progressive or forward-thinking. 

Built In spoke about this in a compelling article back in 2021, highlighting that “As workplaces start to reopen, organisations are finding that their workforce is not keen to give up remote work. People who started working remotely due to COVID-19 overwhelmingly support it and want to continue doing so. 

Companies can no longer say that they can’t operate remotely (a common reason to avoid remote work pre-2020), but with an ongoing global pandemic, they also can’t ask employees to come back to the office full-time. The most popular solution is the thing that every organization seems to be grappling with at the moment — the hybrid model.”

The hybrid model works to appeal to both individuals who want the flexibility that remote working offers, but also ensures that inclusivity is front of mind for those who don’t thrive in a remote working setting. 

And, understandably so - whether it’s simply how you work, your work from home set up, or for personal reasons, a hybrid model serves both types of individuals in an organisation. Hybrid working is all about choice - which is why it’s so appealing to candidates today.

The three pillars of hybrid working: what are you using? 

We’ve seen three types of hybrid working models being commonly used:

Remote first

This is where remote working is a priority for all employees, and the majority of the time the whole team will be working remotely. This could be working from home, but also across different time zones if the organisation has a global team. Co-working spaces and office space will be available, but it’s not the main mode of working.

Office occasional

This is where some (but not all) employees can come into the office occasionally, or for specific meetings or events. This could be for managers’ meetings that are best conducted in person, or office occasional can also allude to junior employees who require training that is best delivered in person, too.

Office first/remote allowed

This mode of hybrid working is where employees spend over 50% of their time in the office, but can also work remotely either at their managers’ discretion (usually for junior employees) or set days per week. The office is still used as the main place of work, but remote working is still part of the company culture and values.

What category do you currently fall into?

How does this affect the battle for talent?

The battle for talent is still ongoing, and People Management highlighted the role that hybrid working plays in this, stating “Some business leaders have recognised the importance of offering hybrid work to attract talent. Since the pandemic began, there has been a 190 per cent increase in remote work job postings

But while the penny has dropped for some, there is still a long way to go for much of the business world. The challenge for employers is that they cannot take a ‘one size fits all' approach to hybrid working because not every employee has the same wants. For example, younger people are said to prefer the structure of coming into the office. Whereas employees with childcare responsibilities are reported to prefer working from home.”

The bottom line is that although there isn’t a magic solution that can be applied across every organisation, remote working is being demanded by employees and jobseekers, and failing to provide even a little flexibility means that you’ll be losing out on great talent. 

However, something that is important to consider is that you must look at remote and hybrid working through a holistic lens, and listen to what your current employees want. As mentioned, there are many who still enjoy coming into the office and want to have an in-person work culture, but you won’t know this unless you ask and give people what they want. 

Assuming what people want is the worst thing you can do in a market as saturated as it is currently, so listen to your target audience and employees, and use that to influence how you structure your working model. It has to work for them, and it has to work for you and the business’ goals, too.

What is the solution? (spoiler-alert, you must offer remote working)

The solution is to do a deep dive into your business and compare it to what your employees want right now, as well as what the market is demanding. Create a bespoke hybrid model that works for you and don’t be afraid to try something outside the box, or even go against what your competitors are doing. 

Research and data should influence your decision-making, as well as partnering with an external recruitment partner who can give you up to date, comprehensive market insights so you can stay ahead of the curve.

We can help clients build an attractive remote working solution that will enable them to communicate with clarity to the market when hiring. Reach out to one of our specialist consultants and we’d be happy to advise you.