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Hybrid/ remote working

The Covid-19 pandemic forced a lot of businesses to adopt short-term remote working models to survive. These models are now becoming more long-term. Some candidates now expect the option to work more flexibly to be a given, when searching for a new opportunity.

Hybrid/remote working

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Some employees will leave a business because they do not offer the two days in the office, three days at home that their competitor does. Although there are benefits to the employer and employee from hybrid and remote working models, there are also a lot of challenges.

How do you keep staff engaged in a remote world? What do you need to do to ensure your team remains collaborative and best practice is still shared, and new ideas are still generated? How do you approach someone who is refusing to come into the workplace? Our HR experts will guide you through this new way of working, ensuring you have the correct policies and procedures and that your Management team are equipped with the tools they need to successfully lead and develop a remote team.

Please find some Frequently asked questions about Hybrid Working below:

Hybrid working is a combination of working in the office and working at home (remotely).

Remote working is where the employee works from a remote location (i.e. their home), on a permanent basis.

No. Hybrid/remote working are both ‘Flexible Working’ models. An employee has the right to request flexible working upon 26 weeks of continual service and a business has a legal duty to reasonably consider the request, but they do not have to agree to the request. However, if they do refuse the request, it must be because of one of eight, clearly defined, business reasons. Hybrid/remote working is simply not possible for certain job roles, in certain organisations, for example a HGV driver in a Logistics company cannot possibly work from home, as their job does not allow it. However, a Transport Planner who works for the same organisation, but in the office, might be able to work on a hybrid/remote basis, if the IT systems allow and it works for the business. Each request to work flexibly, under a hybrid/remote agreement must be considered on its own merits and discussed with an expert in the field, like one of our HR Consultants!

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid/remote working had been gradually increasing. In 2019, around 1 in 10 (12%) of the of the UK workforce had worked at least one day per week from home and around 1 in 20 (5%) were mainly working from home. During the pandemic, around half of UK workers (49%) worked at least one day from home and 38% worked from home every day. Post-pandemic, these numbers have decreased slightly, but they still remain higher than pre-pandemic numbers. Rather than being necessary for business continuity purposes, many organisations have seen the benefits of operating a hybrid/remote working model and have introduced it on a permanent basis.

Other Flexible Working models include flexitime (i.e. starting work any time between 08:00 – 10:00 and leaving any time between 16:00 – 18:00, ensuring core hours of 10:00 – 14:00 are observed) or compressed hours (i.e. compressing a 5 day working week into 4 days). Also, the 4 day week is being adopted by a number of businesses on a permanent basis, not only to help attract, engage and retain staff, but to help reduce business costs associated with opening a workplace (i.e. security and utilities).

Communication is key here. Technology allows for meetings to be held remotely and so just because they are not physically present in the office, does not mean you cannot meet with them to discuss the progress of a project, or find out how they are getting on and offer any support. There is also a lot of software which allows you to communicate with your staff through an online chat function (MSTeams has one). Productivity versus presenteeism is also a key thing to remember here, which essentially boils down to trust. If you trust your staff, they will work just as productively, if not more productively in some cases, whilst they are away from the office. There are fewer office distractions, meaning high attention to detail work can be completed to a higher standard, in a shorter period of time. You can also still set your hybrid/remote workers measurable KPI’s and deadlines, which you can periodically check-in with them about, to find out how they are getting on and offer any support.

Yes, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, ‘an employer is responsible for an employee's health, safety and welfare so far as is reasonably practicable, including when they are working from home.’ It is therefore advisable to ask any hybrid/remote workers to complete a HSE Display Screen Equipment (DSE) workstation risk assessment, to ensure their workstation at home is safe and adequate, which will also help reduce the risk of any health and safety related claims further down the line. You may also need to check your business insurance, to ensure it allows your staff to work from their home address.

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Our holistic attitude to HR and law is what sets us apart from the competition. We believe we get the best results through active personal involvement.

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We’re welcoming and receptive during what is undoubtedly a stressful time.

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