The CIPD has outlined several steps organizations must bear in mind when it comes to ensuring hybrid working is a success, maintaining employee productivity.
According to new research by the CIPD, employers have largely seen a benefit in productivity due to the shift to remote working.
This has seen a slight increase since last summer with a third of employers (33 percent) now stating that homeworking has boosted productivity levels amongst staff. This is compared to just over a quarter of companies (28 percent) who said the same in June of last year.
In addition to this, there has been a decline in the number of employers stating remote working has caused productivity levels to fall. Employers have had a significant net productivity benefit overall with only a quarter (23 percent) now stating this.
There have been several factors which allowed organization to adjust and prosper when it came to the change in work models.
For companies where line manager training was offered, which taught them how to manage remote workers, almost half (43 percent) found that productivity had increased during homeworking. Contrastingly, in companies where this was not offered, only three in 10 (29 percent) reported the same outcome.
With almost two-thirds (63 percent) of companies looking to introduce or expand the use of hybrid working post-pandemic, the CIPD state that organizations should take a strategic approach to homeworking.
In particular, the body has urged employers to look at flexible options beyond homeworking, recognizing that not all roles can be done from home. Almost half of employers (48 percent) have looked into expanding the use of flexi-time which would see an alteration to the start and finish times of workdays.
45 percent of employers cited fairness as a reason for looking into this, recognizing that employees who cannot work from home should still be able to benefit from flexible working arrangements.
However, there is still room for improvement when it comes to flexible working times. Part-time hours are desired by over a quarter of the workforce (28 percent) but actually used by under a fifth (19 percent). Similarly, a fifth of employees stated they would use compressed hours if offered and yet, only three percent are given the opportunity to do so.
Claire McCartney, Senior Policy Adviser for Resourcing and Inclusion at the CIPD, comments:
Organizations should take stock and carefully consider how to make hybrid working a success, rather than rushing people back to their workplace when there are clearly productivity benefits to homeworking. To make hybrid working a success in the long-term, employers need to implement a strategy that focuses on wellbeing, communication, and collaboration to recognize people’s individual preferences. They must also provide appropriate training and support for managers, so they have the tools needed to support employees to work remotely.
The report sets out seven strategies to make hybrid working a success:
- Developing the skills and culture needed for open conversations about wellbeing
- Encouraging boundary-setting and routines to improve wellbeing and prevent overwork
- Ensuring effective coordination of tasks and task-related communication
- Paying special attention to creativity, brainstorming, and problem-solving tasks
- Building in time for team cohesion and organizational belonging, including face-to-face time
- Promoting networking and relationship building across the organization
- Organizing support networks to compensate for the loss of informal/’on the job’ learning for those who are new to the organization or role
Organizations will need to be adaptable and take a tailored approach based on individual choice and need in order to maximize the benefits and minimize the challenges of hybrid working.