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Who’s in charge of your hybrid model guidance?

Hybrid Model Guidance

Many would agree that hybrid is the future of work. The goal being to com­bine the pos­i­tives of both office and remote work­ing, to find a bal­ance that works well for your employees. 

Get­ting your hybrid mod­el right is key for the suc­cess of your organ­i­sa­tion. We all know that peo­ple are an organ­i­sa­tions most impor­tant assets, and tal­ent­ed peo­ple are going to want a hybrid mod­el that best suits their work­ing needs. A recent arti­cle in Forbes states – Mil­lions of work­ers plan to switch jobs in pur­suit of a work-Life bal­ance, growth oppor­tu­ni­ties, remote options and being treat­ed with respect’. We can see from this how much empha­sis is now being put on flex­i­ble work­ing and the option to work remotely.

Those who do well with their hybrid mod­el will bet­ter retain their cur­rent tal­ent pool, as well as attract­ing staff who leave organ­i­sa­tions who miss the mark. So hav­ing the right hybrid work­ing guide­lines is key, but who is going to be in charge of this? 

A lot of organ­i­sa­tions’ first reac­tion might be to put this respon­si­bil­i­ty onto HR staff, and whilst we can see the log­ic, we’d argue that’s pos­si­bly not the best route to go down. Mak­ing such a big deci­sion that will impact every employ­ee in an organ­i­sa­tion real­ly isn’t in the job descrip­tion of a HR employ­ee, and could cause some hos­til­i­ty towards HR from any employ­ees who are unhap­py with these decisions. 

HR is sup­posed to be an ally for all employ­ees, some­one to turn to with issues or queries, cre­at­ing hos­til­i­ty or mis­trust towards them could be very dam­ag­ing for your organisation. 

The oth­er option organ­i­sa­tions might look to is to let man­agers decide what form of hybrid work­ing is best for their team. Whilst this might have some mer­it, it could also cause prob­lems for man­agers, and between dif­fer­ent teams. If one man­ag­er decid­ed they’re team can work remote­ly 4 days a week, where anoth­er wants staff in the office 3 days a week, this could be deemed unfair. Clear bound­aries need to be set so no one will feel they aren’t being treat­ed as well as anoth­er per­son in the business. 

So what’s that answer? Deci­sions around hybrid work­ing could have a huge impact on your busi­ness, so we believe they should come from as high up in the busi­ness as pos­si­ble. Board mem­bers should be mak­ing these deci­sions and lay­ing them out to employ­ees in a clear way. Com­ing from a place of strong author­i­ty should reduce the push back from employ­ees, by show­ing that all board mem­bers are ful­ly behind these decisions. 

By set­ting clear bound­aries and being open with staff as to why these deci­sions have been made, peo­ple will be more like­ly to accept deci­sions, even if they aren’t com­plete­ly hap­py with them. Hav­ing the same bound­aries for every­one will elim­i­nate the issue of unfair treat­ment, this does nec­es­sar­i­ly mean all staff with be doing the exact same office / remote split, but it should mean that the rea­son for the split is clear. 

For exam­ple the guide­lines might state that employ­ees need to be in an office when per­form­ing cer­tain tasks, such as group meet­ings, or that all teams must have a least one day in the office togeth­er, but can choose where to work for the oth­er days. 

There’s no one per­fect answer to this, no right or wrong, how­ev­er there are organ­i­sa­tions who will suc­ceed and those who may not. By set­ting out a bad or unfair hybrid mod­el that makes many of your staff unhap­py, you are like­ly to lose some of your tal­ent to oth­er organ­i­sa­tions with bet­ter, more flex­i­ble hybrid work­ing rules. By hav­ing a good hybrid mod­el not only are you more like­ly to keep tal­ent in your organ­i­sa­tion, you will also be like­ly to attract more who are leav­ing oth­er organisations. 

Try to bear in mind that times have now changed for many. It used to be that peo­ple need­ed a good rea­son to work from home, now they need a good rea­son to come into the office. Many of your employ­ees will know that they are capa­ble of work­ing from home with no drop in their pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, they have adapt­ed to home work­ing, changed parts of their lives to fit it. So they will want to know why they must now return to an office space, spend­ing time and mon­ey on trav­el, leav­ing the qui­et and com­fort of their home to sit in a com­mu­nal space for x days a week. 

In order to be sure these guide­lines / bound­aries aren’t arbi­trary, deci­sion mak­ers should decide what they want to achieve from their hybrid work­ing mod­el, and work from there. They should be able to explain to all employ­ees why deci­sions have been made, so no one feels like they are being forced to work in loca­tions with­out a good reason.

When mak­ing any guide­lines around hybrid make sure you include some­thing around com­mu­ni­ca­tion. For exam­ple, man­agers must have a check-in with all of their staff at least once a month. Hybrid will be a new way of work­ing for many, and you need to be sure all staff mem­bers are being lis­ten too, so per­for­mance can be tracked and if a per­son is strug­gling they can be helped.

In con­clu­sion, our advice would be for board mem­bers to set the bound­aries for hybrid work­ing. These should be based on what will work best for the com­pa­ny to suc­ceed and employ­ees to be as hap­py as pos­si­ble at work. Once made, these bound­aries should be clear­ly com­mu­ni­cat­ed with all staff, with an expla­na­tion of why they are being put in place. These guide­lines should aim to ensure all employ­ees at an organ­i­sa­tion are being well looked after, with an empha­sis on con­tin­u­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tion between man­agers, staff and team members.

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