New research finds that hybrid working may be the future of work as almost nine in 10 businesses expect hybrid working to be adopted as a permanent part of the employment landscape.
A new report by specialised recruiter, Robert Half, investigates the rise of a hybrid workforce and what challenges and advantages may crop up as part of this.
According to the data, almost nine in 10 businesses (89 per cent) agreed with the statement that hybrid working would become a permanent part of working life moving forward.
When asked what the top benefits would be of utilising hybrid teams, employers stated it would allow businesses to stay agile and would also offer employees more flexibility and an improved work-life balance.
In addition to this, employers also expect hybrid working to improve talent retention by allowing businesses to keep key personnel and providing an opportunity to redesign job roles. There was also a significant financial benefit noted – that it would ultimately help to reduce office and real estate costs.
However, employers also noted the difficulties that could arise through the creation of a hybrid workforce. Most notably, it was stated that monitoring workloads and optimising employee engagement would be challenging.
It could also be difficult to maintain company culture with the teams scattered across the country or continent. Hybrid working was also expected to complicate the onboarding process and make it more difficult to assess employee wellbeing and mental health.
Almost half of employees (49 per cent) responding to the survey expressed their desire to move to a compressed four-day working week.
Over two-thirds (68 per cent) expressed a desire to continue working from home for one to three days a week going forward. Over a fifth (22 per cent) wanted to adopt full-time remote working permanently.
Due to this shift in the world of work, the report identifies that employers are now looking for candidates to demonstrate new skills sets. This encompasses both a mix of ‘hard’ skills (technical proficiencies) and ‘soft’ skills (people-focused expertise) which combines to form a hybrid skill set.
Discussing how employers can overcome the challenges associated with hybrid working, Matt Weston, Managing Director of Robert Half UK, spoke to HRreview:
While hybrid teams provide businesses with the benefit of increased agility in changeable times and opportunity to create better work-life balance for employees, there are also associated challenges for businesses and their HR teams. With social distancing measures still in place across the UK, key processes such as hiring and onboarding new staff are taking place virtually. With the ‘anywhere workforce’ here to stay, employers need to invest in technology that supports remote working, which facilitates seamless collaboration between colleagues and allows for efficient monitoring of workloads.
It is paramount that businesses also have processes in place to effectively assess employee well-being, ensuring there are enough touchpoints to effectively maintain company culture over the longer term. To manage this hybrid workforce, employers should consider flexible working hours for employees, implement a clear remote working policy, redesign job roles if needed, and provide additional work-at-home benefits and allowances where relevant.
*This research was taken from Robert Half’s report ‘Demand for Skilled Talent’ which was published in February 2021.
The employer data referenced throughout this report is sourced from Robert Half commissioned research from 1,500 executives using an online data collection methodology conducted in November 2020.
Worker data cited in this report is an aggregate of results from online surveys conducted by Robert Half in Australia, Germany, Belgium, Brazil, France, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom during the November 2020 – January 2021 period .
Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.