The CIPD has outlined several steps organisations 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 per cent) now stating that homeworking has boosted productivity levels amongst staff. This is compared to just over a quarter of companies (28 per cent) 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 per cent) now stating this.

There have been several factors which allowed organisation 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 per cent) found that productivity had increased during homeworking. Contrastingly, in companies where this was not offered, only three in 10 (29 per cent) reported the same outcome.

With almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of companies looking to introduce or expand the use of hybrid working post-pandemic, the CIPD state that organisations should take a strategic approach to homeworking.

In particular, the body have urged employers to look at flexible options beyond homeworking, recognising that not all roles can be done from home.

Almost half of employers (48 per cent) have looked into expanding the use of flexi-time which would see an alteration to the start and finish times of workdays.

45 per cent of employers cited fairness as a reason for looking into this, recognising 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 is desired by over a quarter of the workforce (28 per cent) but actually used by under a fifth (19 per cent). Similarly, a fifth of employees stated they would use compressed hours if offered and yet, only three per cent are given the opportunity to do so.

Claire McCartney, Senior Policy Adviser for Resourcing and Inclusion at the CIPD, comments:
Organisations 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 recognise 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. Organisations will need to be adaptable and take a tailored approach based on individual choice and need in order to maximise the benefits and minimise the challenges of hybrid working.
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 co-ordination of tasks and task-related communication
  • Paying special attention to creativity, brainstorming and problem-solving tasks
  • Building in time for team cohesion and organisational belonging, including face-to-face time
  • Promoting networking and relationship building across the organisation
  • Organising support networks to compensate for the loss of informal/’on the job’ learning for those who are new to the organisation or role

*This research was conducted by the CIPD who surveyed 2,000 employers. The full findings can be found in the CIPD’s ‘Flexible Working: Lessons from the Pandemic’ report here.

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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.