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Increasing flexible and hybrid working

The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) has published a Report called ‘An update on flexible and hybrid working practices’.

This Report explores the challenges, implications and benefits for employers and employees in relation to flexible and hybrid working.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on working life from both an employer and employee perspective. According to the CIPD:

  • the start of the pandemic saw 46% of employees working from home either all or most of the time;
  • more than 50% of employees now have flexible working arrangements in place in their current roles; and
  • 42% of organisations state that they will be more likely to grant a request for flexible working now than they would have been before the pandemic began.

With more than a third of organisations experiencing an increase in requests for flexible working, together with a significant rise in working from home requests, employers are facing a number of challenges in balancing the needs of the business (actual or perceived) and their employees’ wishes.

The Benefits, Risks and Challenges

The main benefits of a flexible and hybrid working policy for employers can include an increase in productivity, a higher staff retention rate and an improved ability to attract new employees.

Employees benefit from a better work-life balance, improved job satisfaction and improved health and wellbeing.

There are, however, a number of risks for employers, including:

  • an increase in stress and mental health problems;
  • a potential decrease in productivity;
  • team relationships being weakened by limited communication;
  • reduced staff engagement with the business and with colleagues; and
  • training and career development through experiencing the work of senior colleagues being lost.

How can employers develop an effective flexible and hybrid working policy?

In developing a flexible and hybrid working policy, to limit risks to the business, employers should:

  • focus on employee health and wellbeing and ensure that there is a plan in place to avoid an employee overworking;
  • provide support and adequate training for managers and supervisors so that the new ways of working are managed effectively;
  • invest in appropriate technology to support flexible and hybrid working;
  • focus on ‘outcomes’ rather than presence in the office; and
  • develop working methods which enable junior members of staff to learn by experience, and to engage with the business.

For further advice on flexible and hybrid working policies, please contact Ashfords’ Employment team.

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