Since the start of the pandemic in 2019 we have witnessed a gradual increase in hybrid and remote working. According to data released by the Office for National Statistics, 16% of the workforce stated they worked completely from home, while 28% reported a balanced split of working from home and occasionally traveling to work between September 2022 to January 2023.
It’s no surprise that businesses are also choosing to opt for a more flexible and sustainable approach after facing financial strains incited by the rise and fall of the economy over the past few years. Only last year, a trial was conducted where more than 60 UK companies cut down their business hours, to trial a four-day work week. The results were hardly shocking as 90% of the participants opted to continue the shorter week trial, with 18 adopting it permanently.
The main reasoning for the results was that a “shorter working week leads to less burnout, making staff happier and more focused in their roles”. The same effects can be linked to hybrid working, as more than 78% of those who worked from home either as a hybrid worker or fully remote offered them an “improved work life balance in February 2022”. 52% reported it was quicker to complete work while 53% agreed they had fewer distractions in their day. Happiness was also on the rise according to those who participated in the survey, with 47% admitting seeing an increased in their well-being.
With more than 50% of workers spending less on their fuel and parking that would normally have been used on commuting to work, the evidence that hybrid work is a necessity for many people in the UK is becoming increasingly apparent. Whether you love it or loathe it, hybrid working is a modern and convenient approach that is here to stay.
The hybrid conundrum
While meeting the demand for a hybrid working model will enable businesses to attract and retain the best talent, it’s important to ensure you’ve considered all the angles and have built a model that suits your business.
Some of the top issues to consider, according to research by the BBC, include:
- Ensuring your hybrid working policy is inclusive. Many roles must be done on site and in specific ways and it could cause a rift between parts of your business.
- How to offset the cost of supporting home set ups for hybrid and remote workers. This can be done by downsizing physical office space.
- Co-ordinating teams schedules. If you take a casual approach to your hybrid system and let staff decide their in office hours personally, there still needs to be co-ordination to ensure people are available when needed – and don’t miss out on valuable time with other people in person.
- Collaboration. It can be tricker to work closely together and share documents if you don’t have a good system in place to support collaboration.
- Security. Remote working systems that enable collaboration can be a “hackers dream” according to the BBC’s findings. So, ensuring you have the right security in place is vital.
However you choose to embrace hybrid working, it’s clear that one of the first things to get right is the technology that will underpin everything. We all remember the first few months of lockdown, trying to adapt to new video calling platforms and file sharing.
So, it’s important to look into how tools like Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure can help keep you working collaboratively, closely and securely. Because there really is no denying that the demand for a hybrid working option really isn’t going anywhere.