COVID-19 has shown businesses that how people do their jobs is more important than where they do them. This has led to many employers letting staff decide to either work from home, the office or a mixture of both.
This combination of working from home and being office-based, known as hybrid working, is set to become the new norm for many businesses after the pandemic. A report by the CIPD, Embedding new ways of working post-pandemic, reveals that 40% of employers expect to have over half of their workforce regularly working from home after the pandemic. For employees, hybrid working means they can enjoy the best of both worlds. They can take advantage of the benefits of working from home while still have face-to-face time with colleagues in the office. Hybrid working also makes good business sense, saving employers’ money and carbon footprint.
Hybrid working for Nationwide staff
Nationwide for example, is allowing 13,000 of its 18,000 UK workforce to choose where they work. The move comes under the building society’s new flexible working scheme. A survey of Nationwide employees found that 57% want to work from home full-time after lockdown. Meanwhile, 36%, equivalent to a third of respondents, said they favoured a mixture of both office-based and home working. However, branch-based staff are less able to work flexibly, although Nationwide says it is looking at how it can help branch staff manage their workday around their home life. Nationwide is set to close three of its offices in Swindon, with 3,000 employees moving to its new headquarters, working from home, or combining the two.
Benefits of hybrid working
COVID-19 has transformed nearly every aspect of our lives. But the pandemic has also highlighted the many benefits of working from home for both employee and employer. Such benefits include a much-improved work-life balance, more time for family and friends, greater focus with fewer distractions, saved commuting time and costs, greater motivation and productivity and IT upskilling. The benefits of hybrid working for businesses include reducing staff absences, savings on office space, improved productivity, supporting diversity and inclusion, and higher employee job satisfaction levels.
Research into new ways of working
Research has found that post-pandemic, most workers want to continue to work from home at least for some of their working week. A report by Nationwide surveying firms such as American Express, Visa, NatWest Group, and B&Q owner Kingfisher found 90% of employees prefer working from home rather than going into the office every day. Employees said they’d benefit from even just one day a week working from home, with 60% saying it would give them a better work-life balance. Meanwhile, 43% of remote workers said they needed some face-to-face time with colleagues to do their job effectively.
According to figures from the National Statistics figures, before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, just 5% of the UK’s workforce mainly worked from home. Inevitably, the pandemic and government instructions to stay at home have seen this figure rise considerably. Before the pandemic, 65% of employers didn’t offer regular home working or only offered it to less than 10% of their workforce. However, post-pandemic, the number of employers not offering home working could drop to 37%.
Legal implications of hybrid working
Hybrid working will mean a massive culture shift for many organisations and require them to establish new ways of working. If an employee’s request for hybrid working is accepted, it will mean a formal change to the terms and conditions of their employment. Hybrid working can happen informally without requiring a contractual change, similar to other types of flexible working. However, employers must make sure that both the employees and their managers understand the differences and consequences. Employment contracts also need to state a contractual location. While this may not necessarily change due to hybrid working, employees who work from home permanently typically have their home address as their place of work. Employees may be required to discuss homeworking implications with their mortgage provider, landlord or house insurer.
For more articles relating to the pandemic, visit the HR Solutions‘ dedicated page ‘Coronavirus Advice and Guidance for Employers’.
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