Hybrid working is the future - How can HR professionals keep up?

Wed 26 Jul 2023

Hybrid working has increased in popularity. 

Research shows that between January and December 2019, around 1 in 10 of the UK workforce worked at least one day from home. In September 2022, around 1 in 5 (22%) of the GB workforce worked at least one day from home. According to the CIPD, hybrid work is now expected to be offered by 63% of employers.

Although hybrid working has its unique benefits which we will go on to discuss in this blog, it provides unique challenges for HR professionals when managing teams. 

This blogpost will be discussing how human resource managers can keep up with the changing dynamics of working lives, plus the benefits of a CIPD human resources course.

What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working is a flexible work arrangement that blends remote work and office-based work. Hybrid working allows employees to enjoy a better work-life balance and empowers those who require a flexible arrangement, such as parents or those who live far from the office.

What are the benefits of hybrid working?

Employees want hybrid work because it offers:

  • Flexibility: Hybrid working allows employees to have a better work-life balance
  • Commute reduction: Employees can save time, money, and reduce their carbon footprint
  • Increased autonomy: Employees can have more control over their work environment and schedule
  • Improved focus: Some employees find that it provides fewer distractions and interruptions compared to traditional office settings
  • Expanded job opportunities: Hybrid working opens up opportunities to work for organisations located in different regions without the need for relocation.

Employers want hybrid work because it offers:

  • Talent attraction and retention: Offering hybrid working arrangements can be a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining top talent
  • Increased productivity: Many employers have found that allowing employees to work remotely or in a hybrid model can enhance productivity
  • Cost savings: Hybrid working can lead to cost savings for employers by reducing office associated expenses
  • Expanded talent pool: With hybrid working, employers can tap into a wider talent pool beyond their immediate geographic area
  • Business continuity: Hybrid working allows operations to continue during unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters, pandemics, poor weather conditions and more.

One of the disadvantages of hybrid working is that it provides unique challenges for HR professionals. Read on to understand how to keep up with the shift towards hybrid work as a HR manager.

Importance of effective HR planning and management for hybrid work

HR planning and management for hybrid work is essential for creating a successful and thriving work environment. It allows HR professionals to address the unique needs and challenges that arise in a hybrid work model.

Through effective planning, HR can develop policies and guidelines that support hybrid employees, ensuring employees have the necessary skills, support and resources to excel in a hybrid work setting. 

HR professionals are instrumental in promoting employee wellbeing, fostering effective communication and collaboration, and shaping the organisational culture to embrace flexibility and adaptability. 

Establishing guidelines of required in-office and remote days

HR professionals can work closely with management and department heads to determine the optimal balance between in-person and remote work. These guidelines should be communicated transparently to all employees, ensuring clarity and consistency across the organisation.

Hybrid policies and procedures 

Here are some policies to consider as a HR manager working with a hybrid team:

  • Outline expectations and guidelines for remote and in-office work
  • Determine eligibility criteria for hybrid work
  • Establish procedures for providing necessary equipment and technology for working from home
  • Define guidelines for effective communication and collaboration
  • Implement a scheduling system to coordinate in-office and remote work days
  • Establish guidelines for reporting and tracking work hours and productivity
  • Create policies addressing data security and confidentiality
  • Provide guidelines for maintaining a healthy work-life balance
  • Establish a framework for performance evaluation
  • Establish guidelines for wellbeing check-ins. 

Guidelines for remote performance management 

Establishing guidelines for remote performance management is crucial for HR in effectively managing and evaluating the performance of remote employees.

  • Set clear performance expectations: HR should clearly define performance expectations for remote employees. 
  • Regular performance check-ins: Regular communication ensures ongoing support, alignment, and mutual understanding of expectations.
  • Establish remote performance metrics: HR should identify relevant performance metrics for remote workers. Establishing remote-specific metrics helps in evaluating performance accurately.
  • Provide remote-specific training and support: This may include time management, self-motivation, effective communication in virtual settings, and use of remote collaboration tools. Training and support empower remote employees to perform at their best.
  • Recognise and reward remote success: HR should ensure remote employees receive recognition and rewards for their achievements. 
  • Support growth and development: HR should provide opportunities for remote employees to enhance their skills and grow professionally.

Training and support for managers managing remote teams

Managers need guidance on remote work best practices, virtual leadership skills, and performance management in a remote environment. They should also receive training on fostering collaboration and engagement among remote team members, using remote tools and technology effectively. 

Continuous learning and development opportunities should be provided to keep managers updated with the latest practices for managing remote teams. By training managers to gain the necessary skills and knowledge, HR professionals enable them to lead and support their remote employees effectively, ultimately driving the success of the remote teams they manage.

Incorporating mental health and well-being programmes into HR initiatives

HR has a vital role to play in incorporating mental health and well-being programmes into HR initiatives for hybrid working. HR teams should conduct assessments to understand the mental health needs of employees in a hybrid work environment. 

It is also important for HR to share resources with employees and provide education resources which can tackle issues surrounding mental health and support employees.

Employees should be encouraged to take regular breaks and managers should be provided with training on mental health support. 

Keeping up with HR trends with HR courses

It is important for HR professionals to keep up-to-date with changing HR trends. Although there are many resources, a CIPD qualification can equip HR professionals with the skills and knowledge they need to work alongside hybrid teams.

Our CIPD human resource courses equip professionals with the knowledge surrounding the unique challenges of hybrid working, from policies and performance management to employee wellbeing. 

Find out more about our Human Resource CIPD courses and enrol today to advance your career.

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