The independent public body Acas has recently published advice for businesses and workers who are considering implementing ‘hybrid working’ policies as the Government prepares to ease coronavirus restrictions from July 19.
Hybrid working is a type of flexible working arrangement where an employee splits their time between the workplace and working remotely. Since the pandemic began many businesses were forced to require their employees to work from home and although for many it has been necessary to return workers to company premises (under coronavirus guidance), businesses had already begun to see benefits such as increased productivity and job satisfaction, improved working relationships and in some cases a reduction of overhead costs without any loss of workforce or productivity.
In a YouGov survey commissioned by Acas in June this year 49 percent of employers responding to the poll stated that they expected to see an increase in staff working from home or remotely for the whole week. Over half of employers (55 percent) said they expected to see an increase in staff working from home or remotely part of the week.
Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said: "The pandemic has greatly impacted working life and it’s unsurprising that many employers and their staff have seen the benefits of flexible working during this difficult period. Hybrid working existed before COVID and our survey reveals that more than half of employers in Britain expect this type of flexible working to increase once we come out of the pandemic.
"Our new advice can help employers look at the potential benefits of hybrid working, consider whether it is suitable for their workplace, and fairly manage any staff requests."
Acas's advice for employers includes:
• consulting widely with staff or their representatives about introducing hybrid working and discussing practical considerations such as regular communication, technology, performance management and health and safety
• developing a company hybrid working policy could look at which roles are eligible, how someone can request it and any principles such as allowing remote working for a maximum number of days a week
• ensuring that staff who are working remotely are not excluded and have access to the same opportunities as those in the workplace such as team building activities, training and development
• how decisions whether to approve a request for hybrid working can be fair and transparent
• training line managers and staff to help them prepare for and manage hybrid working
• considering a trial period to see if it works and if any further adjustments to arrangements are needed
Acas states that a hybrid working arrangement can help businesses attract and retain a diverse workforce as well as increase staff productivity, as the flexibility allows employees to balance their work and personal responsibilities.