The pandemic has completely transformed the way we work. Where business owners would previously have been hesitant to allow employees to work remotely, with lockdown regulations in place, they had to adapt to increased flexibility. But it’s to the benefit of employees and employers alike. In fact, blending remote working and in-house office working can provide the perfect balance to increase job satisfaction and staff retention.
Data suggests that providing staff with the option of working remotely or flexibly contributes an estimated £37 billion to the UK economy. This is due to fewer staff absences, a reduced need to commute to the office every day and other costs incurred from a more traditional way of working. Our experiences of working flexibly have changed considerably. Businesses have been forced to adjust and realign to reflect this new way of working.
Flexibility is a perk that many people look for when applying for a role, as more of us are seeking a better balance between work and home life. If they can find a company that is willing to be flexible, it makes the decision to stay in that role much easier. When companies focus on the factors that will influence a staff member to stay, such as job satisfaction, work-life balance and a comfortable work environment, they’re more inclined to be successful in their efforts.
Ease of working
Happiness, loyalty and staff retention have all been bolstered by the rise in hybrid working, giving individuals the opportunity to work from locations that suit their schedule and personal responsibilities while also getting their work done to schedule. The technological advances that are available now make working remotely much easier for so many businesses in a range of industries, which has benefited freelancers too. Now, we can still communicate with our colleagues, work collaboratively on projects and host meetings daily without needing to be in the same physical location.
Suited to different personalities
Not everyone functions at their best in a busy office environment, and while extroverts might be happiest going into the office every day to work in larger teams, introverts might prefer to work at home by themselves. This is where hybrid working comes into its own, giving staff the option to work where they’re most productive. According to the 2019 IWG Global Workspace Survey, staff working from home are as much as 85% more productive which provides benefits for both staff and employers, and results in a happier team who can work where they’re most comfortable.
Builds a culture of trust
Enabling your staff to work remotely, or choose how often they do so, inspires a culture of trust and honesty. Because ultimately, business owners need to trust their staff to work as they would in the office. And that’s something that can completely transform your entire business. In order for everyone to feel comfortable at work, honesty and integrity needs to be at the core. By letting staff have greater autonomy over their work environment, and building better communication channels to allow for successful working with distributed teams, you can create a company culture that’s built on honesty and openness.
How to adapt to hybrid working
Now you’ve seen the benefits that hybrid working can offer, how do you get started with working this way in your own business? Adapting your processes to suit flexible working need not take a long time. Plus it’s a worthwhile investment for your business, employee productivity and staff happiness. Taking part in dedicated training can help you to overcome the challenges that this way of working can raise, such as communication issues or team cohesion, so you can hit the ground running and start reaping the rewards of hybrid working faster.
Communication is more essential than ever when you’re working with people dotted in different locations, so make sure that your expectations are clearly conveyed to your colleagues and that your team members are aware of your workload and capabilities to hit deadlines. If meetings take place, make sure that there’s a round-up of all action points so that no-one is left wondering what the next steps are. Having these processes in place ahead of moving to a hybrid work model will make the switch more seamless and productive.
Businesses also need to invest in the right tools to enable teams to work together without needing to be in the office every day. That might mean collaborative tools or project/workflow management software to keep track of deadlines and tasks as they’re completed, so that everyone is kept in the loop at all times, regardless of where they’re working from.
Are you ready for a hybrid way of working?
The future of working is remote, and businesses that can get ahead of the game by setting up processes and systems now will benefit as more and more roles become flexible. Hybrid working doesn’t follow a one-size-fits-all model so it may take your business some time to experiment and find ways of working that suit your business goals and your staff.
But with happier employees, fewer absences and greater staff loyalty, it could be the best decision for your business. Stability in your team strengthens the company’s resilience and lowers recruitment and training costs. It provides a boost to morale, and can reduce stress and pressure on a team. Each of these factors in turn can contribute to better staff retention. And, when you have great workers who are happy and productive, holding on to them should be the core focus. Businesses that recognise the desire employees have for flexible working will not only enjoy a better retention rate but they’ll find it easier to attract top talent in the future as the business grows.