The hybrid workplace; a new normal?

Over the past year most businesses were forced to shut down any in-office operations in favour of remote working while the country battled with the pandemic. However, in recent months, and thanks to the valiant efforts of the NHS and volunteers to deliver on the vaccine roll out, many have started to introduce a hybrid way of working.

While this has some real benefits, perhaps unsurprisingly there are many mixed opinions on whether the part-office-part-home set up is going to work in the longer term.

Before Covid-19, progress on applying the idea of flexible working in the UK was described as “glacial”. Needless to say, like virtual meetings, it accelerated at a fast pace since March 2020.

I, for one, enjoy the practicality of a hybrid workplace, and I feel it has become a positive aspect of my working life. But as the saying goes “not everyone fits the mould”, and news broke recently that Wall Street Bosses in particular have a particularly glum outlook on the prospect of widespread hybrid workplaces.

A quote from the Chief Executive of JP Morgan Chase Jamie Dimon: “But it doesn’t work for younger people, it doesn’t work for those who hustle, it doesn’t work in terms of spontaneous idea generation, it doesn’t work for culture.”

I cannot say I entirely disagree but throwing the entire idea of hybrid working out the window does feel a little overzealous.

Statistically it has been found that remote working can increase productivity by up to 77%. However, this is just working remotely a few times a month. Working entirely from home does increase the likelihood of procrastination.

The average employee would prefer to balance the time they are in the office and at home. This will require a culture shift and for workplaces to establish new ways of working but in the end, it could bring greater returns.

Reducing in office hours provides the opportunity to reduce facility costs, increase employee wellbeing and further support inclusion and diversity.

The pandemic has brought with it a plethora of government guidelines which with it have made hybrid working a more viable option; with many still waiting to be vaccinated and others still vulnerable.

Ultimately, it’s important to look inwards and evaluate the culture within your own organisation, and what will work best for you.