The Covid pandemic has prompted many employers to reconsider their working structures with a large number taking a more flexible approach to returning to the office. Some employers might be making a full return, while others will continue to work remotely from home and some even considering a mix of the two. This hybrid approach is a model that has been adopted by some well-known companies, such as Spotify and BP, but it is an approach that needs to be considered carefully before making any decisions as to whether it is right for your company.

If you are considering implementing a hybrid approach to working, it’s important to take into consideration a range of factors before making the final decision. Firstly, you will need to establish what is meant by a hybrid approach and think about just how flexible you want this to be. These are our top tips for establishing flexible working arrangements successfully:

Have a clear definition of ‘hybrid working’
Are you going to set clear expectations of how much time/which days people are expected to spend in the office and at home? Will you adopt split working patterns or a rota for who is in the office, and when?

Will hybrid working be available for all employees?
You will have to decide whether this flexible style of working is suitable for all roles or whether some roles will be exempt from your hybrid working model. There may be certain job types that cannot be performed at home, so you will need to make your expectations clear.

How flexible do you want the arrangement to be?
Do you want your staff to stick to their contracted hours or is there some flexibility in this? In some situations, you might wish to agree a schedule ,whereas for others you might give them total flexibility in the hours that they work.

How will staff apply to work flexibly?
Any change as to where an employee is required to work will create the need for a statutory flexible working request under section 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996. You must ensure that you comply with the statutory procedure which enforces strict time limits with the decision-making process, allowing the employee to appeal the decision if they don’t get exactly what they requested.

Rosa dos Santos, owner of Exact Sourcing, believes that there are a lot of considerations to be taken into account before deciding to adopt a hybrid working strategy. “Hybrid working is not necessarily an approach that will suit everybody, nor is it suited to every role within a business,’ says Rosa. ‘Employers need to look at all roles and decide on an individual basis whether hybrid working is feasible. It can also be difficult to say that a flexible working arrangement will suit everybody who carries out one particular role as some people may need more face-to-face supervision or may not be as self-motivated as others and would therefore struggle to carry out their role successfully from home. Employers also need to consider what impact flexible working arrangements will have on other colleagues – will they be able to carry out their role effectively, for example? Hybrid working is a relatively new model, so needs to be thought through carefully before adopting it for your own business. That said, it is an arrangement that can work incredibly well, providing everything has been considered beforehand. It is also useful to include your employees in any discussions and seek their point of view before making the final decision.”

Exact Sourcing is a recruitment agency in Cambridge and Newmarket, also serving Ely, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Royston and Sawston. If you’re looking to expand your staff or migrate to a hybrid working model, why not contact us for an initial conversation?