Before you make the leap and move your office space or cancel a lease, there are lots of things to consider about hybrid working.
Hybrid working is one of the hottest trends in business because in theory, it suits everyone. In an ideal world your team will work flexibly, productively and harmoniously while saving your business lots of money in rent.
But in practice hybrid working can be like putting a collar on your cat to stop them eating at the neighbour’s house – a poor solution and even a waste of money.
So before you break the hybrid working news to your team, let’s think about the pros, cons and things to consider.
1 – What the people want
It’s easy to assume that hybrid working will be great for everyone. I mean, who doesn’t want to work from home in slippers for half of the week and get to enjoy the office social life for the rest of it?
But hybrid working can be a hassle for parents, people with anxious pets and those with a longer commute.
We would recommend asking your employees what would work for them. Would they prefer a 3/2 day split? Would they like to come into the office for only 1 day a week? Would they rather not come in at all?
You might be surprised at what they say.
2 – The logistics
Now that we know what the people want, let’s look into how it will actually work.
Firstly, you will more than likely be able to downsize your office space by at least 50% as only half or less of your employees will be in on a given day.
You could even choose to use hot-desking – where all of your employees share desks – to save more space and money.
This is all great news, but the planning aspects can be tricky. You might want to consider organising a digital rota so that everyone on the team knows who is at the office on any given day for meetings and training sessions.
You can try to keep things organised and limit the number of people in the office from each team or you might want to let it be a free for all. The former option lends itself to team mixing and outside department collaboration, whereas the latter lends itself to a more flexible approach.
To help with this we’ve just added a nifty Desk Booking tool to our HR Software that will allow your team to book a seat in your office in seconds, and see who else is booked in for that day. Best of all, this feature allows you to set employee limits on your premises, so you don’t have too many people on your premises at one time.
The final logistical thing to consider is equipment – your employees won’t want to carry a laptop, extra screen and keyboard with them on the train.
So you might have to invest in two work setups for your team.
3 – Putting it into practice
Don’t cancel your lease yet. A safe way to test out hybrid working is to try it out for a month.
A trial month will let you iron out the kinks and gather feedback from your employees before it’s too late.
The last thing you want to do is look for another office space to fit all of your employees after cancelling your lease on the last one!
Hybrid working can put a big strain on your company culture, so it’s best to seek feedback from your employees still working from home too.
Communication and management between the office and home can be tricky, so it’s best to work with your management team to ensure that all bases are covered with the right tech and strategies.
For those choosing to work from home, things can become difficult when you introduce hybrid working. Fear of missing out is a powerful thing that can cause a divide and even animosity in your team. To remedy this, try to encourage your teams to hold regular meetings and social events that include everyone no matter their location.
4 – The finances
Although cancelling your lease might sound like a money saver now, you could potentially be faced with a much higher bill following a hybrid working model.
Be clear about what expenses can and can’t be claimed, ultimately it is for you to agree with your staff whether they can claim for travel into the office or superfast broadband at home.
The costs for additional equipment and the rent for a smaller office space can add up to a big bill at the end of the month.
This could majorly affect your outgoings and leave you rushing to return to remote working in a few weeks, so look into your finances before you take the leap!
5 – Contractual changes
Hybrid working can impact your contracts, so be sure to take some time to do the admin before it’s too late.
It’s okay to start off with a temporary arrangement – where we’ve all been asked to work from home, but be sure to update your contracts and job descriptions with your new working arrangements once they are agreed upon.
And finally, don’t forget to update your staff handbook and policies before you make the change.