Hybrid Workforce – How we got the balance right

Did you know, in 2018 in the UK, 4.3 million people considered themselves remote workers, and three-quarters of these people came from the highest skilled areas of the economy?

Three years on and coming out of a global pandemic, a survey conducted by Economics observation focused on 20-64-year-olds during March and April of 2021. The study showed that 47% of respondents were still fully working from home and 40% of them had returned to the office, the rest made up a hybrid solution. During the pandemic, businesses were backed into a “working from the home corner”, very few would have considered this before 2020 however one positive to come out of the pandemic is that very few have noticed negative effects. With candidates asking more consistently for remote working opportunities, now is the time for businesses to decide on how to move forward with working patterns.

With the backdrop of the last 18 months creating a huge change to the world of work, at KDR we felt the need to listen to our employees and allow them to have their say in what they would like going forward.

This week we have put in place a hybrid scheme to start from the 21st June 2021, where we work 3 days in the office and 2 days at home. We felt it was necessary to allow our team to continue doing what they love with the flexibility of either coming into the office or working from their homes. Importantly we are not stipulating which days they come in on.

Why the Hybrid model?

  • Continued work-life balance
  • Importance of flexibility and choice over working patterns
  • Less commuting time (less stress)
  • To help with collaboration (those water-cooler moments/idea generation/aha moments)
  • Teamwork (we have lots of new starters and it really helps to learn from those around  – phone skills, industry knowledge, process flows etc)
  • Culture – (we have created a fantastic culture and want to help the continuation of that through face to face contact)

We think it’s important to put your employees first however whichever route is offered needs to also work for the business.

Another area of huge change is our adoption of an office dog policy (our secret favourite!). Over the last year, we noticed many of our employees gaining new companions whilst working from home. We, therefore, introduced a KDR Dogs Policy because we don’t want our employees having to leave their pets at home whilst transitioning back into the office. We are lucky at KDR to enjoy a really good culture regardless, however, studies into allowing pets in the office have proven to help lower stress levels, increase employee satisfaction levels and promote positive interactions amongst team members.

2020/21 has heightened the world’s attention on remote working. Moving forward we have all learned how important it is to make sure we are ready for, or at least open to, change because it brings previously unthought-of benefits.

Here are some questions you should ask before deciding whether or not a hybrid scheme is for you.

  • Does the role function require someone to come into the office? Is the location really that important?
  • Success isn’t measured on the hours you spend in the office, will a flexible working pattern boost work morale and motivation?
  • Is there support for those wanting to remain at home? It is said that 30.9% of remote workers struggled with loneliness when working remotely. Do you have resources to check-in and have regular meetings to make sure they are coping?
  • The safety of your employees is key, and forcing those to come in after working from home for so long can be tricky. Has your office been set up to support those who may be struggling with a return to the office or unsure?
  • Is there an effective video platform set up to communicate with your fellow colleagues? It’s important to create a virtual community that works for everyone in the business.

It’s important for a business to not rush into anything or to force your employees to do something they may not feel comfortable doing. Make sure there is a clear plan of action to allow Hybrid working to help not only your employees but to help your business succeed beyond Covid-19. Flexible working will only work if there is communication and acknowledgement from each individual and trust within the company that their job can be done from home. To keep your company culture alive and strong it’s important to consider what would work well with your employees as well as the business. Looking to other’s can help provide some answers but ultimately clear communication with individuals within your own business both before the formulation of the “new normal” during and after will ensure everyone is comfortable at each stage of the transition.

KDR Recruitment is the home of the best data, technology and analytics jobs. For more data industry news and views check out the KDR blog or follow KDR on LinkedIn.

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