With the controversial news last week that has the nation divided, UK employees could now be granted the legal right to work from home forever. With remote working being an enabler for a better work life balance for many, offering more flexibility, choice and for some organisations a more successful way of working. But is making it a legal right just a step too far? Could it result in more problems than it’s worth? And surely a Hybrid Approach is a much better ‘meet in the middle’ compromise? We put these questions to our team, exclusive associate network and our followers (325 responses) and here is what they had to say:
Do you think employees should be granted the legal right to be able to work from home?
“I can imagine it getting very messy, clearly some people cant work from home, so it creates a divide, but also an unclear boundary. The idea of companies being allowed to set their own policy and conditions, and the employees can decide where they want to work is a much better idea”.
“I would like to hear more about the benefits of each option, rather than the talking about ‘getting back to normal’ this is often missing”.
“From an engagement perspective there is so much opportunity in what organisations might choose to do next in this space. However I am not sure I agree with it becoming a legal right?”
The Hybrid Approach
The Hybrid working approach offers a blended model that provides a combination of some days in the week working in the office and some days working from home. With flexible working here to stay post pandemic and beyond, surely this is the best approach to take? Being able to strike a good balance, and gain benefits from both options. As of May 2021, 43 of UK’s biggest employers said that they do not plan on bringing staff back into the office full-time, but instead embrace a mix of both home and office. With over 70% of workers wanting remote work options to continue, but over 65% craving more in-person time with their teams (Work Trends Survey 2021), the best of both worlds seems ideal. Organisations that have already adopted the Hybrid Approach includes: Microsoft, Google, Adobe, Facebook & Amazon. However, evidently there are challenges ahead where this new way of working is concerned, and we have to question are organisations really ready for this change and can the model along with it’s benefits be sustained long-term?
In the long term, the only model of working that is going to be sustainable and get the best out of employees is the one that provides workers with choice and flexibility. But providing that the correct measures and processes are in place to be able to make it successful for both the organisation and the people. Challenges need to be addressed and changes need to be well thought out and implemented into organisations, such as:
- combating the ‘digital exahustion’ issue
- the way meetings are carried out when some employees are at home and some are in the office
- the correct technology is in place to cater for both scenarios
- the onboarding process and development for ‘new starters’ and ‘juniors’
- leaders going out of their way to make sure the company culture, team connection and bond remains strong
“We have proved we can work remotely but we do still need to carve out time for face-to-face interaction and opportunities”
“Why remove flexibility from businesses. An organisation that harnesses modern technologyy and working practices alongside looking after it’s employees will do best. Got to find the balance and middle way suited to the business”
“What about the new starters? Sitting next to someone you learn what works, and what doesn’t. There is a gap in new starters development that needs considering. The world is changing, and we will get there, but we need to understand the potential challenges, to ensure organisations do this in a way that continues to protect their people”
There is a huge focus on what the employees desire right now, but we have to be careful not to lose sight of what the organisation needs to thrive. There are many things to consider such as responsibilities and tasks, employee preferences, projects and workflows, inclusion and fairness. But most of all the longevity and sustainability of this approach will come down to: is it hindering or maximising the organisations overall success? Are the people benefiting in terms of their productivity, outcomes and career progression? Since this model is not ‘one size fits all’ for some organisations and employees in a range of industries, it just simply will not work.
“The success and longevity of the hybrid model will depend on the role / industry. Even in our professional services, we’ve demonstrated you can work from home for practically anything. However, we all know sometimes there is nothing better than being in a room, with people, planning and doing. It is more effective with that personal physical interaction”.
“There is certainly not a one size fits all solution that I can see, so why legislate?”
There has never been a more pivotal point in time where organisations are thinking so deeply about the future of work and how its going to play out for them. Our People & Culture practice at Tessiant can help you navigate these challenges, and complexities to help you reset and thrive during this change. Our experienced People and Culture Partners can help you manage the multitude of options available and embed the solution that is most effective for your organisation’s situation, culture and people. Get in touch today to find out about our ‘Resetting Your Organisation Toolkit’ or visit www.tessiant.com/people-culture/ to find out more.