Hybrid Working – The New Normal?
The government’s guidance on working from home is due to change on 21 June 2021. Employers should consider whether they want their staff to return to the workplace full-time.
The BBC News recently reported that most of the UK’s 50 biggest employers do not intend to bring staff back to work in their offices on a full-time basis. These employers are planning a mixture of home and office working, either on a permanent or trial basis.
The benefits of “hybrid working” include greater flexibility and work-life balance for employees. This means employers can reap the benefits of increased wellbeing and productivity. In addition, if hot desking is adapted so it is deemed safe in Covid times, the overheads of running a large office space can be reduced.
But the downside of home working may also include lack of control, low productivity and damage to team culture and collaboration, particularly for trainees and those less experienced. It is therefore vital for employers to evaluate whether this new form of “hybrid working” actually benefits their business.
We would advise that employers insist that office working should remain the default, with employees being required to submit formal requests for flexible working to be considered on an individual basis. Each request would be considered in line with the business’s needs. Extra care should be taken in relation to considering requests that relate to equality issues, such as disability and childcare.
If an employer wants to allow everyone to work flexibly, a clear policy should be in place to set rules and expectations. This could include a review in 6 months’ time so that if hybrid working is not working then the employer could revert back to insisting that everyone works from the office.
We are offering a free Hybrid Working Policy which you may find helpful. Please contact us to obtain a copy and to sign up to our newsletter.
If you need specialist Employment Law advice in relation to deal with increased requests for flexible and hybrid working please contact our Employment solicitors on 01273 609911, or email email@example.com. This includes implementing new hybrid-working policies and/or checking that any existing policies are fit for purpose.