Most UK firms to adopt a hybrid working model, CIPD predicts

By Kate Birch
With remote workers happier at home but feeling pressure to be always available, businesses are urged to gear up for a hybrid hybrid working model...

Workers in the UK are happier working from home but also feel pressure to be always available, according to new research.

Following what has been a dramatic shift to remote working over the past year, a new report from Microsoft Surface and YouGov, finds that 87% employees reported their businesses have adapted to hybrid working and as such, this new way of working has been both positive and negative. 

According to the report, entitled Work Smarter to live Better, remote working has given employees the opportunity to live life in a different way with 55% using their lunch break to focus on their personal life and 56% reporting an increase in their levels of happiness working from home.

It's not all a bed or roses though with many reporting they are being stretched further in the work they need to deliver. One in three people report an increase in their hours while remote working, and more than half feel they have to be available at all times. Add to this the fact that the majority are missing seeing their colleagues in person, with 65% reporting that socialising is what they miss most about working from home, and employees are feeling the pressure. 

As a result of these new pressures, 36% of those surveyed said mental health and resilience resources were the most popular options when it came to choosing training to build remote working skills.

And while firms across the UK are currently taking a digital-first approach due to widespread remote working, few firms plan to have a 100% remote workforce for the long term with the most likely scenario one where firms adopt a hybrid working model, with the workforce split between working remotely and working in the office.

Being able to successfully support remote operations and distributed teams “is now indispensable for business resilience and innovation” says Howard Lewis, Surface Business Group Lead at Microsoft UK

Organisations to gear up for hybrid working model 

This means that organisations need to be geared up to provide the necessary resources to help support those workers choosing to work from home. 

According to Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at CIPD, the professional body for human resources and people development, due to this enforced homeworking situation caused by the pandemic “many people have been dealing with a range of additional pressures and anxieties” and because of this, it is crucial that “line managers ensure people are not overworking and provide flexibility and support to anyone struggling with any aspect of working from home”. 

Willmott urges leaders to “role model the behaviours they expect of others” and businesses to “focus more on equipping managers with the people management skills they need to manage and support home and remote workers”. 

He also recommends that employers do more to provide more flexible working opportunities to people whose jobs mean they can’t work from home by providing “greater use of practices such as flexi-time, job sharing and compressed and annualised hours”.

Here, the CIPD recommends four areas of focus for UK organisations and people professionals to help workers.

  • Support hybrid workers through good people management Design work processes that suit all locations, concentrating particularly on knowledge-sharing, coordination of work and team relationships to encourage performance and innovation
  • Ensure fairness of opportunity Provide ongoing access to development and career conversations for all employees
  • Put health and wellbeing front and centre Ensure that employees are not overworking and remind them about the importance of maintaining their physical and mental wellbeing and taking regular breaks, fresh air and exercise
  • Offer a range of broader flexible working options Go beyond remote working and look at introducing wider flexible working options like job shares, compressed hours and flexible start and finish times. Support flexibility from the start by recruiting flexibly and making the right to request Flexible Working a day one right.

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