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Hybrid working: report finds no perfect approach

An academic team at the University of Leeds has published a guide to effective hybrid working. The Future Workplace project outlines research examining Covid 19’s effect on employee and employer views on the definition of a workplace. In addition, the report offers advice for employers who may wish to establish hybrid working environments.

The research categorised five classes of hybrid working. These are:

  • Free hybrids;
  • Timeless hybrids;
  • Nomadic hybrids;
  • Fixed hybrids; and
  • Balanced hybrids.

The report notes that each type of working will have particular physical space implications for an organisation.

In a study of worker attitudes, the project surveyed 759 UK office workers and discovered that 72% preferred to work at the office at least once a week. 33% also stated that they did not have a dedicated workspace within their home. Less than 10% of respondents were trained for hybrid working and less than 20% of office spaces were said to be adapted to support hybrid working. A higher proportion (41%) were conscious of a formal hybrid working policy at their place of work.

The report advises that employers’ communication regarding hybrid working practices should be carefully calibrated to ensure tensions within the workplace are mitigated. It suggests that there cannot be a single policy that suits all employees within an organisation. An effective workplace utilizing hybrid working will require adaptions of working culture and procedures, organisational objectives and IT systems.

Helpfully, the report proposes methods that organisations may utilise to alleviate pressures or dangers that could arise upon implementation of a hybrid working policy. Guidance is given on how to construct a hybrid policy, with regard given to physical space within the workplace, in addition to overseeing employees.

The advice on workplace communication and methodologies is all the more welcome given that a recently published CIPD survey of employers has demonstrated there is a lack of consensus amongst employers regarding the continued use of hybrid working policies.

The second part of the report is due to be published in September 2022.