Creating a hybrid working model
Be intentional around the signals you’re sending people — the business case for hybrid working is strong. Consequently, leaders wishing to simply return to ‘business as usual’ will have to clearly communicate what decisions around future ways of working are being taken and why.
Clarify what is expected and meant by ‘hybrid working’ — currently, hybrid working models mean different things to different people. Leaders therefore need to be clear about how they envision ‘hybrid working’ happening: can individuals work all-remote if they choose? Or are the boundaries of hybrid working within a certain parameter (for example, between 1-4 days remote)? You could consider using the following language when discussing hybrid working:
- High-intensity remote worker (remote working 4-5 days a week)
- Hybrid remote worker (remote working 2-3 days a week)
- Low-intensity remote worker (remote working 1-2 days a week)
Be clear about who owns the decision around how people can work — research suggests that managers greatly value having discretion over ‘ways of working’ decisions and prefer to deal with requests for remote working on a case-by-case basis.3 But in some organisations, leaders at the top may no longer want to keep the decision at manager level. Make sure it’s agreed who owns the decision around hybrid working and co-create the criteria upon which decision making will be based.
Get aligned as a senior leadership team — hybrid working can be a contentious issue, and many senior leaders will have strongly differing beliefs. What your leaders believe, communicate and role model will determine what people do. Conversations around the drivers behind people’s beliefs therefore need to be taken into consideration. Otherwise, you could end up sending your workforce mixed messages.
Keep all changes to people’s ways of working under review — businesses need to offer people clarity on hybrid working models sooner rather than later, but these models shouldn’t be set in stone now. Keep any changes under review for 6-12 months with measures in place to gauge the impact the change is having. If new ways of working are being implemented, work out what indicators will be useful to track, how feedback will be gathered, and over what time period.