The Future Of Work Is Hybrid

Posted in : HR Updates ROI on 18 August 2021
Caroline Reidy (McEnery)
The HR Suite
Issues covered: Hybrid Working; Flexible Working

After the pandemic, research shows that the vast majority of those working want to continue working from home, even on a part-time basis, which presents new opportunities for companies to establish new ways of working.

Although a definitive definition of hybrid working ceases to exist, the term can have various meanings for different companies and industries. Essentially, the term hybrid working refers to the arrangement between an employer and an employee, where the employee works, interchangeably, at home and in the office. Currently in Ireland, all employees can ask their employers for the right to work remotely, but there is no legal framework around how a request should be made or how it should be dealt with by the employer.

At this moment in time, the Irish Government are in consultation to creating a framework for employees on the right to request remote working which will permit employees to request remote working so that it would form part of their terms and conditions of employment.

In March of 2020, a drastic change in how people work became visible which gave employers the push to allow employees to work remotely. As staff members are beginning to return to the workplace, employees have began requesting that the company they work for introduce the hybrid model on a fulltime basis.

The process of implementing hybrid working will vary between organisations, and may also vary between the different departments within an organisation. It is important to note that these new ways of working should be tailored to the unique needs of the individual, team or department within an organisation.

While the previous 16 months can be viewed as being an experiment and could be labelled as being frantic for a lot of workers, it has been a positive experience for many employees and, as a result, 80 per cent of employees have demanded to work remotely or work in a blended environment when the Covid-19 restrictions end. This new finding is according to Amarach Research.

Employers are encouraged to discuss the hybrid working dynamic with all employees, and decide what the general consensus is. This can be competed through an employee questionnaire and will involve assessing roles to gauge how much remote working can continue in the future.

It’s important to remember that jobs can be time flexible, location flexible, or a mix of both. Most jobs are typically comprised of several types of activity which influence the type of flexibility that can be undertaken.

The balance of the following activities can assist employers when consider whether a role can be hybrid and how much remote work can be undertaken:

  • Activities that are undertaken with other people, at the same time and at the same place may not permit hybrid working, or only a minority of time spent working remotely.
  • Activities that are undertaken with other people at the same time in person or remote. Such roles may be able to undertake some hybrid or remote working.
  • Activities that are largely independent and can be undertaken anywhere or at any time. These roles may permit a significant amount of remote working.

Although catering to all employees’ preferences and expectations is a difficult task, when workers are able to work within their preferred style this can help them to be productive, support employee engagement and is also good for wellbeing. Employees should be made aware that personal preferences cannot all be met, and be provided with a timeline for reverting with more information wherever possible. Also, it is important to note for many positions in many sectors, the hybrid working model will not work. However, it is important to remain open to the potential of the hybrid approach for those positions that can support it.

There are countless additional benefits for employers and employees who engage in a hybrid working dynamic, such as:

  • a better work life balance
  • less time commuting and being more proactive while in the office space.

It is also estimated that more than a million workers will benefit from tax breaks aimed at incentivizing remote a permanent basis in October's budget.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has expressively stated that he hopes that the working environment will not return to the way how we once used to work, but a new normal on people’s personal choice is.

How hybrid working needs to work and be managed in practice will vary extensively according to the type of work being undertaken. It is important that staff members should be prepared to collaborate with their team and adapt their approach as they learn what works and what does not. Workers may need to experiment with different methods and approaches to determine what works best for their particular situation.

It is also important to ensure that managers of remote workers are provided with support and the necessary training to implement a more permanent hybrid approach to work.

Annual Review of Employment Law 2021

Caroline Reidy will be speaking at our flagship Annual Review of Employment Law conference on the 24 & 25 November 2021.

Caroline's session 'Bullying at Work or Proactive Management?'  focuses on where does good management stop and unlawful bullying start as she provides realistic examples to guide you. You can view the full programme here.

This article is correct at 18/08/2021
Disclaimer:

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Caroline Reidy (McEnery)
The HR Suite

The main content of this article was provided by Caroline Reidy (McEnery). Contact telephone number is +353 66 710 2887 / +353 86 775 2064 or email info@thehrsuite.com

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