A new survey by Eurofound has shown that the majority of workers in the EU have a preference for working from home at least occasionally (if there were no COVID-19 restrictions), with the most popular preference being a hybrid way of working (32%). Many businesses are still figuring out what ‘hybrid’ means for them, and how they can adapt to this new trend to remain effective.
For most companies, the introduction of hybrid working will require a significant shift in the work culture and developing new policies and practices. Businesses who do not support flexible forms of working risk having increased employee turnover and reduced employee engagement. They can also seem less attractive to jobseekers and potential hires. So, what should companies think about when implementing a hybrid approach?
Conduct a risk assessment
Since the start of the pandemic, a lot has been said about employers listening to their employees’ needs. But it is just as important for company owners to also listen to their business’ needs. Before developing a relevant policy, employers should consider doing a risk assessment to explore the potential impact of hybrid working not only on their staff, but also on their company. This assessment will help business owners to make more informed decisions about which roles can work remotely, the number of teleworking days per week/month, and the locations from where staff are allowed to work (e.g. if the employee is in a different time zone, their working hours might need to be shifted to fit the business’ core hours).
Ensure equal treatment
When developing your company policy on hybrid working, make sure your guidelines are fair to all employees and do not discriminate against age, disability, gender, marital status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion, sex and sexual orientation. It is important to consult with your HR department or with an external specialist to prevent your new policy from causing tensions among your employees and from making you liable to lawsuits. Another thing to keep in mind is ensuring that teleworkers are not treated differently from full-time office workers.
Build employer−employee trust
When COVID-19 forced companies to close their offices and teleworking became the norm, many employers raised the issue of monitoring and making sure that staff do not abuse their new ‘freedom’. In their efforts to feel in control, some business owners put in place monitoring systems that were seen as an invasion of workers’ privacy. The feeling of constantly being watched can be demoralising for employees and can make staff feel untrustworthy. Monitoring should be transparent and only cover what is required for the business. This means ensuring your employees are safe and completing their tasks is more important than tracking how many hours they spend actively working in front of the computer.
As restrictions ease, employees are preparing to return to the workplace and may be wondering what this will look like. Here are our top four tips for welcoming staff back to their place of work.
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- Publication date
- 3 August 2021
- European Labour Authority | Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
- Business / Entrepreneurship
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