Remote Working

Outlook: Hybrid Working in the U.K.

There is a “working practices” revolution taking place in the U.K. and throughout the rest of the world.  

While the office is expected to remain an integral part of any organization, the focus is shifting from the size and amenities of the office environment to how the office can be optimized for employees who are finding themselves at greater liberty in choosing where to work based on their priorities and the work activities they’re accountable for.  

Since the onset of the pandemic, organizations in the U.K. have discovered that having a hybrid or remote workforce has had a very little negative impact on their expected levels of production.  

In fact, hybrid work environments are being linked to accelerated levels of productivity.  It’s a phenomenon that’s expected to continue driving the adoption of these hybrid work environments across the U.K. as more companies are giving their workers greater control in deciding whether they want to commute to the office or would rather work from home. 

Now that just about every company has had to experiment with some form of hybrid work environment in order to slog through the pandemic, almost 85% of the workers in the UK will tell you they’re continuing to be just as productive or even more productive than they were a year ago.  

To be clear, a hybrid work model follows a schedule that gives employees the opportunity to work from home a few days of the week with the expectation that they will return to the office for the balance of the workweek.  It will continue to be the preferred model for workers in the U.K. for the foreseeable future.  

In fact, a recent survey showed that 57% of workers in the United Kingdom reported that they would prefer a blend of working from home and the office – something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by HR professionals and recruiters who have already had success using hybrid work environments as a recruitment strategy.

If we ask the employers in the U.K. what their outlook is for hybrid work, less than half would tell you that they plan on requiring all their employees to return to the office full-time in the coming year.  That means the majority of the U.K.’s employers plan to continue embracing the hybrid work concept and the technologies that make hybrid workers more productive. 

In the final analysis, organizations now know that there’s just no going back to the pre-pandemic world and, whether they like it or not, hybrid work environments are going to become the standard operating model of most organizations in the U.K. over the course of the next 12 months.  The key thing for organizational leaders to remember is that hybrid work environments are inevitable if you want to compete in the modern marketplace.   

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Hybrid Work Policies

Over the past two and a half years, thousands of employees and employers in the U.K. were forced to find a way to adopt a hybrid work model.  For many organizations, it was their first time.  Now that we’re hopefully putting the COVID pandemic in the rearview mirror for good, employers have seen how hybrid work can make positive contributions not only to productivity but also to their workforce’s state of mental well-being.  Here are a few examples of hybrid workforce policies that have been adopted by a few of the U.K.’s most visible companies:  

Unilever – recently declared that its workers would never return to their desks full-time.  At present, there are different hybrid working models that are being piloted by multinational consumer goods companies.  The stated goal is to offer all Unilever employees flexible employment options by 2030.  

HSBC - The bank announced in April 2021 that it would allow its 1,200 U.K. call center employees to permanently work from home should they choose to do so.

British Airways – Even as early as March 2021, the airline notified its staff that plans to offer more flexible working environments would be accelerated with most employees being allowed to split their time between home and the office.

PwC – the auditing firm implemented a flexible working policy for its 22,000 workers in April 2021, allowing them to spend 40–60% of their time working from home.  PwC also experimented with giving employees Friday afternoons off during the summer as an extension of its policy.

Asda – In July 2021, the British supermarket chain put a permanent hybrid working model in place under the title of ‘Work where it works’ with no expectation for how many days employees would be required to be at the office.

Regulations for Hybrid Workers

Hybrid work regulations are a formal outline of expectations detailing where, when, and even how your existing employees and newly recruited talent will operate in your organization’s hybrid work environment.  

That may sound easily achievable, but when one considers the myriad responsibilities that each member of a given workforce is accountable for, it quickly becomes apparent that writing regulations with clarity and without bias is an effort that requires focus and collaboration with all organizational leaders.

It is crucial to remember that the process of crafting your organization’s hybrid work regulations should be a “two-way” process meaning regulations should be designed with solicited input from your existing employees.  For example, it is common for hybrid employees to prefer commuting to the office on Mondays and Fridays while other workers may prefer other days.  There are also expectations on how soon email messages must be responded to once they’re sent and what times employees must be online when they’re working remotely.  You will discover a number of dynamics as you implement your hybrid work environment, but it’s most important to be gathering feedback from employees as you write your regulations. 

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Key Statistics

-The term “remote jobs” is searched for over 18,000 times per month in the UK on Google. That’s an increase of over 400% over the last five years!

-More than eight out of 10 workers in the United Kingdom want a hybrid work environment to be offered to them in the future.

-Over 60% of high-growth companies use ‘productivity anywhere’ as a workforce model with a hybrid work.

How Hybrid Workforces are Impacting Recruitment Strategy

Hybrid work environments in the United Kingdom (as well as the rest of the world) have yielded new strategies in employee recruitment, including the adoption of “hybrid recruiting” techniques that successfully harness the latest innovations in HR technology to help recruiters and HR professionals attract and retain the top talent on the market, including the ability to let applicants “self-schedule” interviews using their smartphones and adopting a virtual interviewing process.

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With the current labor market being as fiercely competitive as it is, organizations are winning this battle by making strategic investments in new HR tech that can accelerate workplace efficiencies and allow recruiters to cast a wider net for talent.  

For example, robust applicant tracking systems (ATS) are becoming one of the most resourceful software technologies that are being adopted by a wide array of organizations across the U.K. to help recruiters attract and retain talent for a workforce that is expected to become increasingly more hybrid in nature.

Manatal – The Leading ATS in Recruitment

The U.K.’s hybrid workforces will continue to rely heavily on HR tech if they’re going to continue being successful. One of the companies leading the way in the development of HR tech that’s tailored to hybrid workforces not only in Europe but across the world is industry leader Manatal – a company with a sterling reputation of developing technical solutions that have solved a wide array of challenges associated with attracting, onboarding, and retaining the best talent.

Manatal has designed the market’s leading cloud-based applicant tracking system (ATS) and it comes absolutely loaded with useful features and applications, including automated technologies and artificial intelligence-enabled features that create more time for recruiters to spend on tailored recruitment efforts.  

Start 14-day free trial with Manatal now to discover how our platform can accelerate your business for the hybrid workforce of tomorrow.

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