Give a High Five to Hybrid Working
We love it – 2 days in the office and 3 days at home! If this is ‘the new normal’ then give a high five to hybrid working.
If there is one positive thing to take out of this negative situation we have all found ourselves in is that we now have hybrid working!
If anything is going to help with our mental wellbeing during these changing times is the fact that our working days are more fluid, flexible and more favourable to us – gone are the rigid 5 days a week in the office with no hope of escaping being bound to our desks (and colleagues we found challenging).
Hybrid working and your health
Working from home was the benefit of a few c-suite CEOs, managers and middle managers who had the luxury of saying “I am working from home”, now we can all say it and we can all enjoy the benefits that flexible working gives us and our families (as child care needs no long stresses us out).
Albeit we are still in shock from the pandemic and all things about the new big C are still worrying, one of the greatest benefits that has morphed from this nightmare is hybrid working and because of the pandemic the pendulum has shifted massively in favour of all employees not just the elite few deciding what days to go to work or work from home, freedom at last!
It is honest to say that nobody wants to return to the office Monday to Friday, 5 days a week (unless it is their personal choice) – but quite frankly good riddance to this business model – if your organisation is one of the good ones, then meetings are abound with best practices of working 2 days a week in the office and 3 days from home (or vice versa).
Needless to say if any employers demand you back in the office full time, then they are not thinking about the wellbeing of employees and are stuck in the old 2019 ways. It’s like using horse and cart when we now have cars. The time is now to let go of the chains and reins of being in the office.
PWC conducted a timely survey in March 2021 and found that 25 per cent of employees preferred mostly virtual but some face to face, only 13 per cent preferred face to face but some virtual and a whopping 34 percent like the split – the majority therefore rules this time, hybrid it is!
XpertHR has also researched and revealed that 97% of UK organisations have deployed some form of hybrid working, it would be silly not to quite frankly. The profit and loss figures clearly show that profit, performance and productivity are exponentially high from March 2020 to now so why change a good thing.
With each passing day it will be evidence-based research that will now play a significant part in how we develop hybrid working, job designs, office requirements and office locations as it is clearly transparent for every business manager, CEO, office manger, practice manager that this new business model is here to stay.
Hybrid working and your career
Whist hybrid works for work, does it affect promotions, progression and overall career performance?
Hybrid working has shown it is actually a great aid for team bonding, practice development and professional performance. Having a designated ‘team’ day in the office makes bonding more pleasurable as it is only for 1 day, 2 day maximum, and takes the pressure off busy professionals who can now enjoy meeting (or tolerating) their team mates, who look forward to coming in the office and chatting more authentically with colleagues as they know by tomorrow they are working from home and will not see them for a few days!
This new way of team bonding, networking, sponsoring with hybrid will continue to be developed as professionals still need to be seen. Hiding behind Zoom is counterproductive to promotion and this is where still going into the office is a must for professionals looking to climb the career ladder, with their presence and personality, in the office. Whilst Zoom is great new relationships cannot be built – we still need to press flesh as the saying goes for handshakes.
Least we not forget that hybrid working will now have to become part of any reputable firm’s remuneration package and will become a deal breaker in obtaining, maintaining and retaining talent. People have found the value of being at home more so than money and will be looking for hybrid to be on the negotiation table when discussing recruitment drives and initiatives.
Future of hybrid
Hybrid working is here to stay irregardless of what is happening; it’s time for employers to adapt and to understand hybrid working will help enormously with mental wellness and wellbeing as employees for the first time in history feel in control of their lives.
Hybrid is now a conversation of working where, working when and working how and as long as we remain productive, our performance stays high, and promotions are still occurring then working in person or at home is a personal choice not an employer choice and with even the Government proposing employees have the right to request flexible working from the moment they start work, then you know it’s serious.
Finally, we now really have that work life balance!
Jannette Brimm is a leading Business Skills Specialist for lawyers and law firms. Having worked for Dentons, Boodle Hatfield, Maples and Calder in the Cayman Islands Jannette has spent many years working and helping lawyers to develop their business soft skills. She shares her business acumen, personal development and business development know-how to help lawyers with their performance development programmes, business development objectives and partnership preparedness programmes. Jannette also works with law firms supporting their Wellbeing, Women’s Leadership, Firm Induction and Career Development programmes. She is an SRA Approved Trainer, certified TAP Trainer and an Occasional Contributor to the Law Society.