Traditions: “A brief principle, or way of acting that people in a particular society or group have continued to follow for a long time” (Cambridge Dictionary).
Traditional office life means everyone is under one roof and you have the team working together and collaborating. Everyone commutes in daily, all by different modes of transport, from different areas. For a lot of business owners, actively seeing their staff work eases their mind that their staff are actually working, being productive. Is this an assumption or a fact?
When it comes to creative roles and environments the business may well work best when everyone is together, where you can have direct conversations and bounce of one another. Similar to a sales environment, you may find the team performs best when the team is actually together. On the flip side, does an IT or administration team need to be in the office full time if the roles are mainly computer focused?
Since the start of the pandemic how have your employees been working? Many of us were forced to work from home and regardless of how a business originally operated we all had to adapt.
How do you and your employees interpret a return to work as many have been working the whole time, just in a different place? As restrictions eased, some companies have gone straight back to traditions, some have continued their staff working from home, while others are adopting or considering a new way of working, “Hybrid working”.
Hybrid working is defined as “a type of flexible working where an employee splits their time between the workplace & working remotely.” (ACAS)
If you are to create a new way of working, you need to think about the logistics and how that will function. For instance, do you need certain people at the office at the same time/on the same days? Will there be a set number of days when people must come into the office, or will you keep it flexible and dependent on the person? Does every employee even need to come into the office? And how will you ensure no one is left out?
Having a clear hybrid working policy is key, so expectations are clear, and people know where their main place of work is (i.e., at home or in the office). Do you have a flexible working policy in place already?
Please note that employees that have been with you for a certain amount of time have the right to request flexible working (hybrid). It is important that you define when people are required to come in, perhaps you need to review staff contracts. One thing to also bear in mind is once you change or adopt a new way of working it is very difficult to then go back to before.
What is the environmental impact of having everyone back in the office vs a hybrid working model? Would you look to reduce your office space if you did have hybrid working? You will need to consider the cost implications of a change to your business operation, reducing your space may mean you eventually save money. In terms of future recruitment, you would have access to a wider pool of talent if you were to adopt a Hybrid working model, have you considered having certain roles based remotely?
How has the business been operating since the pandemic? Have you managed to grow? Did you turn over a profit? Before you make any changes, you need to think about the plans you have for the next five years. Weigh up how have you operated in the last two years since COVID vs how where you operating before? Has there been any upward or downward trends in turnover and staff performance? Weighing up your options, challenging your own opinion and thinking about all avenues will help you decide what ultimately is best for your business.