As we begin to see some chinks of post lockdown light so it is that HR teams are now starting to think about what working arrangements might look like in the future. Talking to clients, it’s clear that there are three camps here - everyone back to the office, everyone working from home most of the time and the more popular hybrid: part office, part remote.
So, if hybrid working is the future in most cases then how does HR handle this? The pandemic has taught us that predicting the future is near on impossible and organisations may want to keep some flexibility to cope with how things might change later on. They might even want an increased focus on in-office working at some point for their own reasons even If they start off with a hybrid focus.
Polices I’m already seeing are focusing on keeping arrangements flexible and informal. If someone is underperforming I may want a return to the office, if lots of training or collaboration is happening I reserve the right to require you to come in. However, herein lies the problem:
It's still little known to Joe Public that, since 2014, those with 26 weeks service can apply for permanent flexible working (which could include a fixed home working pattern). The legal route has traditionally been something taken by those returning from maternity leave and pre-Covid everybody else probably thought that any request to work from home would be rejected. Now we have proven it’s possible and mostly works could we see a big increase in those seeking fixed contractual changes so that they are guaranteed home working?
The more we pack future hybrid policies with rules and conditions the more likely it is that we drive people towards making a legal request for permanent, contractual changes to their working arrangements. Now, this may not feel much of an issue if we are all happy with our people home working. But with that future flexibility insurance you might want, it may pay to be as reasonable as possible when you start to write that hybrid working policy!
Join us for our free webinar on Apr 14th 930am to 1030am Managing Performance for Results in a Hybrid-Working World!