A wide range of research, including a YouGov survey and CIPD research, indicate that after the pandemic the majority of workers want to continue to work from home at least some of the time, presenting new opportunities for organisations to establish new ways of working.
The CIPD’s Embedding new ways of working post-pandemic report shows that some 40% of employers said they expect more than half their workforce to work regularly from home after the pandemic has ended. According to data from the Office of National Statistics, prior to COVID-19 only around 5% of the workforce worked mainly from home. The pandemic, and government mandates for people to stay at home, increased this significantly. However, according to CIPD research, before the pandemic, 65% of employers either did not offer regular working from home at all or offered it to 10% or less of their workforce. After the crisis, that 65% is expected to fall dramatically to 37%. This represents a significant shift in ways of working which people professionals will need to prepare for.
While some employees want to work from home all the time after the pandemic, most would prefer a balance where they are in the office for some of the week and at home for the remainder. This has led to the use of a relatively new term: hybrid working. Many organisations are now considering what ‘hybrid’ means for them, how they might meet this new employee demand, and what will need to be in place in order for these new ways of working to be effective.
For most organisations, the introduction of hybrid working will require a significant culture shift and establishing new ways of working and associated policies and practices. We can learn some lessons from working from home during pandemic, however, in some ways hybrid will make greater demands of managers and organisations than the urgent shift to total remote working.
With the vaccine roll out offering a potential return to the workplace for current homeworkers later in 2021, how, why and what should organisations think about implementing a hybrid approach?