Hybrid-working, the office … and the human factor


AN 83 PERCENT majority of office workers reportedly say they prefer the hybrid working model.

From a leadership perspective, crafting effective policies to suit is a challenge. A third of UK workers report that their organisation’s approach to hybrid working has created greater silos, and a fragmentation of knowledge.

Hybrid working at home and in the office
A majority of office workers reportedly say they prefer the hybrid working model

The lack of clarity is impacting employee performance, morale, and wellbeing. Boundaries between work and home were once more clearly defined. Leaving the office meant leaving work behind and entering our personal space.

Continuously switching between workplace and home space can lead to employee burnout. We’re in “the Great Exhaustion” — and business leaders aren’t doing enough to help. Nearly two-thirds are said to fail to communicate working policies to their staff.

A different leadership style, based on clarity and communication — with a certain nuance and finesse — is needed. Leaders should be able to identify the signs of someone who is struggling. That is more difficult when half of the team is working remotely.

The key is in creating an environment where employees feel comfortable expressing their concerns and seeking support. Empathising with employees, encouraging connection and nurturing trust all reduce the burden.

Consider what staff need: not just in terms of personalities, but also circumstances. A parent will have different needs and expectations to a recent graduate. Then comes monitoring, but forget about workload and “presenteeism”: aim to cover workers’ needs. Digital tools, resource-management platforms and communication apps can help.

Hybrid workers and those “hot-desking” are constantly switching venues, and this alone can be detrimental to productivity and mental health. Just less than 60 percent of UK workers cited the issue of where to sit as the major stress factor in hot-desking. Again, tech can help — 61 percent would like the ability to pre-book their desks.

An effective hybrid work policy involves aligning the physical workspace with the flexibility of this dynamic model — and the human element. It’s time to reimagine office layouts to cater for in-office and remote work, using tech to better understand how to manage resources.

And the technology is here. Organisations need to review, refine and create policies and procedures to ensure their model works — for everyone.

Joe Harris is workplace technology specialist at Matrix Booking