Hybrid working may bring unseen difficulties
When considering home working and the degree to which many organisations have adapted during the pandemic, there is now an increased expectation for employers to consider adopting a “hybrid” working model, that balances home and office working, rather than fully returning to the traditional office.
The implications reach beyond office space and buildings, however and it is important that employers consider the effect on the way their staff are managed when working away from home. Issues may occur in the following areas:
Conduct and Grievances
There has not been the same opportunity for misconduct and conflict to arise but it is also important not to ignore employee relations’ issues. Honest conversations still ought to occur and poor or inappropriate behaviour should be managed.
Formal Flexible Working
Whilst there has been a general acceptance that informal flexible working will occur; such as accommodating home schooling, altering start and finish times and so on, it is important to remember that formal requests for flexible working should still be considered appropriately.
For many businesses, the annual appraisal has fallen by the wayside in the last year. However this may result in difficulties in managing poor performance going forward. In order to maintain standards and expected productivity levels, the formal appraisal process should not be left behind.
General sickness absence levels have fallen during the pandemic but reports of mental ill health have increased significantly. It is important that managers are properly equipped to deal with the effects of this mental health impact in the workplace, in the future.
These areas will need to be carefully considered by employers as we move into the new “normal”. Effective training for managers must be a priority in order for them to be able to deal with the new style of management that will come with hybrid working. In addition, it will be vital to set out clear methods of communication with teams, in order that staff can access their managers regularly and swiftly, as issues arise; regardless of where their office base is situated.