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The P&C Conundrum - Flexibility & Hybrid Working

The P&C Conundrum - Flexibility & Hybrid Working
People and Culture Conundrum

Many of our recent conversations with HR managers now that we are beyond ‘post covid’ have focused on finding the right balance for hybrid working. When should employees be in the office and when is there flexibility to work from home? For some it has been a battle to get reluctant team members to come back enough or even at all. What was a perk, occasional flexibility to work from home for a particular reason is now seen by some as a divine right!

How to encourage team members back to the office

For those facing the challenge of bringing people back into the office there has been a range of approaches. Many in HR don’t want to say ‘you must’ and enforce employment contracts, playing the role of the bad cop. Some are trying to incentivize a return, offering additional benefits to office dwellers – more about how to entice employees back to the office in our Flexible & Hybrid Working – Is it here to stay report. Some are accepting it’s a battle they won’t win, moving to smaller offices to at least get a financial benefit from those working remotely.

Some are finding that one rule can’t be applied to all. Role differences mean that some jobs can still be done well in isolation whereas others need collaboration which is less easy online. For others there is a good reason why some roles need to be in the office because simply they can’t be done remotely or will be done less well.

Flexibility vs individuality, and attraction vs tenure

There is debate about whether to apply a flexible working model to the whole company or to keep it team specific with the risk of reduced engagement, an impact on culture or people operating in silos.

Some in HR have told us they are being held to ransom by both existing employees and by candidates refusing to take office-based roles. While it might be perceived as arrogant by a potential employer, these expectations are being supported by a candidate short market.

One approach is to write or rewrite a flexibility agreement or policy and use it as an attraction tool. Being upfront and consistent about what is expected reduces room for debate. Other benefits to convince candidates or employees to work from home less is that they will learn from others around them and become better at their roles. Mentoring can be much more effective in person and learning by osmosis from others doing their jobs well around you can be surprisingly beneficial.

While we are hearing a variety of challenges hybrid working is presenting and an even broader range of potential solutions, what seems consistent is it is a topic high up many HR manager’s priority lists.

Read more in our whitepaper: Flexible & Hybrid working – is it here to stay?, or talk to our HR Specialists Aarti or Lucinda.

What are you doing about this people and culture conundrum?
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