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New report explains how to make hybrid working work

A new report from Change Associates, a management consultancy that specialises in organisational change, explains how organisations that choose to adopt hybrid working can make it work in the long term.

Based on interviews with leaders in a wide range of businesses, and surveys with more than 550 employees, the report, How to Make Hybrid Working Work, presents 10 ideas for introducing hybrid working successfully and examines in detail six key challenges that often get in the way.

“The report is not an attempt to persuade organisations to adopt the hybrid model,” explained Grahame Russell, Executive Chairman of Change Associates. “It’s not right for every company and it’s impossible for many.

“But for those that choose to embrace this way of working, the report provides practical tips and advice that will make implementation more simple and more successful.”

The report looks beyond the immediate aftermath of the pandemic to consider the long-term future of hybrid working, in which there is greater flexibility in where, when, and how people work.

Russell added: “Many employers adopted hybrid working with impressive agility. But none will claim to have got it right first time. Leaders need to take a step back and ask is hybrid working right for us in the long term? What do our employees want? And how do we set up hybrid working in a way that gives us a competitive advantage?”

The quick and dirty versions of hybrid working introduced by many companies as an emergency response to lockdown will need to be revisited.

This according to Change Associates requires the following approach:

  • Treat the introduction of hybrid working as a change programme
  • Understand the stories behind your data
  • Listen. Engage and empower your people
  • Recognise one size does not fit all
  • Focus on productivity over presenteeism
  • Remodel your space for new ways of working
  • Introduce outcome-focused performance management
  • Empower and train line managers
  • Change the behaviour of leaders – recognising they will often be hardest to change
  • Recognise and celebrate success

The six key challenges, which are analysed and addressed in-depth in the report are:

  • Fairness – Inconsistencies between leaders can lead to a perception of unfairness, impacting performance and collaboration
  • Trust – Leaders need to trust team members if hybrid working is to work – easier said than done with new recruits
  • Wellbeing – physical and mental health can suffer and are more difficult to monitor
  • Connection – communications, collaboration, recruitment, learning and culture-building become more difficult when employees aren’t together
  • Technology – digitalisation and automation change some roles beyond recognition and the current capabilities of some incumbents
  • Customers – remote working has tested customer service to breaking point for some well-known brands

The full report is available for download here.

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