It’s easy to forget that hybrid working was still relatively rare just a few years…
Sarah Ryan, Consultant, highlights what you can learn from British electrical retailer, Currys decision to closing its London HQ and moving to a more flexible working approach
It’s no secret that COVID-19 has pushed the development of hybrid-working strategies to the top of almost every single People Director’s list over the last few years – it’s something we’ve talked about a lot.
As governments around the world commit to their long-term COVID-19 strategies, organisations of all shapes and sizes follow suit. We’ve been waiting with bated breath for some of the big players to start migrating away from their expensive large city offices, towards more flexible and geographically spread-out options, and this week, Currys made headlines for doing just that.
It got me thinking. What have Currys done really well, and what could anyone following in their footsteps consider to ensure their strategy is similarly successful?
Currys has made some seriously strong hybrid-working moves by…
1. Listening to colleagues and making strategic changes based on their feedback.
This won’t be news to any HR, employee experience or internal comms professionals but there are still C-Suite execs yet to realise that their colleagues know a useful thing or two. Collaborating with colleagues on any hybrid working strategy will be vital to its success for more reasons than we can possibly list here, but it’s worth highlighting new research which shows companies where employees feel heard financially outperform those who don’t.
2. Committing to permanent office space for 400 colleagues in Central London by Waterloo station
At a far more convenient location for colleagues travelling from various locations around the Greater London area. Currys old office was based in Zone 3 in West London, incomparable to the new location with direct links to other areas of London. Unsurprisingly, longer commutes lead to decreased job satisfaction and increased risk of mental health issues, while shorter commutes have the opposite effect.
3. Ensuring there are a variety of physical places for colleagues to collaborate in person.
There are many studies and common-sense arguments for the value of collaborating and creating both virtually and in person. Each holds its own place in the hybrid working mix, which is why making space for both is so important. Going totally virtual might be more cost-effective and convenient in the short term, but remote working has been shown to decrease effective collaboration and communication. Which can make it harder for employees to acquire and share new information as well as solve business challenges.
4. Converting unused space in some of its stores into offices
The hope here is by closing the physical gap between colleagues on the ground supporting customers and those in offices will help bring divided teams closer. Consider the value that senior leaders and decision-makers could gain from walking through their stores and seeing what life is like for their in-store colleagues on a regular basis.
5. Enabling office-based colleagues to choose from 50 working locations across the country
A wider variety of locations helps to increase the talent pool from which Currys can recruit from and increases diversity which has been shown to increase feelings of belonging, as well as innovation and revenue.
As economic pressures to offer better hybrid-working experiences continue to rise, you can expect to see more organisations review their property portfolio and ways of working strategies in tandem. It’s going to be essential to keep existing talent and entice new people through the door.
If you’re part of a team considering what this might look like for your business then our message is clear: involve your colleagues in this conversation, anything that directly impacts colleagues should be co-created with them. Try to think beyond the obvious commuting and cost benefits; consider how to foster creativity and collaboration to close any gaps amongst groups of people who may be impacted by hybrid working.
If you’re interested in finding out how to do this and to ensure your hybrid-working strategy is a success – reach out and speak to our team of employee engagement, employee experience, workplace psychology and behaviour change experts.