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Sarah Ryan, Consultant, shares five things to consider when shaping your hybrid working strategy – no matter where you are in your employee journey.
For anyone thinking of down-sizing permanent office in favour of more flexible working options, there’s a lot you can learn from the success of others. Last week, I looked at what the British electrical retailer, Currys had done well when launching its new hybrid-working strategy.
Currys announced it’s going to close its west London HQ in favour of partnering with a flexible office space group to allow its 1,400 office-based staff to work from 50 locations around the country. Currys has been clear that it took it a consultative approach to designing this strategy, speaking to colleagues about what they wanted and prioritising accordingly.
While there are great take-aways to learn from Currys approach, I started to think about how it could be ‘even better if…’ and so here is my list of:
Five considerations to take your hybrid working strategy to the next level
Hybrid working isn’t just a simple launch and go. Whether you’re shaping from scratch or revisiting a post-pandemic strategy, there are things you need to consider…
1. Continuously learning and improving
A successful strategy means more than just implementation in a one-off activation. It’s about a C-Suite commitment to a continuous dialogue with colleagues, specifically to learn what’s working, and what’s not. Your hybrid working strategy should be an ever-evolving process that includes regular check ins and set reviews to ensure feedback has been listened to and more importantly, applied to the strategy.
2. Keeping your company’s culture and brand alive wherever your people are
If working in a co-working space with other businesses, it’s essential for your employees to still feel part of your business. You do not want your colleagues feeling like a faceless freelancer popping in to hot desk – it’s important to carry your employer brand into your hybrid working world.
3. Ensure those in-person events really mean something
With regular face-to-face time no longer guaranteed every day, it’s crucial that in-person events and interactions are really well-thought through to make sure the benefits are really felt. Some organisations are taking a more festival-feel to their big annual get-togethers to ensure colleagues have some much-needed fun together, alongside getting their heads around the strategic journey ahead of them. That being said it’s also important to remember that while government restrictions mean the masks are off, not everyone is comfortable getting up close and personal; so an inclusive approach is needed.
4. Include everyone, including those who can’t work from home
While moving to a more flexible hybrid working strategy can be great for some office-based workers, it won’t be for all. It can be too easy to just listen to office workers from HQ but what about colleagues in-store roles? Those in other countries? Or what about shift workers? Listening to all colleagues about how they’re finding hybrid working is essential to improving employee experience.
Lately, our clients have shared that shift pattern colleagues are looking for greater ownership over their shifts as part of their considering what the ‘new normal’ looks like for them.
5. Dig deeper into how hybrid influences behaviour change & culture
Currys is bringing its office-based workers into stores which could close the psychological, as well as the physical, gap between its wildly different internal audiences. There are valuable insights to be gleaned from analysing the before and after impacts of physical proximity between colleagues on a business’ unique collaboration, culture and innovation capabilities. But collaboration with behavioural science, business psychology, organisational design and HR teams is vital to doing so.
COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated things over the last few years, but there are many other accelerating influences that will continue to shape the conversation for the foreseeable. Rising cost of living, impact of Brexit and nationalisation, climate change, the automation of the workforce, to name a few!
Discuss with our experts in employee experience how you can shape a continuously evolving hybrid working strategy – so the needs of your colleagues are always in hand.