Guest blog by Lucy Patchett, Novo-K Journalist.
Hybrid working – mixing remote and office-based hours – is now key for many employees, with a recent report revealing benefits of the new model extend to improved well-being, productivity and talent retention.
The pandemic has opened up possibilities for more control over where and when people work, which is a huge advantage enabling better mental health, commuting time and cost savings, and more flexibility for parents. Research by Microsoft, in conjunction with YouGov, found that 59% of HR decision makers (HRDMs) surveyed have observed positive changes to the mental health of their workforce.
Companies without hybrid working options risk losing employees and potential talent as 38% of HRDMs highlight not having it as a top risk, and 51% of UK workers would consider resigning if the option was removed.
Paula Page, Head of Recruitment and Resources at Novo-K, commented: “Hybrid working allows employees to feel valued and trusted by their employer. Working from home can lead to less distractions within the working day and, as a result, individuals may become more productive.
“The new working model gives individuals the opportunity to prioritise their personal life and to utilise the time that they would have otherwise spent commuting to, instead, see more of loved ones or to focus on their well-being. As it offers a more balanced approach to the working week, employees’ mental and physical health may experience significant positive changes. Employees will be more rested and focused, and will therefore be more of an asset to an organisation.”
Similarly, research by Gartner supports the need for sustainable, hybrid working which enables both high performance and positive well-being of employees. It revealed that HR managers that were equipped to do so have experienced 17% more workforce productivity, with employees 1.7 times more likely to stay at their organisation.
Caitlin Duffy, research director in the Gartner HR practice, highlighted: “Organisations must invest in resources to support managers and equip them with the skills they need for this new way of managing.”
However, the ongoing evolution to hybrid working has been a challenging one with HR professionals struggling with remote onboarding, building relationships with and between team workers, as well as concerns over immediate access to guidance for employees, and assimilating newbies into company culture.
According to Microsoft, 36% of HR managers felt remote onboarding makes it hard to provide effective, role-specific training for new starters, 35% were worried about lack of quick access to help, and 28% were concerned by the impact on culture and reputation.
Starting new jobs during the pandemic has been a learning curve for many as staff training has been coordinated remotely at many companies, with over a third of UK workers having experienced their entire onboarding process away from the office.
Over a third (37%) of HR managers agree that challenges around bringing new staff into a company remotely can be resolved or reduced through using the correct technology to aid its workers, according to the Microsoft survey.
Novo-K’s Paula Page advised on tips for good remote on-boarding:
- Welcome gift – Before an individual starts, send them a special gift along with any equipment that the new employee may need to be operational from day one, so that they feel prepared.
- Prepare induction plan – Send the new employee a plan for their on-boarding in advance, including any material that may be required to facilitate and aid their training.
- Be equipped – Invest in good technology to allow video meetings to take place and the ability to screen share.
- Provide a personal introduction – Have an introductory call on day one with the team to make them feel welcome. New staff can also send an email with a little information about themselves to wider company colleagues.
- Regular communication – Have frequent check-in calls to review their progress and ensure the individual feels supported and understands their responsibilities.
- Set up career training – Have a dedicated trainer and/or set out a clear training agenda, and adhere to this to help the new starter feel valued and fully supported.
- Ensure open discussion – Have a daily or weekly team meeting if staff are fully-remote working to ensure the team all comes together to discuss successes and any frustrations.