Tag Archive for 'Covid-19'

Hybrid Working: The New Permanent?

Covid-19 has changed the world forever, with the way we work being one of the biggest changes. Government directives over the last two years have been designed to slow down the spread of the virus, but during the first lockdown, companies were surprised to find that employees production rates did not seem to fall when they were at home and, in fact, many studies showed that productivity increased.

The Hybrid Model

This has led to many organisations moving to a hybrid model of working, where employees will work from home for a few days a week and commute into the office for the remainder. With the development of better remote working tools, Hybrid working was something more and more organisations were moving towards anyway. The Pandemic just accelerated this already existing trend.

At this point, after two years of a massive, enforced social experiment, it seems obvious that Hybrid Working is something that all companies should adopt and offer to their employees.

But is it?

Is Hybrid the best model for our workplaces in the future and what are the benefits and downsides for Employers and Employees? And what are the wider effects on the economy as a whole?


Many employees are reporting a better work-life balance, being able to spend more time with their families, especially those with children. Without the rush of early mornings and long or stressful commutes, many people have more time to do their work and say that they are able to complete it to a higher standard. Tasks can be concentrated on, without the constant interruptions that occur in the office. Economically, many families save on childcare, fuel and travel costs and expensive lunches bought in the 15 minutes that they get for lunch at the office.

But many people have missed the daily interactions and the human connection found in an office, along with boost to wellbeing that socialising with colleagues, clients and customers can bring. There are also concerns for some about professional development, as they don’t have the same relationships to those managers who control access to opportunity. Some would argue that group projects and other collaborations work much better face to face and many miss the after-work socialising that is part and parcel of working life in many organisations.

And of course, Employees working from home have many new expenses, such as heating their houses throughout winter, at times they normally wouldn’t. With Electricity and gas prices rapidly rising, this will be a significant cost for many. (We have some Helpful Tips to Save You Money This Winter.)


From an employer’s perspective, a lot of money can be saved in office rental and the maintenance of expensive buildings and premises. For many organisations, Hybrid Working means they much smaller spaces are needed, and many offices have been downsized. And there is the much-reported spike in productivity that has been associated with more people working from home.

Changing where your organisation is based and how it works also provides an opportunity to address geographic and economic inequality, and gives access to possible untapped talent pools in different parts of the UK. Remote workers can just as well be in Liverpool as in Luton.

But Hybrid working is a much more complicated matter for companies than just focusing on how many days per week people will be in, or what technology will be required. The changes being made have knock-on effects, cost implications and possible unforeseen consequences. Organisations need to address the issue holistically. Planning for it needs to be done from the top down, involving all parts of the company and not just HR.

Wider Society

Looking at wider benefits, less people commuting means less traffic on the road and less congestion and pollution, with the obvious, concomitant environmental benefits.

That said, many businesses, as we are often reminded, are losing out badly in the great Hybrid working revolution. City centre businesses such as lunch-time sandwich shops and retail in general, as well as wider hospitality, are losing a lot of the trade they formally enjoyed. Yet while this may hasten the decline of the city centre, it may also benefit the local high street, which gains the footfall lost from Town centre businesses.

Unfortunately, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that will suit all organisations and the option of doing nothing is not an option. Covid-19 has changed people’s expectations and forced them to reprioritise what they want in life. Nobody should be forced to return to the office and if any businesses force people to do so, it may be counter-productive. But just selling all their offices and telling everyone to work permanently at home is not a solution either. Hybrid working, in one form or another is almost certainly here to stay, but what it looks like, when the dust finally settles, is still to be determined.