Hybrid working white paper launched

A new white paper from WMPeople.co.uk focuses on emerging practice related to hybrid working and is based on an employer roundtable discussion in late May.

Woman working at home on sofa with laptop


Hybrid working has become the buzzword in the wake of Covid, but how can employers capitalise on the benefits for many workers while addressing some of the challenges, which include scheduling issues, visibility for remote workers and potential divisions between those who can and can’t work remotely and those who want and don’t want to do so?

A new white paper by WM People, sponsored by pharmaceutical company Roche and based on a roundtable discussion among employers, highlights some of the debates and some of the ways employers can move towards the more effective implementation of a hybrid culture.

The roundtable took place in late May and involved employers from a wide range of sectors. Keynote speakers were Jane Sparrow from The Culture Builders and Andy Lake, editor of Flexibility.co.uk.

Sparrow said policy on its own is not enough to create more effective ways of working, yet culture – behaviour and belief – is often ignored in the process of adapting to change. She said culture is based on what we believe as an organisation, for instance, the common understanding about flexible working, how people behave in the organisation and how those beliefs and behaviours align with the organisation’s policies. The Culture Builders has been focusing on wellbeing issues related to hybrid working. The aim is to get teams to own how they work on their wellbeing, which the organisation sees as the key to getting the most from hybrid working. It has developed a new app that helps to encourage collaboration around wellbeing, encouraging people to do things differently and measuring the impact on wellbeing.

Lake spoke of the difference between inflexible and flexible approaches to flexible working. He added that flexible working done well can be transformative, but often the transformative element is lost as employers fail to have a fully integrated vision of the future of working which also embraces technological change.

Roche kicked off the discussion among employers by talking about their own experience of rolling out their How we roll programme during the Covid lockdowns which focuses on ensuring greater consistency in flexible working practices across the organisation.

The discussion among employers embraced a range of issues from visibility for remote workers to questions about what the office is for. The challenges in different sectors as well as among different sections of the workforce, such as new starters, were debated and experiences of what works best shared. The white paper, which is free to download from WMPeople.co.uk, ends with some key takeaways from the discussion. They include:

  • Focusing on outputs and availability rather than visibility
  • Understanding both the positives and negatives of different types of working and addressing the underlying issues, such as loneliness
  • Having open conversations about work life issues so people can rethink what it means for them
  • Laying down looser frameworks and guidelines for greater flexibility rather than rigid policies.

*To download the free white paper, click here.

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