Most employers are committed to some form of hybrid work model
post-pandemic, but misaligned expectations with employees prompt a more
For years working from home carried a stigma in the UK, labelled by
most organisations as unproductive, difficult and unrealistic.
Though the rise of cloud- based technologies was slowly increasing
its prevalence, a company was seen as flexible if it merely allowed
employees to work from home once a week or leave the office early on
The pandemic transformed perceptions. Forced to embrace home working
to maintain operations through lockdowns, companies and employees
began to see it in a new light. In a study last year by Prolific,
76% of working adults in the UK reported an improvement in their
perceptions of working from home, suggesting the stigma had all but
Despite the steep learning curve, by and large the remote working
experiment showed that employees were productive and felt empowered
outside of a traditional office-based structure. Leaders
subsequently opened dialogue with their employees on how the
workplace should look post-pandemic, with many committing to
embracing hybrid work.
The global war for talent has been an additional accelerant. In the
first quarter of this year, there were more job vacancies than
unemployed people in the UK for the first time since records began.
Employees have a louder voice than ever and many are using it to
demand a better work-life balance.
“The workplace is no longer static. Offering remote work when
feasible makes sense,” says Kate Garbett, vice-president UK and
Ireland at staffing and talent solutions company Adecco. “It can be
a powerful way to grab the attention of candidates who value this
flexibility and it can also let employers tap into underemployed
demographic groups. These include people with caring
responsibilities or priorities out of work, like parents or older
While flexible working describes a working arrangement that gives a
degree of flexibility on how long, where, when and at what times you
work, hybrid working simply refers to the split between working from
an office and working remotely. It is important to understand this
distinction because mislabelling one as the other can cause
Hybrid working is clearly outstripping other work models but
employers are cautious about managing employee expectations.
According to CIPD research, 63% of UK workers want to work from home
more than half the time. While over half of companies recognise the
importance of flexibility to attracting and retaining people, many
also still see the value of office working for innovation,
collaboration and nurturing young talent.
“Our working environments must continue evolving beyond the initial
changes we saw when the workforce began to return to the office this
year,” says Niki Turner-Harding, Adecco senior vice-president, UK
and Ireland. “Business leaders have an opportunity to take stock of
the strategies that worked well during the pandemic, embracing both
the hybrid model and the renewed function of the office.”
In pockets, this re-evaluation is already underway. Some companies
have dramatically reduced their desk space, committing to ‘digital
HQs’. And countries such as Scotland, Belgium and Spain are launching
pilot schemes to trial four-day working weeks. But there is no silver
bullet to executing hybrid working successfully.
One person’s ideal proportion of office and remote working could be
substantially different to someone else’s. Deciding on the right mix
requires considerable thought, dialogue and flexibility across the
business, understanding how different job families within the same
organisation can co-exist.
One size will never fit all and striking the right balance will be key
to navigating this transition. Deteriorating mental health, meanwhile,
is a major issue running in parallel. This can be tied both to a
leadership deficit and to young leaders experiencing burnout, as well
as the blurring of home and work life.
Leadership development, coaching and resources for managers on how to
deal with and respond to situations are crucial. Companies must also
commit to providing better wellbeing resources to their employees
within the new hybrid working mode. Building pro-wellbeing working
environments, culture and skills will be particularly important.
Adecco is leading the way in enabling organisations to adapt to the
changing world of work and ensure the future employability of people
against this evolving backdrop. It has not only navigated clients
through the pandemic with innovative ways to attract, onboard, retain
or reskill talent, but is also now supporting them on their hybrid
“We work with our clients to ensure we are providing up-to-date market
insight so they can understand the market and have effective talent
strategies in place,” says Sandeep Bhandal, Adecco vice-president, UK
and Ireland. “We also work with them on their employer brand, so they
are effectively communicating why someone should join their
organisation, and on creating a high-quality candidate onboarding
experience so new hires are able to really embrace the culture from
“No one has perfected hybrid working yet. It will take time to
understand and there is no blueprint. However, we know that people are
the heart of businesses and therefore taking the time to understand
how they want to work and what will keep them happy and effective in
their roles is key when defining a plan for the future. Trust,
adaptability and personalisation must remain as businesses seek to
solidify their ways of working.”
Take steps to ensure your team isn’t divided into those who work from home and those who come into the office
Send a clear message from the top that hybrid working is a valid option, and if possible become a role model for hybrid workers
Train managers in how to communicate effectively with people they don’t see every day, and take steps to generate a trusting environment
Provide hybrid workers with the financial and technological support they need to work and communicate effectively
Train your HR team to spot new opportunities for delegation, so they can decide when and which parts of tasks and roles should be done by whom
Read more from Raconteur here
Amid growing International tension, this year's
World Economic Forum aims to be the starting
point for a new era of global responsibility and
cooperation. Keep up to date on the latest
insights into the future of work talent scarcity,
and other research topics by reading about the
Adecco Group's participation at the WEF.
Need help in navigating the new normal?
Resetting Normal 2021 surveyed 14.800
knowledge-workers across 25 countries to give o
clear insight of working practices, behaviours and
attitudes towards work. It is an essential read for
leaders and companies alike...
The labour market is emerging from a period of
unprecedented challenges brought about by
Covid-19, and all signs point towards the
candidate-led market lasting throughout 2022.
Our Labour Market Outlook will help you analyze
the competitive landscape...
Speak to an expert
Connect with our team to find out how we can help you.
Speak to an expert Connect with our team to find out how we can help you.