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Hybrid future for work

The hybrid future for work is likely to be a mix of remote working, smaller headquarters and co-working hubs in satellite locations. The reimagined office will be a place where people will come for collaboration, community and to a lesser extent individual work. Executives will have to adapt their management styles and pay closer attention to morale and wellbeing. They will have to compete harder for talent.

This is among the suggestions in a document by the business body Resilience First. As UK vaccinations continue and the Government has given its timetable out of lockdown, businesses are reviewing their return-to-work. Office workers have had a year of a new work-life balance. Some are enjoying this, others are pining for when they could return to the office and its society. For we go to an office for what resources we can’t get at home; for mentoring, and personal growth, besides more focused work with others.

Adopting this ‘new’ normal approach to working could lead to changes in work contracts, including salaries for employees who elect for more off-site working, Resilience First suggests. Glassdoor estimates that software engineers and developers who chose to work away from offices in San Francisco, for instance, could face salary cuts of around a quarter.

Hence Resilience First with London law firm Russell-Cooke and architects Perkins&Will have published a practical guide on ‘Flexible Working: What happens now?’. The document covers People, Place, Processes and Tools and considers a new relationship between employers and employees. Simon Collins, Chair of Resilience First, said: “The realisation is becoming widespread that traditional office working will not be the same as we emerge from the pandemic. Offices cannot expect to have full occupancy as employees are no longer expected to be physically present and many have grown accustomed to, and value, home working. Yet, the office environment has many advantages both for companies trying to sustain team building and those who appreciate working closely for comradeship and creativity.”

Russell-Cooke partner and health and safety specialist Kizzy Augustin said: “Now that we know the roadmap for the return to ‘normality,’ employers need to consider what the new normal will look like for those based in offices. Some employees have found home working has given them a new work-life balance they want to keep but others have felt isolated and poorly managed or have been working in inadequate conditions. It is vital that employers consider the physical and mental health of their workforce when reviewing their plans for a return to work and whether a hybrid approach of both office and home/remote working is the best approach for their business. They have a duty to do so. This report is an important run-down of all the issues that need to be taken into account and we welcome an open discussion as we move into a new working mode.”

And Robert Hall, pictured, Executive Director of Resilience First, said: “The guide is timely in the light of the anticipated bounce back in the economy following the vaccine roll out and increased testing. People realise that any return to the office will see a mix of days of off-site and on-site working. Getting the balance right will depend on employee roles and employer expectations. Some will see reduced office capacity with HSBC announcing it will vacate 40% of its office space in the coming years, for example. This guide helps both employees and employers understand the challenges ahead.”

The full guide can be viewed here and is Part Two of Resilience First’s publications on Flexible Working: https://www.resiliencefirst.org/sites/default/files/2021-03/RR_FLEXIBLEWORKING_thehybridoffice_A4_brochure_0221final.pdf

Guide to Part One: Flexible Working – The Ups and Downs, can also be viewed on the Resilience First website:
https://www.resiliencefirst.org/sites/default/files/2020-11/RR_RESILIENCEAND%20FLEXIBLEWORKING_A4_brochure_1020_finalweb.pdf


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