A new survey from Acas has found that three in five employers (60%) have seen an increase in hybrid working for staff compared to before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Hybrid working is a type of flexible working where an employee splits their time between the workplace and working from home or remotely.
Acas commissioned YouGov to ask British businesses about changes to working practices that they have seen compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. The poll also found that over half of employers (52%) have seen an increase in staff working from home full-time.
Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said: “Many businesses adapted to new ways of working during the pandemic and it’s unsurprising that most employers have seen an increase in home and hybrid working among their staff.
“There are clear benefits to these types of flexible working such as helping businesses attract and retain staff. But there will be staff that are eager to get back to how they were working before COVID-19 and hybrid or home working may not be practical for everyone.
“Employers will need to ensure that staff who work remotely have access to the same opportunities as those that are physically in a workplace. Acas has advice on how to keep connected with staff that are hybrid or home working, consider whether it is suitable for their workplace or if other types of flexible working are better suited for some roles.”
Acas advice is that hybrid working can help businesses attract and retain staff as well as increase staff productivity as the flexibility allows them to balance work and personal responsibilities.
Acas’s advice for employers includes:
· A company hybrid working policy should explain how someone can request it, how job roles will be assessed and how decisions will be made. It can also include principles such as allowing remote working for a maximum number of days a week;
· Ensure staff who are working remotely are not excluded and have access to the same opportunities as those in the workplace such as team building activities, training and social activities;
· Decisions around whether to approve a staff request for hybrid working should be fair, transparent and other forms of flexible working could be discussed as possible alternatives;
· Make sure employees have the necessary equipment and information to work safely from home. Employees might experience pain if they do not have the right working equipment – for example, they might have back problems caused by an unsuitable chair and desk;
· Staff working from home may struggle with switching off from work or work longer hours. Employers must follow the law on working hours and employees should make sure they take their rest breaks and take care of their mental health; and
· Consider a trial period to see if it works and if any further adjustments to arrangements are needed.