Hybrid working is best practice, says CMI

Hybrid working is becoming the norm in some workplaces and should be encouraged as best practice, according to the Chartered Institute of Management.

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Working from home for part of the week has become the norm for some employees, according to a poll of UK managers.

Eighty-four per cent said their firms had adopted hybrid working, most of them since the onset of the pandemic, a survey for the Chartered Institute of Management (CMI) found.

The poll of 1,237 managers in the private and public sectors also found senior leaders are actively encouraging employees to return to the workplace: 56% of managers in organisations where staff are still home working say senior leaders are actively encouraging employees to return to the workplace through their communications, although nearly two fifths (39%) say there is no active encouragement to return to the workplace.

Nevertheless, across the board managers and employees are in favour of maintaining hybrid working: 89% are personally in favour of hybrid working and 85% say that employees in their organisation are also in favour of hybrid working.

Eighty four per cent of managers say their organisation adopts a hybrid working approach, with 66% saying their organisation began working this way since Covid-19.

Two thirds of managers say their employer has a hybrid working policies in place, with 45% saying the policy sits within an overarching flexible working policy. Generally policies are not prescriptive on workplace days: 59% of managers in organisations with a policy in place say the policy does not specify the number of days employees must work from the workplace.

Where the policy does specify working days (for 38% of managers) 85% say their policy specifies employees should be in the office 40%-60% of the working week with only 3% saying the expectation is to be in the office 80% of the working week. Employers with no hybrid working policy have a significantly higher expectation to be in the workplace for a greater proportion of the working week, for instance, 3% with a policy state an 80% requirement compared to 24% with no policy in place.

Most of those surveyed work for large employers with 26% working for SMEs.

The CMI says firms should embrace hybrid work as “best practice”. CMI chief executive Ann Francke said: “It would be very short sighted of bosses not to see some correlation in the shift in the working world and the move towards hybrid [working], and [an] uptick in productivity.”

She added: “We are experiencing an uptick in productivity, and an uptick in many companies results. We’re not saying everyone should work from home 100% of the time, we’re saying the best practice is to have a blend, so when you come into the office you can do those things that are very difficult to do remotely.”

In another study, business advisory firm Hazlewoods said the proportion of UK jobs advertised as “entirely remote working roles” increased by a fifth to 11% over the past month. The research also showed that 74% of remote roles paid more than the average annual salary of £31,000.

Meanwhile, business leaders and union bosses have called on the government to improve sick pay and help employers deal with staff absences. The TUC and Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and urged him to create an “effective” sick pay system that all employers would be able to afford.

Campaigners warn that two million low paid workers, mainly women, do not qualify for sick pay because of their low earnings. Analysis by the FSB shows that the average cost of sickness absence to small employers was just over £3,500 last year. TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “Delivering sick pay for all would be an important first step, but with statutory sick pay at a measly £96 a week, we need ministers to increase it to real living wage.”

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