Two new studies on hybrid working show some of the challenges and benefits and illustrate that the majority of people want hybrid working arrangements to go further.
More than half of hybrid workers think that their current hybrid working arrangements don’t go far enough to help engender an effective work-life balance, according to a poll.
The poll of 2,000 professionals by recruitment firm Robert Walters shows 55% think their hybrid working doesn’t go far enough.
Some said under-tested hybrid working models had precipitated more intense working days, for example, with attendance required at both face-to-face and virtual meetings, leaving them feeling overworked and exhausted.
85% said they now expect more flexibility to work from home as a standard offer from employers and 78% said they will not take on a new job until such flexibility is agreed with a prospective employer.
Jason Grundy, Managing Director of Robert Walters Middle East & Africa, said: “Whilst the switch to remote working was almost instant, we need to appreciate that was out of necessity. The return to work should be gradual employers and employees alike should use this year to test a variety of working styles from hybrid working to potentially removing the 9-5 in favour of hours based on project load.”
Meanwhile, a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research and Virgin Media 02 Business has estimated that hybrid working could add more than £48 billion to the British economy each year by allowing parents, carers and disabled people into the workforce and allowing part-time workers to work more hours.
It says that close to half of people currently out of work would be able to resume employment if they could do so remotely, with unemployed carers being among the main beneficiaries. More than half of unemployed carers could become more able to find work, the study estimates.
In total, the study says increased hybrid working could mean an additional 3.8 million people could enter the workforce, including 1.2 million parents, 1.5 million people with disabilities, 500,000 with caring responsibilities and 600,000 others who are out of work.
Lucinda Quigley, Head of Working Parents and Executive Coach at Talking Talent, says: “This research is welcome news to many people who feel like the workplace has just not been accommodating for them in the past. However, for flexible and hybrid working to really work, employers need to set out clear work and output expectations for individuals so that flexibility doesn’t turn into an ‘always on’ workforce. The current lack of clarity on flexible and hybrid working means that working parents still feel the pressure to be present and avoid any risk that either their work will be discounted due to not being seen, or they will be excluded from the cultural elements of work.”
She added: “There is a risk of creating a two-tier workforce, where half can work in the office every day with ease, and a second class of workers, heavily made up of working parents, who will choose to work from home and be penalised for it. For flexibility to truly work in this space employers and employees needs to have open and honest conversations about what will realistically work for each individual.”
Childcare is another key issue for those with children. And a report yesterday shows that childcare is still affected by the Covid challenges. Department for Education figures show attendance at early years childcare settings in mid-September was around 76% of the daily average for the time of year.