Supporting your employees in the transition to flexible working

Supporting your employees in the transition to flexible working

As lockdown measures are easing in England and staff are beginning to return to the office, it’s important to implement measures to support your employees in their transition to flexible working. Many will not be immediately returning to the office five days a week, so supporting people in working out how to divide their tasks between home and the office will be crucial to success.

Flexible working shouldn’t be implemented simply as a method of avoiding an all-in return to the office. Many of us have used the last year to learn more about how we can work efficiently in a home-based environment, therefore maintaining a few days a week of home working can bring additional benefits to both employer and employee. Helping your team to decide which tasks to do where, increasing communication, and maximising in-person interactions will be crucial to the success of a hybrid working model.

Changing expectations

An early challenge will be working out how to move between home and work offices. For many, the commute has been no longer than a flight of stairs for over a year and returning to the office could take some getting used to.

“Early evidence that we’ve collected suggests that people are experiencing some kind of culture shock when they’re getting back into the office. They’re also entering spaces that don’t have the same kind of technology that they’ve now set up at their homes.” – Tsedal Neeley, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School

Employees have spent months conducting meetings and giving presentations online from home, so the expectations they place on office equipment may have changed when they return. After all, if they can use Teams for calls with no problems at home, why shouldn’t the technology work just as efficiently in the office? It may be possible to leverage the existing office hardware to enable Teams calling in the short term, before adapting any conference or meeting rooms to make them fully Teams native for a more user friendly experience.

A smooth transition to the hybrid workplace

Tasks such as responding to direct emails or creating content such as solo presentations or articles can be completed without collaboration and may be better suited to the quiet of a home environment. Other tasks requiring a level of group creativity are better saved for days in the office, where collaboration can be less draining than via video calls. Supporting your staff and helping them to decide which tasks are best suited to each environment with help the transition to flexible working go much more smoothly.

It’s not all about productivity either. Establishing a schedule for people to have in-person catch ups will help to re-establish personal connections and trust between colleagues. Catching up with people in the office, whether for coffee, lunch, or to complete a group project, can in turn smooth working relationships on virtual days. Bear in mind the team members who may have joined your organisation during the extended period of working from home. This is their opportunity to finally meet their colleagues face-to-face and establish their place within the business.

Reviewing your IT strategy to make sure it’s in the best shape for supporting your employees in the transition to flexible working is the best place to start. Bedroq can help you get the big picture and plan for positive change with a strategic review. Learn more here.