Home – office – hybrid: choices, choices
Depending on whom you work for we could soon be having to make a choice of where our working day is spent: at home, in the office or a combination of both. If your employer is far sighted, or just realistic, then you may get a choice; if they are traditional (or in finance) you probably won’t!
A recent survey by the BBC has highlighted that the majority of top UK firms won’t be insisting on staff coming back to the office full-time, liking the idea of a hybrid approach instead. The last year has fundamentally changed the way many people have worked and this new way of working looks set to continue.
However, before we shout hurrah and redecorate the spare room we need to pause and look at the challenges this may undoubtedly bring.
Home Working Stress
Lack of space, too many distractions, poor internet connections and unsuitable equipment together with a ‘big brother’ boss will all lead to work stress. Throw in 24-7 connectivity and no ‘right to disconnect’ and we could all start to dislike home working flexibility and utopia.
You may of course get this in your office but at least there you can get distracted by colleagues rather than using connected devices and video chat platforms for much of the day, with no escape. In a ‘normal’ work environment we all feel that we need to be available by email or phone at all times, but at home the urge to log on and check emails and messages is much stronger meaning that you are never away from work.
As an employer do you keep your current office space and reorganise it for hybrid working, or, as many have indicated, reduce your space and go smaller?
Company Culture & Networking
If everyone works from home or is only in the office a couple of times a week, how do you retain your company culture? How do you network around the company and get to know your colleagues if you only see them on screen or ‘chat’ by email?
If some of your team return to the office and some don’t who will get promoted when the opportunity comes up? A natural fear is that those in the office will be preferred.
There is no doubt that hybrid working will make your organisation more agile but at what cost? Yes, you have the advantage of flexibility, productivity and an improved work-like balance, but on the downside we have the potential for increased mental and physical stress, loneliness and isolation. A difficult choice indeed.