How HR teams can support hybrid working
HR Guide to Managing the Hybrid Workforce
Hybrid working has brought with it new challenges, and HR managers and business leaders must adapt. COVID-19 has changed the way people work, and working predominantly outside of the office has become much more common. It appears that the hybrid workforce is here to stay. A recent Gartner CFO survey found nearly three-quarters (74%) plan to permanently shift employees to remote working models even when vaccinations theoretically allow for people working in close contact. The speed of this change—from working in offices to working remotely—has been nothing short of breathtaking. In the UK, 68% of people ‘never’ worked from home before the pandemic started, yet during 2020 remote working increased, and 46% said they worked from home ‘at some point’.
The challenges of hybrid working for HR
Hybrid working has brought new challenges, and new digital businesses must think about how tasks can be made easier for people who no longer sit next to each other. Data shows COVID-19 has sped-up remote working and the deployment of digitisation programmes by up to seven years. Some of the questions HR teams have include:
- How should hybrid working be organised?
- How can new workers be recruited and onboarded remotely? 86% of organisations virtually recruited and onboarded workers in 2023.
- How can we assign tasks and goals and effectively performance manage staff?
- When a Fortune/Adobe survey recently asked CIOs what was the biggest challenge of facilitating their companies’ remote work, a significant 20% still said hardware, while a further 21% said tech tools. Part of the reason for this is often misunderstanding or not knowing what tools to use.
Hybrid working should present an opportunity to re-imagine which digital processes are needed— that is, which ones drive real business productivity and help rather than hinder employees in the day-to-day process of doing their jobs. Digitalisation that helps manage hybrid working is about creating processes through technology that improve employees’ digital ‘experiences’ and their engagement with your organisation. Discover more tips for working remotely.
How can HR teams support hybrid workers?
Everything from workforce planning, onboarding and skills development needs to be re-evaluated when working hybrid. At the root of this is better-enabled document management. COVID-19 has highlighted the need for a secure document management system that helps employees overcome physical location barriers. Last year UK-based social housing provider, Stonewater, experienced just this issue when it became increasingly evident that paper-based processes to execute contracts were no longer appropriate for producing customer documentation, capturing customer details and signatures. The organisation chose to deploy DocuSign eSignature, which has seen it reduce time spent on sign-ups and mutual exchanges by more than 1,800 hours.
Getting Technology Right
Hybrid workers need a technological infrastructure that supports staff and helps them stay connected and get their work done. Research suggests that staff now spend an average of 2.5 hours a day simply searching for the information they need to do their jobs. Hybrid working should be an opportunity for organisations to streamline their technology. Businesses now need to learn how to prioritise fewer but more key pieces of technology to allow a smoother and more seamless hybrid working experience for remote employees. When attention is given to only those pieces of technology that create effortless usability, true hybrid working efficiency is created, and genuine employee engagement is created. Most employees do want to produce their best work; it’s just that they need to be given the tools to do it.
Be Mindful of Employee Burnout
Employee experience has never been more important. Gartner surveyed 127 company leaders representing HR, legal and compliance, finance and real estate. 13% reported concern over creating parity between the remote and in-office experience, and 13% were concerned about providing a seamless employee experience and how it would be impacted by ever-more infrequent human-to-human interactions. Document management systems can now be integrated into remote working IT platforms that show employees exactly what their tasks are, what their goals are and what progress is being made on them