Blended working in the charity sector – how to succeed
What four actions did Charity Digital take to make blended working a success? CEO Jonathan Chevallier shared all in a recent CIPHR webinar
Since 2021, the world of work has undergone many changes. Some employers are welcoming employees back to the office, while others are adjusting to blended working. For Charity Digital, blended working is the present and future of work. “I don’t think we’re going to see a mass return of employees to the office any time soon,” said Jonathan Chevallier, CEO of Charity Digital, during a recent CIPHR webinar, but how exactly has the charity succeeded with this new way of working?
Here we share more about Charity Digital’s experience with blended working.
What is blended work?
You may have heard of this term – also known as hybrid working – quite a lot since the start of the pandemic. Blended working is a term that refers to employees working in the office for some of the week and at another location – usually at home – for the remainder.
Today, as demand increases for flexible working, organisations who fail to support blended working and other forms of flexible working may face a risk of increased employee turnover, reduced employee engagement and limitations on their ability to attract talent in the future.
For Charity Digital, blended working means a balance of virtual and in-person events, and employees being in the office for two days a week.
“For us, one day of the week is a team day, which is mandated to employees. So, for example, if team one is in on Tuesday, team two are in on a Wednesday, and one day is then free choice, so you pick which day you go in,” said Chevallier.
Charity Digital’s approach to blended working is similar to that of other charities – a poll during the webinar found that 30% of attendees allow staff to choose whether they work at home or in the office, and just 20% say that staff are working at home nearly all the time.
How did Charity Digital adapt to blended work?
1. They made sure the right tech was in place
Having the right technology and tools in place has been crucial for Charity Digital when it comes to blended working.
Chevallier said: “We had Office365 and Microsoft Teams, which were already rolled out to all employees. We have an online HR system and an online finance system. We moved to an IP-based phone system so there’s no kind of switch that needs to be managed and maintained. This means employees can log on from anywhere to their phone and do their work.”
Online HR systems such as CIPHR HR enable employees to access important documents, request holidays, manage absences and more, from anywhere as long as they have access to the internet. When employees are working from home or outside of the office, HR software still allows them to access whatever they need.
2. Set clear expectations of what blended working should look like
Chevallier said it was important to make sure all employees understood what was expected of them under this new way of working for it to be a success.
“It’s up to leadership to first decide what they want blended working to look like that, [and] then make this clear to all their people. So for us, it was a matter of saying you need to come in one day a week for your team meeting and then you need to pick one other day which is entirely down to you. We communicated this at a reasonably early stage so everyone knew what they had to do.”
Chevallier stressed that it’s the role of leadership teams to make sure these expectations are clearly laid out and communicated.
“Leadership need to ask themselves: how do we want blended working to work in this organisation? For me, this was a matter of recognising that it’s important for me to get people into the office so that they can have some team time, but also making sure we didn’t have strict silos.”
3. Introduced a Covid-19 policy
Like many organisations, Charity Digital made sure they introduced a Covid policy which made it easier to set clear guidelines on what to do in certain situations during blended working.
“In our Covid policy we ask that all employees do a Covid lateral flow test at least once a week. We also state that if they have any symptoms, any illness – whether that’s Covid-19 illness or not – they should not be in the office.”
4. Reflected on the impact of full-time remote working
Lastly, Chevallier mentioned that blended working has been a success for Charity Digital because they reviewed what worked and didn’t work during their period of full-time remote working during the peak of the pandemic, and took relevant action where needed.
“Successful blended working comes not only from reflecting on the best of remote working and looking at how to roll that forward into the new blended working, but also reflecting on the things we didn’t like, and looking at how we can eliminate those and get the best of face-to-face working at the same time,” he said.
“Our predominant approach at Charity Digital is not to overthink. You should try to be agile and rapid in terms of how you respond to issues and engage employees when implementing blended working.”
To hear more on how Charity Digital made blended working a success, watch our webinar below.