8 March 2022

Remote working is here to stay – now with a renewed focus on the hybrid workplace

In a recent webinar, only 5% of HR professionals said they would go back to pre-pandemic ways of working, proving there is a seismic shift towards a more flexible, hybrid workplace

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Bogdan Tiganov

Bogdan Tiganov

Bogdan Tiganov was head of content at Ciphr from October 2020 to September 2021.

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Employee engagement Future of Work HR transformation Technology

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In a recent webinar, only 5% of HR professionals said they would go back to pre-pandemic ways of working, proving there is a seismic shift towards a more flexible, hybrid workplace

Not so long ago, remote working was viewed as an attractive benefit. It would be offered as a perk to some candidates in their job offer. Organisations and HR would proudly announce that they supported flexible or remote working. New hires were expected to discuss with their manager how often they could work from home. Employees posted on social media about the need for extra flexibility to accommodate childcare commitments.

A US Census Bureau American Community Survey showed that in 2018 5.3% of Americans worked from home. All the while, people asked themselves — if we have the technology why can’t we all work from home remotely?

The pandemic hit in early 2020, shaking the very foundation of our lives, including how we work. In a short space of time, remote working went from being the exception to the rule – a privilege – to the rule. Since then, HR teams have embraced the benefits of specialist HR software in making the transition to remote working smooth and engaging for all employees.

In a recent webinar, Patrick Cournoyer, chief evangelist at Peakon, and Megan Hope, Ciphr’s partner manager discussed the growing popularity of a flexible, hybrid workplace. Cournoyer says, “We know that remote working is no longer a nice to have, it’s absolutely a need to have.”

HR adapting to meet evolving employee expectations

Employees now expect to carry out their tasks seamlessly from home while being connected to their colleagues and company culture. Cournoyer says, “employee expectations are constantly evolving. The truth is, the pandemic has had the biggest impact on the world of work in the past 12 years since the financial crash of 2008.”

HR has had to, almost overnight, adapt its people management processes. Gone was the ability to meet people face to face for interviews. Hiring and onboarding became virtual experiences for all concerned.

Hope says, “When it comes to hiring and onboarding new starters virtually, you’ll probably want to assess what’s been successful in your existing, face-to-face, hiring and onboarding processes, then figure out how to replicate that as far as possible for new starters.”

Once you have analysed your previous processes, it’s now time to find the right technology that can support your new, remote processes.

Hope says, “Getting your technology right is critical. There’s little that is more off-putting to candidates than a difficult to use, time-consuming applicant tracking system, or interviewing software that simply doesn’t work.”

The rise of the flexible, hybrid workplace

The remote working revolution has brought up other questions, such as, should we be taxed for working from home? Also, when offices eventually open, what exactly is the role of the office?

While 2020 has been a year dominated by the pandemic and a shift to remote working, what happens to ways of working if most offices were to reopen in 2021? Forrester predicts that “most companies will employ a hybrid work model, with fewer people in the office and more full-time remote employees.” Some organisations are already making substantial changes in this regard.

Microsoft has given employees the option to work from home less than 50% of the time, once offices reopen, while managers can approve permanent work from home arrangements for their staff. Ford has found that 70% of their workforce can perform their tasks virtually and asked 30,000 workers to empty their desks in preparation for a more hybrid way of working.

Cournoyer says, “Now that employees have had a taste of working from home, and organisations have seen that they can maintain a productive workforce without the need for daily face-time, it’s likely that employees will expect more flexibility. Pandora’s box has been opened and – having proved that working from home works well for many people – there’s no closing it again.”

With 2021 on the horizon, HR teams need to be fully prepared by implementing flexible people management processes, and better equipped with specialist HR software to handle recruitment, onboarding, and people data management remotely.

To hear more about how employee experience will be impacted by the hybrid world of work, watch the webinar recording below.