Whether you’re on the hunt for your first job, looking to move to a new employer, or out of work and scanning the job ads, one term that you’ll probably come across more and more is ‘hybrid working’. So what exactly is it?
Hybrid working is just one type of flexible working arrangement where employees split their work time between their home and work-place. This might mean:
- deciding on the day whether you want to work at home or at the office
- two days at home and three days at the office each week, or the vice versa
- alternating where you work week to week, for instance, week one of the month at home, week two at the office, and then back to home for week three
As many workers return to their work-place after the easing of lockdown, hybrid working may be used on a temporary basis to ease back into the new normal, but increasingly research carried out by bodies such as the CIPD and YouGov shows that the majority of workers favour a hybrid work model.
The upside to hybrid working
The main benefit of hybrid working to you as an employee is flexibility and the resulting improvement of your work-life balance.
Hybrid working may allow you to:
- share the school run with your partner, where you are responsible for getting your children to the school gate and back again on the days you work from home.
- reduce the amount of time spent commuting and the related travel expenses.
- decide where to work at short notice when there’s a family emergency, a power cut at home, or delays caused by road works on your commute route.
If you have to work from home, as opposed to choosing to work from home, you may be able to claim back certain expenses. such as gas and electricity, through the HMRC.
From an employer’s point of view, hybrid working is likely to result in happier, more motivated employees and as a result, an increase in productivity.
It seems to be a win-win situation all round.
What’s not so good about hybrid working?
Unfortunately, there are a number of downsides to hybrid working too.
The first is the fact that not everyone has a home set-up they can work from. A dedicated work-space at home isn’t necessarily needed, but an area where you can set and be undisturbed is. What about a phone line, internet access, and a computer? For most hybrid working roles, those are a must.
Second, not every job is suitable for a hybrid working model. For instance, if you work as a retail assistant, a nurse, or a truck driver, hybrid working is unlikely to be a good fit.
Finally, not all employers offer a healthy hybrid working environment. As with any type of flexible working, an employer should have a policy and procedures on how hybrid working is handled and offer the opportunity to all workers who can carry out their job remotely. Digital communications should be in place so that remote workers are included in meetings and announcements and where hybrid working is a condition of the job rather than an option, the employer should be willing to provide appropriate equipment.
Do you have a right to hybrid working?
According to the Flexible Working Regulations 2014, UK employees who have continuously worked for an employer for at least 26 weeks have the right to request flexible working.
As a jobseeker, you don’t have a right to flexible or hybrid working but there is no reason why you can’t ask about it in your job interview. Better still, prepare for the employer’s response with an explanation of how the job could be done – and done well – on a hybrid-basis.
Is hybrid working for you?
So now you know what hybrid working is, and the pros and cons, is it for you? The following questions should help:
- Can you practically work from home? Do you have somewhere you can set up and work undisturbed? Do you have everything you need to work at home?
- Can the type of jobs you’re applying for be done at home or do you need to be in a work-environment?
- Do you want to work at home? Or would you rather be in the workplace for the entire week?
- Has the employer set up hybrid working procedures, and do they have a plan on how to effectively handle remote workers?
- Would hybrid working improve your work-life balance?
Wrapping it up
There is no doubt that the pandemic and resulting lockdowns have changed the face of work, including what we recognise as a work-place. Hybrid working is just one way that companies have adapted to that situation. As a jobseeker, it’s well worth considering whether hybrid working is a good fit for you. If the answer is yes, don’t be afraid to ask.