Hybrid working is vital for retention, say experts

17 Apr 23

Badly enforcing home working rules increases the chances of staff quitting.

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Poorly managing home working increases the likelihood of staff leaving, according to new research.

Organisations that lack explicit norms around hybrid work can increase the likelihood of an employee leaving by 12%, according to technology research company Gartner.

The shift of many roles to enable more home working post-Covid-19 has been one of the biggest changes following lockdowns.

It’s been embraced across the public sector as a way of cutting costs, reducing emissions and enabling more people in different agencies to work more closely together.

Criminal justice organisations, particularly those working with young people, have been those to benefit the most as online meetings have enabled people to communicate better.

But formalising those processes now that lockdowns are becoming a distant memory has presented a stumbling block for some organisations.

“Today’s hybrid work models lack the informal channels for absorbing norms that are present in an office setting,” said Caitlin Duffy, director in the Gartner HR practice.

“As organisations create more formalised hybrid work models, HR leaders can reduce work friction and increase engagement by establishing and communicating new norms more intentionally and explicitly.”

Gartner research found that the most successful hybrid models encompass three main categories: those that increase visibility, enable flexibility, and foster connections.

“Sharing work preferences should not be a static, one-time occurrence as work preferences evolve over time and with team staffing changes,” said Duffy. “Progressive organisations build dedicated time to revisit and update work preferences into everyone’s schedule, and any newly created teams or projects begin with a review of all members’ work preferences.”

Hult International Business School says communication between employers and staff is vital to getting the right balance.

It said: “While flexible working existed long before Covid-19, the pandemic upped the ante, forcing companies around the world to adopt more flexible working practices. Businesses were given no choice but to re-examine their approach to hybrid working models.

“Since then, however, attempts to introduce hybrid working as the ‘norm’ have proven problematic, with continuing concerns about engagement, productivity, and technical capability.”

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