Firstly, we should consider exactly what we mean by hybrid working? Simply put, it’s a mix of working styles. Typically, this will mean a blend of workers spending some time in the office and some working from home. How will you split these two modes of working? The answer to that question will vastly differ from one business to the next. A typical trend might be that many firms are moving from a full complement of people working from home back towards more in-office time. We will need to be mindful of keeping to any social distancing rules and keep everyone happy and feeling safe as we emerge from the strangest of times. Many are implementing strategies to help with this, such as staggered start and finish times or flexible working hours.
Should You Widen Your Net?
One thing that home and hybrid working has done is make us all think about the nature of work and where it can be done? We may consider whether our employees need to be physically present or not, and if not, can they be based anywhere? Hiring an overseas worker can be a good idea, as we widen our choices and find exciting candidates from other cultures that can bring a fresh perspective to our workforce. There are a few downsides, though, and you should thoroughly consider these before making any hire. The time difference could make collaborative working difficult; if teamwork is an essential part of the job, it may not make for optimal performance if your person is required to attend meetings at 4 am. How to pay a foreign worker can present issues, such as where tax is paid, or in what currency the wages are to be paid.
Advertising and Selecting Candidates
For years now, most advertising jobs have been mostly online. It is common to request digital resumes to be submitted or an online selection process to be followed. But do we interview candidates in person or remotely? A fruitful approach can be to conduct initial interviews online with a larger pool of candidates before inviting the candidates who make it to the final few considered for a face-to-face session.
Offering a Position to an International Candidate
We may find that the best person for the job happens to be based far away, and barring allowing them to work from home, there are a few things that need to be taken care of before they can officially be made part of the team. Logistics, such as how they will travel, move their possessions, and bring their family, all must be considered. Will you be expected to reimburse them for their relocation costs, or are they meeting them personally? Will a work permit be required to allow them to work in the country legally? These permits can have various requirements, such as type of position, level of education, or have criteria such as minimum salary levels. New entrants to the country may need additional measures in place, such as International Citizens Insurance, especially if they are not eligible for regular healthcare.
9 till 5 or Flexible Hours?
We’ve briefly touched upon the notion of staggered start and finishing times and flexible working practices. Can we successfully operate a business on this model? Yes, depending on the nature of our work is the simple answer. Some sectors are clearly unsuitable, such as retail, where there are set opening and closing times and the job is 100% customer-facing. But for most other businesses, there can be at least some flexibility. You should assess your office space and decide what a safe capacity is and start from this point. You should consult staff to ask who would prefer what office hours and see if this can be accommodated.
Induction, Training & Learning the Job
When we are operating a flexible working environment, there can be knock on effects for training and bringing new employees up to speed. We will find it difficult to operate our induction and training schemes in the same manner as before. If we used to offer a mentoring service, then conflicting schedules could make this difficult. We must then operate a more flexible and collegiate approach to training, having new staff learn from a variety of mentors depending on staff availability.
Agency, Freelance & Subcontractors
We should consider the possibility of using outside labor for busy periods. There are many tasks which do not require a full-time workforce, take cleaning as an example; it’s a small part of each day, but absolutely necessary in this day and age; if subcontracted, you get an experienced team and flexible arrangements. For other tasks, you can top up your workforce with agency staff or freelancers for individual projects or busy spells. The downside of this approach is that it is more expensive than in-house personnel.