Wednesday Feb 08, 2023

How Has the Shift to Hybrid Working Affected Employee Management? – The HR Director Magazine


The shift to a hybrid working environment brought about by the coronavirus has affected the management of employees. Many companies have taken on a fully-virtual business model, connecting with people worldwide through video conferencing and communication platforms. “Moving beyond traditional management, leadership must also monitor time spent in or out of the office and place importance on nurturing their employees” [Sougat Chakravartty, Birlasoft]. A big part of this in a post-pandemic working world will involve closing the bridge between those working remotely and the leadership team. 

What is a hybrid work model?

Generally, hybrid work models are flexible working arrangements that combine traditional office-based work with remote work. While these schedules are still an exception in some companies, most large enterprises have introduced them as permanent arrangements or temporary relief options. In addition to these new forms of employment, other options such as remote-controlled home offices also belong to the increasing number of flexible employment opportunities. 

The arrival of new technologies has come with an array of opportunities and challenges in equal parts. One clear benefit is the increasing availability of smartphones and laptops. Access to these items outside conventional working hours has meant that employees can conduct their work both in and outside traditional office hours. This flexible approach to working is already evident across many sectors, and Many studies have shown evidence of the benefits of this type of hybrid working environment. For example, a survey by CIPD reported that 80% of UK organisations allowed some degree of flexibility in place. 

How has the shift to a hybrid working environment affected employee management practices?

Given these developments, companies can expect more employees to adopt hybrid working practices. As a result, managers will have to adapt their management styles to accommodate new working models by setting clear guidelines for managing employees remotely. Of course, this does not mean that they have to completely change the way they manage their workforce but instead focus on developing methods of communication that are suitable for virtual teams.

One of these methods is face-to-face contact. Maintaining solid relationships with co-workers is essential for effective teamwork, even if some team members are in remote locations. Companies must also promote the integration process between employees working remotely and those who work at an office, such as team dinners and after-work get-togethers. This way, employees who work in remote locations will feel integrated with their team instead of isolated.

What challenges have arisen as a result of the change?

Whilst this new way of working may sound like a dream come true, there are still difficulties that employers and employees need to overcome. First, both parties need to be mindful of the change. Working from home is more accessible for employees, requiring fewer distractions and more time to get work done. But, it also makes managing that employee more challenging. As a result, employers need to find ways to keep track of what their staff are doing during the day whilst enabling them the flexibility to stick to their schedule. 

The ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) trend has also impacted how people manage their time at work. Many employees now come into the office with mobile devices such as tablets and laptops, which allows them to check their emails outside work hours. On top of this, companies are looking to replace some of their office equipment with home-based alternatives …….


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