The UK’s Hybrid Work Commission, with input from the CIPD, has launched its report with recommendations to UK Government on how to get the most from hybrid working
A growing body of research shows that the right hybrid and remote work environment in the UK could contribute to raised productivity, increased prosperity and a happier and healthier workforce.
The Commission on Hybrid and Remote Work was set up to examine and make recommendations on how the UK Government can respond to the rise in hybrid and remote working to the advantage of people, communities and the broader UK economy. This report was co-sponsored by the commissioners member organisations and led by representatives from CIPD, Indeed, Liverpool John Moore’s University, the Northern Powerhouse partnership, Prospect, Vodafone and Zoom.
Our view at the CIPD is that office environments provide valuable opportunities for collaboration, learning and social interaction, but the pandemic has also demonstrated the value of remote working in fostering employee wellbeing and work-life balance without compromising on productivity. From an inclusion perspective, home and hybrid working can also provide accessible employment for some people who may not be able to work at all otherwise.
For many employers, this isn't about setting a default, but finding the right balance between office and hybrid working that supports people's productivity and wellbeing, while meeting the needs of the business. There is no one size fits all so organisations will need to be prepared to trial, learn and adapt new practices to make sure they are fair and inclusive and that they are supportive of employee wellbeing.
It's also important to recognise that many workers in frontline roles don't have this option. As well as remote working, employers should consider a range of flexible options that can benefit all their staff, such as flexitime, compressed hours, flexibility in scheduling shifts, job-sharing and term-time working.
This report from the Hybrid Work Commission shares key insights on what hybrid work looks like in the UK from the perspective of both employees and employers, as well as identifying ways in which the Government can maximise the potential hybrid work offers.
Key findings and insights
- Hybrid working patterns help expand the talent pool. 51% of businesses said offering hybrid roles increased their ability to hire people from different regions, 53% said the same about hiring parents or caregivers, and 42% for hiring those with a disability.
- There is a perception gap on productivity: 33% of business owners felt people worked better when working from home, while 32% felt working in the office was more productive, and the remaining third felt it made no difference. These numbers changed significantly when seen through the lens of how their own businesses operate.
- Business owners whose teams were fully remote overwhelmingly believed that the workforce was more productive when working remotely (54%), but this came down to 35% amongst those who used a hybrid model, and then fell lower still (22%) among the population of business owners who retained an in-person only approach.
- Hybrid working offers a route to greater accessibility: 44% of those who self-reported having a long-term health condition wished they had more flexibility over their work schedule, compared to 35% of the general population. This group also reported marginally better overall wellbeing when working from home (47% vs 44%).
- With the employment rate amongst the disabled vs non-disabled population standing at 28.3 percentage points, there are wider benefits for the economy and society to be reaped by closing the participation gap.
- Over a third (34%) of those with long-term health conditions that prevented them from working said they would like to work if given the right arrangements by their employer.
- That said, while 64% of the general population felt that most employers are willing to accommodate the disabilities of their employees, this number drops significantly (43%) amongst those with long-term health conditions. Indeed, the majority (54%) of those surveyed reporting long-term illness told us that the Government should give employees the right to work remotely if there is no strong reason why the job cannot be done from home.
The Hybrid Work Commission makes a series of recommendations to Government on how to maximise the potential of hybrid working. They include calls for:
- The Government to introduce, in consultation with businesses, a National Remote and Hybrid Work Strategy to ensure that remote working is a permanent feature in the UK workplace in a way that maximises economic, social and environmental benefits
- Employers to seek to create moments for purposeful interaction, connection and collaboration by ensuring that employees have a reason to be in their office if they are so required
- Employers to offer line managers and those with management responsibilities training on hybrid and remote work to help them support their teams with hybrid working
- The Government, working with relevant bodies, to develop guidelines to support businesses to measure productivity in a hybrid and remote working environment.
See here for more information on CIPD resources on a wide range of flexible working options and practical support.