Removal of hybrid working for return to the office for 5 days...


I was wondering if anyone in an owner/managed business has removed hybrid working and brought everyone back into the office 5 days week? Where there any specific considerations, process or timeframes?

  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    14 Mar, 2023 15:34

    Hi Claire... welcome... what business / sector are you working in?
  • I am more interested in why you would want to do so, bearing in mind that people can always make a FWR.

    Welcome to the Community.
  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    Small recruitment business
  • In reply to Peter Stanway:

    Believe me not my choice.......
  • Johanna

    | 0 Posts

    CIPD Staff

    16 Mar, 2023 09:47

    Hi Claire

    Have you employed anyone who was recruited on the basis that their role would be hybrid? For everyone, there may be financial, wellbeing/cost of living concerns, caring responsibilities, practical commuting issues etc. Ultimately, although I'm not an expert, suspect it comes down to contractual terms. The changes without engagement and collaboration and buy-in could result in many unhappy workers (*and some happy ones, remembering some people thrive on being with others or don't get on with home working.)

    CIPD guidance on Hybrid and flexible working looks at several areas where there are positives:

    job satisfaction
    work-life balance
    health and wellbeing
    staff retention and recruitment
    inclusion and diversity.

    If you wanted to chat to an expert re the details of your org's particular situation, as a CIPD member you have 24/7 access to the employment law helpline https://www.cipd.co.uk/membership/benefits/advice-support so that's worth considering in addition to the support you're getting here from Community members :)

  • Step One: The owner/manager will need to clearly articulate why an end to hybrid working is an operational requirement.

    Step Two: The owner/manager will need to communicate this to all of the staff, hear their feedback and respond accordingly in an attempt to minimize immediately resignations.

    Step Three: The owner/manager will need to deal with a barrage of formal flexible working requests and individually assess and reject each one on the basis of at least one of the eight legal reasons.

    Step Four: The owner/manager will need to recruit most of their team again from scratch after they all resign to go and work for the competition.

    Step Five: The owner/manager will fail to recruit good talent because good talent knows it can expect hybrid working from any half-decent employer in a white collar role.

    Step Six: If Step Three wasn't correctly completed, the owner/manager will need to instruct a solicitor to defend them from the Constructive Unfair Dismissal claims lodged against them for failing to properly consider their FWRs.

    Step Seven: If any of those who were rejected had protected characteristics relating to their FWR that weren't fully considered by the owner/manager, those CUD claims could be very expensive.

    Step Eight: Go out of business.
  • As Peter says, the question is why? And if the answer to 'why' is good enough, then it could be accepted - if the business is failing, complaints are rising, individuals don't want it, etc. There's always an answer that people managed through Covid, but that was a crisis situation and no one had a choice. Long term, it may not be the right choice for every industry.

    Having said that, any blanket "we don't have hybrid working any more" is going to go down like the proverbial cup of cold sick. Even if the 'why' is a good one, there has to be more subtlety than that. You will have people who depend upon the ways of working that have become customary, and may have made commitments in their lives based on that. You may have people with disabilities or vulnerabilities that don't want to commute to a busy office. No one has been in lockdown for more than a year - so what's changed now?

    I think almost every firm that wants to roll back on everyone wfh is doing so incrementally and with encouragement rather than a demand - as with almost every people issue, actually engaging with staff and understanding what they want and need to do their jobs well - and then letting them - is key.

    Good luck!
  • In reply to Johanna:

    Many thanks for this Johanna....we definitely have an unhappy workforce at the moment!
  • In reply to Nina Waters:

    Many thanks Nina, there certainly seems to be more businesses looking to roll back the wfh. I appreciate the advice!
  • In reply to Robey:

    Thanks Robey
  • Hi Claire, as someone who's worked in owner/ managed businesses I appreciate the challenges that it can bring up. They are not exclusive to that environment of course but it can be hard to challenge as there is so much emotion often tied up in the business and the decisions made.

    I agree with the advice you have below. Nina, Peter, Robey and Johanna all make sound points. Of course you can try and support this initiative and try and make it work however it's a significant risk to the long term success of the business, it's completely out of kilter with where clients and other recruitment businesses are going and it flies in the face of the evidence.

    It feels like a better solution would be to try and find some happy, commonsense, collaborative and frankly better solution.

    That said, sometimes owners only learn when things go wrong so you can try and consult, advice and challenge but it might be that the owner needs to discover the impact for themselves if your efforts fail to persuade them. Welcome to the community and good luck.