Everything you need to know about hybrid working

Hybrid workingEveryone’s talking about hybrid working – so what is it, how does it work, and how should you ask for it? Here’s the Timewise Jobs lowdown.

The explosion in home-working as a result of the pandemic looks set to have a lasting impact, with a huge number of companies now planning a hybrid set-up for the months and years ahead. So it’s important for any job seeker to understand what hybrid working means, and consider whether it might be a good option going forwards.

What is hybrid working, and how does it work?

Hybrid arrangements have always existed, but they are becoming more common as a result of offices being closed during periods of lockdown. In essence, hybrid working is a pattern in which an employee (or a whole team or organisation) works part of the week remotely, and part in the office.

It’s possible to be part-time and work in a hybrid way; you would just split the days you work between the home and office. And whether you are part-time or full-time, your hybrid pattern doesn’t have to be set in stone; depending on how flexible your employer is, you might work three days from home one week, and two the next.

At its best, hybrid working is about matching the right task to the right place. So, for example, if you have a report to write, you might find it easier to focus, and be more productive, tackling it at home. Whereas if you have a brainstorming session or a creative project that requires collaboration, the office might be a better fit.

What do employers think about hybrid working?

The pandemic has caused a real shift in attitudes towards remote and hybrid working. Employers have seen that their staff can be trusted to work from home, and to deliver as efficiently, or even more efficiently, than they did in the office. They have also got to grips with, and invested in, the technology that makes remote meetings viable. As a result, a lot of the barriers to remote and hybrid working have come crashing down.

Additionally, research has indicated that employees don’t want to lose the flexibility they had during the pandemic. So employers who are keen to attract good candidates, and keep hold of their existing staff, are aware that they need to offer hybrid options. And from a purely financial perspective, some employers are weighing up the potential savings on building costs and other overheads from having fewer people in the office at once.

Are any jobs being advertised as hybrid?

Many job adverts now mention remote working, and more are starting to specifically use the word hybrid, something which is likely to increase over time. However, if you’re searching for a hybrid role, you might want to use the terms ‘home-working’ and ‘remote working’, as well as the word ‘hybrid’, to widen your matches while the jobs market catches up.

So, how should I ask for a hybrid arrangement?

The principles behind asking for a hybrid arrangement are, in essence the same as those for asking for any other kind of flexible working. You should:

  • Think about whether hybrid working is a good match for your skills and circumstances. Do you have a suitable space for working at home? Are you good at self-motivation?
  • Consider whether the job in question is suited to hybrid working. Could at least part of the job spec be carried out remotely?
  • Focus on your skills and experience, and not on the pattern you want, in an application or interview. Never mention hybrid working in your CV.
  • Think carefully about when to raise the subject – we usually suggest waiting until you have had an offer, or at least until an interview.
  • Back up your ask with the business case – for example, explaining why you think certain tasks would be well suited to home-working, or talking about how working remotely has increased your efficiency in a previous role.

All the indications are that hybrid working is here to stay. And many people have found that not having to travel into work every day, and being able to use the extra time for fitness, meditation or other personal activities, has proved hugely beneficial. So if you think it would be a viable option for your current or next role, why not give it a try?

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