What is a ‘hybrid work’ model and how is it set to change the UK labour market?

If you’ve been watching the news at all over the past few weeks, you’ll have no doubt seen a swathe of huge companies declaring they are committing to a ‘hybrid work’ model.

Standard Chartered, Nationwide and Google are all part of a growing cohort of corporations adopting this model. But what is it, and how can you prepare your business for it?

Put simply, hybrid work models incorporate a flexible mix of remote and in-office working. How this works in practice is down to individual businesses. Some have suggested scheduled days for working remotely or in the office, whilst others have allowed their employees to take the lead and determine what is right for them.

Many business leaders had initially expressed that their employees were rushing to get back to work. For some roles, this is true, particularly in sectors like hospitality and retail where in-person contact is essential. For office-based staff, the picture is startlingly different. Some surveys have shown that up to 49% of office-based workers would quit their job if their employer didn’t provide some kind of remote flexibility, post-pandemic.

If you’d have asked business leaders to consider this model for their staff 12 months ago, it’s fair to say they would have had reservations. But if the past year has taught us anything it’s that the UK workforce is far more adaptable than any of us could have imagined. Most businesses have been forced to adapt to a world with coronavirus restrictions, but a lot have succeeded in ways they may have never thought possible.

One of the big advantages of adopting a hybrid work model is being able to access a much wider talent pool for recruitment. Historically, individuals looking for work have been bound by their location when looking for jobs. This is why so many young and ambitious professionals move to London.

But not everyone can feasibly ‘up sticks’ and move when they’re searching for a role. This means you’re only getting a certain subsection of job seekers applying for work. It may be someone’s dream to work for your organisation, but their responsibilities might mean they must remain local to home. By adopting remote work into your business, you can widen your net to include a host of job seekers with who you would have never engaged before!

Recruiting people remotely might sound scary, and if you’ve never done it before that’s understandable. Hiring managers make as much judgement based on how people interact with them in person, as they do by looking at their CV. But there are steps you can take to give yourself peace of mind.

First, you should research remote interview techniques. As the events of the past 12 months have unfolded many businesses have still needed to recruit staff. This means that a new niche of specialist recruitment consultants has risen to meet this challenge. Enlisting the services of these individuals, either to carry out the recruitment directly or, in an advisory position will help you master this process.

Carrying out background checks is another great way to mitigate doubt. They can give you insight into someone’s criminal record history. Specialist checks can also reveal how an individual has represented themselves in the media, whether they have an adverse financial history or even if they are on any political watchlists. These types of checks are particularly useful for senior or C-level recruits.

While the move to hybrid working isn’t necessarily mainstream at the moment, it’s only a matter of time before it’s the norm. Feeling within the UK’s office-based workforce is that this is the future of work. By being an early adopter of this revolutionary model of work, your organisation could benefit by attracting the best and brightest in the country.