How to ensure successful hybrid working practices

What have we learnt from hybrid working to date and which key considerations will enable organisations to succeed long term?

How to ensure successful hybrid working practices, featured image, Clarasys

How to ensure successful hybrid working practices

What have we learnt from hybrid working to date and which key considerations will enable organisations to succeed long term?

How to ensure successful hybrid working practices, featured image, Clarasys

Meet the author

Sophie Brazell

Managing Consultant

Hybrid working practices have opened up a world of talent to businesses and improved work-life balance for employees. Win-win. Or is it? We take a look at how organisations are coping with this seismic shift in working practices and how they can maximise benefits for themselves and their people.

It may be a distant memory now, but not so long ago, it was standard practice for people to travel to an employer-controlled office to work. For decades, bosses wanted visibility of their staff because it was believed they worked better there, away from the distractions of home life and under the watchful eye of the manager. Management felt serendipitous meetings would also lead to innovation, and it was only fair that all employees were governed by the same set of rules and principles.

But then Covid enveloped the world, blowing location-centric work design out of the water.

The same bosses who needed “eyes on” had no choice but to “hands off”. And guess what? It turned out many of us work better from home with opportunities for a better work-life balance, more flexibility, and, in the main, increased productivity.

When the world reopened, a steady stream of people headed back into offices. Some had missed the camaraderie of a team and eagerly returned for their fix of human interaction, face-to-face meetings, and office gossip. For others, working from home had gifted them time to juggle the mental load and spend more time on what mattered to them; family life, gym. And so, a more flexible hybrid working model became the new normal…. For some.

So, what have we learnt that should be considered if organisations want to remain hybrid?


According to Office for National Statistics figures, 24 percent of workers were hybrid in May 2022. When we are doing routine work, communication via a video platform is believed to suffice, whereas when we do something for the first time, being face-to-face is preferable. Management should consider when and if people need to be in the office and ensure work locations suit the task at hand. Failure to do so can result in resentment between employees and management that working preferences arent being heard. 

Serendipity breeds innovation

Serendipity does not necessarily breed innovation. Companies that thought about innovation in advance were shown to be those that innovated during the pandemic. Covid has shown that innovation doesn’t generally happen by accident, it requires concerted effort. Hybrid organisations should create moments for creativity and experimentation amongst their workforce instead of relying on “water cooler chats”. 


Covid has proved that fairness means equity instead of equality. Not everyone has the same requirements or values the same hybrid benefits. If businesses are to retain good people, they need to understand their employees individual needs and build this into working arrangements. Organisations must consider customised flexibility that enables people to bring their personal choices into the equation and not select from a list of pre-approved “cookie cutter” benefits. 

Hybrid working practices offer access to diverse talent

Hybrid has provided access to a bigger pool of resources, making workplaces more diverse and inclusive. Small companies are traditionally better at doing this where at taking risks and adapting their hiring strategy. Organisations that will thrive in a hybrid world will take advantage of a more flexible pool of resources and diversity of thought it brings. Businesses should also take into consideration their employee experience such as Microsoft and PwC who have made choosing digital equipment such as ergonomic mice, colour blind monitors, and wheelchair-supportive desks part of their standard onboarding process rather than an exception.

The future of work

The shift to hybrid working has been swift and businesses appear to have mostly coped well. Moving forward, trust is key. Organisations should allow employees to focus on their impact at work rather than how long they are sitting at their desks.

The distributed work model is gaining momentum, helping hybrid teams to plan where, when, how, and who is performing tasks. It involves creating flexible, fluid team structures that allow teams to come together and then disband.

A 2021 Gartner survey showed how much employees now call for and expect flexible roles.

Sixty-four per cent of respondents to the 2021 Gartner Digital Worker Experience Survey said they would only consider a new position if it allowed them to work flexible hours. The same survey revealed that when organisations give employees flexibility over how much they work, they experience a 9% jump in the number of employees ranked as high performers.

The 9-5 day doesn’t work for most people due to childcare demands and personal interests and preferences. Businesses must accept this reality if they are to retain good talent. 

Final thoughts and recommendations

Enabling technologies: By carefully selecting and the right mix of digital tools, that enable real-time collaboration and asynchronous ways of working, teams can avoid burnout and productivity issues.

Manager roles: Businesses need to support managers as their roles change in the hybrid workplace. Managers will require new training to understand how to manage distributed teams and how to take advantage of emerging technologies to avoid friction with employees. 

Regular check-ins: Hold regular face-to-face or virtual feedback sessions with employees about how the business can help people manage their day and how they are feeling.

To find out how our people and change management services can help you, get in touch.

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