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Employers advised of benefits from hybrid working

Hybrid working can help businesses attract and retain staff as well as increase productivity, according to new advice for employers.

The conciliation service Acas suggested training line managers to help them prepare for new ways of working and to consider a trial period to see if it works.

It issued a new study showing that half of employers expect an increase in demand for flexible forms of working after the country comes out of the pandemic.

Half of 2,000 employers surveyed predicted an increase in staff working from home or remotely all week.

Acas chief executive Susan Clews said: “The pandemic has greatly impacted working life and it’s unsurprising that many employers and their staff have seen the benefits of flexible working during this difficult period.

“Hybrid working existed before Covid and our survey reveals that more than half of employers in Britain expect this type of flexible working to increase once we come out of the pandemic.

“Our new advice can help employers look at the potential benefits of hybrid working, consider whether it is suitable for their workplace, and fairly manage any staff requests.”

Acas said hybrid working can help businesses attract and retain staff as well as increase staff productivity as the flexibility allows them to balance work and personal responsibilities.

Employees can benefit by saving costs and the time spent travelling to work as well as enjoying a better work/life balance.

The conciliation service suggested that firms consult widely with staff or their representatives about introducing hybrid working, and ensure employees who are working remotely are not excluded and have access to the same opportunities as those in the workplace.

Employers are also urged to consider a trial period to see what works and whether any further adjustments to arrangements are needed.

A separate report by jobs site Glassdoor said working from home has had a disproportionately negative impact on young employees.

Just over half of 18- to 24-year-olds are keen to return to the office, more than double the average for all employees, said the report.

Three quarters of the younger age group said they felt burned out from working from home during the pandemic, and increasingly felt disconnected from work and less motivated.

Joe Wiggins, director at Glassdoor, said: “It seems we may have a two-speed return to work based on how far people are into their careers.

“Young employees will be flocking back to the office to get their careers and social lives back on track.

“Older workers with more experience are less keen to rush back, being more concerned about the commute and feeling less impacted by burnout.”

He added that having to look presentable was the main concern for young people returning to work.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “As restrictions ease, employers should consult with staff and their unions about working patterns and hours, including hybrid working and working from home.

“The TUC is worried by the new class divide emerging, with those who can work from home getting more flexible working options, and those who must be in a workplace missing out.

“Every worker in every job should be able to work flexibly. As Acas guidance makes clear, employers should consider other forms of flexible working alongside hybrid working, things like flexitime, term-time working, job-sharing, compressed hours and predictable shift patterns.

“Flexible working is good for productivity, for morale, and it helps working people balance work with their other responsibilities.

“Ministers should get on and publish their long-promised consultation on day-one flexible working rights for every worker, in every job.”