Sayma Salik, People Partner at Central Surrey Health (NHS), says hybrid working is here to stay, but the balance will lean towards returning to the office
Don’t underestimate how difficult coming back into the office will be for many people. We’ve seen the physical impact of COVID-19, but I don’t think we’ve seen the start yet of the mental wellbeing impact, so I would really encourage the alignment of health and wellbeing with the return to work.
Chief People Officer, Bank of Ireland
By early 2020, around 3,500 Bank of Ireland employees were working with some degree of flexibility about where they work, but there was an ambition to do more. ‘That was partly due to a reticence to work differently,’ Matt says. ‘There was a concern that maybe if you aren’t seen to do the work, the work won’t be valued.’
‘People have got confidence now that they will be judged on the output of their work, not on the input of it and I think that’s a crucial distinction, and one that, culturally, we knew we needed to change,’ he says. ‘That is good for merit-based outcomes for colleagues when it comes to their career progression.’
Matt says the pandemic has helped the company ‘reconnect with society and the role that we play’ and allowed HR to rethink its role. ‘We used to talk about the focus of HR around business performance, but we’ve re-established the caring side of HR,’ he says. ‘And we should care for our people – we should support our people caring for each other too – and these are areas that we weren’t in as strongly as we should have been.’
With more than three-quarters of their staff wanting to work at home between 25% and 75% of their working week, the Bank of Ireland is firmly committed to supporting flexible working as society reopens. Whilst this still revolves around a physical workspace, there are some big differences. Its new hybrid working model includes access to a network of 11 remote-working hubs where employees will be able to book a desk.
The central office still has an important role to play, with large office buildings being redesigned to facilitate meetings and collaboration, while remote locations will be more suitable for task-based work.
While hybrid working has been almost universally well-received by employees (only 9% wanted to return to the office every day), there are likely to be bumps in the road. For example, Matt suggests there may be issues with inclusivity if employees are not physically in the room during meetings. But there are also concerns about employees’ mental health to consider.
‘Don’t underestimate how difficult coming back into the office will be for many people,’ he says. ‘We’ve seen the physical impact of COVID-19, but I don’t think we’ve seen the start yet of the mental wellbeing impact, so I would really encourage the alignment of health and wellbeing with the return to work.'
Explore the remaining case studies
See what our other case study participants have to say about hybrid working:
As a business that relies on networking, GlobalGiving decided that sharing an office space with other companies could be the ideal hybrid solution
After implementing hybrid working at NEC Europe over two years ago, Head of HR, Meera De Sa, says success lies in trusting staff to work just as hard from home
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You can also explore our latest resources, including top tips for running hybrid meetings and a webinar on solving the hybrid working challenge, and pledge your support to our #FlexFrom1st campaign - our call on organisations and government to make the right to request flexible working a day-one right.