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Can the benefits of hybrid working boost candidate attraction?

Can the benefits of hybrid working boost candidate attraction?
The paradigm of working full-time in an office environment has shifted to a more flexible and hybrid environment, and many candidates now expect a hybrid working model to be standard on the job description when looking for a new role.  It’s a well-known fact that COVID-19 influenced the cultural mindset of working from home, which is remarkable because laptops and broadband have existed for decades. Why did it have to take so long!

More than four in five workers (84%) want to continue flexible model despite a government push for a return to office. A hybrid workplace offers employees more control over their work schedule and a busy home life, as well as cutting down commuting time and costs. The ONS also found hybrid working patterns had shifted towards employees spending more working hours at home.

The shift towards Hybrid working has also started a new trend of Zoom Towns, which are towns in the UK which have seen a significant rise in remote roles over the last two years. Worthing, Burnley, Stoke, Southend and Dundee are the areas which have seen the biggest increase of hybrid job vacancies.

The advantages of a hybrid working arrangements

It’s not only employees who gain from a hybrid environment – businesses do too! If workers are allowed a choice and control over their working patterns, the business will reap the benefits of potential higher levels of employee engagement, motivation, and retention.

Other benefits of flexible working include savings on office space, higher levels of employee job satisfaction and reduced absence rates. It’s also worth mentioning that improved staff mental health is the main motivation for businesses adopting or continuing a hybrid working environment.

Is hybrid working the sweet nectar?

Back  in April when Air BnB announced its work-from-anywhere policy, the careers page received over a whopping 800,000 visits. Even the Bank of England is responding to requests for remote working from applicants by adopting hybrid working long-term. This allows the BoE to not only attract more talent, but it gives employees a decent work life balance.

But it’s not just the large, international companies that offer remote working; Brevity Marketing here in Basingstoke gives employees the benefit of hybrid working and working no more than a 4 day week.

Kaia Vincent, director, says:

A four-day working week (or less) allows all the Brevity team (including me) to enjoy a better work-life balance and have more time to spend with family and friends or partake in hobbies and other wellbeing activities. Our team have always been productive and engaged, so I haven’t seen any changes here, for me it was more about elevating positive wellbeing and enjoyment of living.

When I had my child, I went back to work 3-months after he was born and didn’t get the opportunity to spend as much time with him as I would have liked. So, it was also important to me that Brevity offered parents the flexibility to extend days off so they can be with their children during half-terms, Christmas, Easter and have 3 weeks off across the summer holiday.

Although we have retained our country office, staff are free to choose when they come to the office – there are no rules. I, myself, like the separation from home/office so I choose to work at the office. But others prefer the ability to get their head down in the tranquillity of their home office most days. With staff not having to be office-based it meant I could consider employing people from further afield, allowing Brevity to enjoy a wider pool of employees that best fit our values, company culture and marketing expertise requirements.

Hybrid working and recruitment strategies

Of course, hybrid working won’t be suitable or possible for all roles and businesses, but are you offering remote working if it’s possible?

If hybrid working is feasible and yet you’re reluctant to implement it, think about the reasons why. Is it a lack of trust? Do you prefer to be able to see your staff? Or is it because ‘it’s just not how things are done’?

If you’re having difficulty filling job vacancies, it could be time to reflect on what’s on offer to the employee and to adjust your expectations. Perhaps the requirement to work in the office 5 days a week is not attractive to potential candidates. They may also be wondering if the work culture could be dated and exclusive.

Maxine, MD of Wote Street People, says:

The key to attraction via the hybrid model is to be open to negotiation.  Don’t just pay lip service to the hybrid model and don’t have a fixed idea of how it will work.  Only offering what the company wants isn’t what will attract talent.  They’ll want to work flexibly around their other commitments.

It’s like saying you can wear any shoes you like as long as they’re brogues.  Be open to flip flops and stilettos. Use a robust recruitment process to have open conversations about why the hybrid model will work for the company and why it will benefit the employee.

Think about the office space too – does someone have their chair set a certain way – people may still want their own space when they are in the office; do your homework before you offer.

Try having an open mind during the recruitment process – you might be surprised what you discover!

Give Maxine a call on 01256 236997 or email maxine@wotestreetpeople.co.uk  if you’d like a confidential chat about how a hybrid or flexible working policy could support your candidate attraction strategy. 

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