More than two years since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, remote and hybrid working is here to stay. At first, the sudden shift posed challenges for many employees but thanks to advancements in technology, new and innovative ways of working have emerged and leading organisations recognise that introducing hybrid working yields numerous positive and lasting benefits. Organisations cannot ignore that jobseekers now place a top priority on whether a company offers hybrid and remote working.

That said, in the UAE, businesses are adopting hybrid work models at an impressive rate, with 90% of employees currently working remotely or to a hybrid model. Similarly, in the Asian Pacific (APAC) region, 85% of organisations are actively promoting hybrid working, and 7 in 10 organisations are recruiting talent from locations worldwide with this in mind. 

When it comes to winning the war on talent this trend shows no signs of slowing down. Especially when you consider that globally the volume of job searches using the “remote” filter on LinkedIn has increased by 60% since the start of March 2020. Businesses that embrace this new model of working have a competitive edge in attracting and retaining top talent. It allows for more flexibility, improved work-life balance, and increased productivity. With the infrastructure and policies in place to support it, hybrid work is a win-win situation for both employers and employees.


Why offer flexibility?

In today's job market, offering flexibility has become a top priority for employees, especially with the rise of "The Great Resignation." One study shows that almost half of employees (47%) would actively seek new job opportunities if their current employer did not offer a hybrid working model. In the battle for great talent, providing flexibility can be a significant differentiator in attracting and retaining the best professionals, particularly for freelance creative individuals.

The geographical freedom that comes with remote work allows organisations to rethink hiring and provide new opportunities for quality candidates who may not have been eligible for a role due to geographical constraints. For example, expanding the search for remote candidates through the “remote” filter on LinkedIn or including it in the job description can help employers tap into a wider talent pool.

Offering flexibility not only eliminates the need for a long commute but also allows employees to work in an environment that suits them best. This improvement to work-life balance results in employees feeling happier and more engaged, boosting employee retention, acquisition, and productivity. It also mitigates travel expenses, which is highly valued by employees during the current cost-of-living crisis.

However, to successfully navigate the implementation of hybrid working, companies must implement certain strategies to reap all the benefits. This includes ensuring that employees have access to the right collaborative technology solutions, setting clear communication expectations, and fostering a culture of trust and accountability.


How to navigate the future of hybrid working?

To successfully navigate the reality of hybrid working and ensure they win the war on talent, companies need to be prepared to make some changes. Here are 5 key strategies to consider:


1. Establish clear policies and guidelines

Clear policies and guidelines should outline expectations for both employees and managers, and address key areas such as communication, availability, and accountability. For example, a company may set expectations that employees are available for virtual meetings during certain hours or establish protocols for communicating urgent issues outside of traditional office hours. By clearly defining expectations and providing structure, companies can ensure that their hybrid work policies are successful and meet the needs of both employees and the organisation.


2. Invest in technology

With more and more employees working remotely, it is important to have the right tools and resources to facilitate collaboration, communication, and productivity. This includes hardware such as laptops and mobile devices, software for communication and project management, and cybersecurity tools to ensure data protection.

For example, investing in in cloud-based collaboration platforms allows employees to work together seamlessly regardless of their location. Video conferencing tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams can help facilitate face-to-face meetings and build team cohesion. Investing in cybersecurity tools like VPNs or multi-factor authentication can protect against data breaches and keep sensitive information secure.


3. Create a culture of trust

Creating a culture of trust involves empowering employees to work independently, setting clear expectations, and providing support and resources to help them achieve their goals. Managers should focus on outcomes rather than micromanaging and trust their team to deliver results. For example, flexible schedules and clear communication channels can help build trust and promote a sense of autonomy among employees. When employees feel trusted and supported, they are more likely to be engaged and productive, leading to a more successful and efficient hybrid work environment.


4. Offer training and development opportunities

Companies should invest in training on communication skills, time management, and remote work best practices to help employees develop the skills they need to work effectively in a hybrid setting. For example, providing online training courses or webinars on how to use the newly introduced collaborative tools can help employees stay engaged. As a result, employees are more likely to feel valued, supported, and confident in their ability to perform their jobs, leading to higher levels of productivity and job satisfaction.


5. Maintain communication

Maintaining open lines of communication is critical to ensuring employees feel supported and connected to their colleagues, even when working remotely. Regular check-ins, team meetings, and virtual social events can help foster a sense of community and promote collaboration. For employee retention it’s vital that employees feel part of a team, despite not being physically present in the office. Clear and consistent communication can also help prevent misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.


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