The real employee experience of hybrid working – and how to manage it

Jeff Phipps, managing director at ADP on why businesses should take time to understand the new world of work and what it means for employees.

Last Updated: 01 Sep 2021

Although home working has been heralded as a cure-all for work-life balance, the pandemic has seen a sharp increase in the amount of unpaid overtime UK employees are working. According to ADP Research Institute’s People at Work: A Global Workforce View report, people are now working an average of 7.8 hours per week without pay, up from six hours in 2019.

Unaccounted for and uncompensated, these extra hours leave employees at risk of burnout and can have long-term impacts on productivity and retention. 

The onus is on leaders to make it as easy as possible for their teams to track time accurately and encourage them to do so to be able to recognise high levels of overtime early – and either mitigate it or reward it as appropriate.

With employees working unpredictable and often much longer hours, it’s also vital to allow them sufficient downtime to recharge. Many will have neglected taking time off during the pandemic due to travel restrictions and, meanwhile, any systems designed to track accrual and requests may have become unfit for purpose due to business changes. 

Monitoring leave manually and accounting for flexible working, furlough schemes, and different entitlements can be time-consuming and lead to errors. But implementing automated systems is one way HR teams can access an overview of time off requests and approvals across their entire organisation, ensuring accuracy and compliance.                         

Over the past couple of years, the needs of both employees and employers have been in a constant state of flux and working patterns have had to adapt. 

For many, the desire for flexibility trumps traditional working schedules. However, this does also raise difficulties in ensuring compliance with working hours regulations and finding chances to connect with colleagues. 

A principle we are adopting at ADP is that flexibility is about “We and not Me”: for teams to operate well, we must understand not just our own priorities, but also the needs of others – and be willing to compromise as we embark on the journey of redefining the way we work. 

There has been too much focus on the specific days people spend in the office when conversations about hybrid working are had - but this doesn’t reflect the real experiences of employees. For some, flexibility is more about hours rather than days, and for others there may be monthly or seasonal concerns. 

Again, the onus is on leaders to adapt to this ever-changing work landscape and provide realistic schedules for employees – perhaps working longer hours at busier times and instituting a four-day week in quieter periods – while ensuring they have adequate support to reach their goals.

And, given that leaders may feel more distanced from their employees than before, having the right software is going to be important to stay connected and gain an understanding of the real experiences and needs of their people.


Image courtesy of ADP

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