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Hybrid Working Models – Navigating the New Working Model

Undoubtedly, the shift towards hybrid work models, whereby employees experience flexibility over their working environment, has become one of the biggest side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst remote working commenced as an essential measure for many businesses to survive, it has since become evident that flexible working could not only restore the work-life balance, but also revolutionise entire business models.

With the mounting pressure on employers to consider their employee’s mental health, wellbeing, happiness and productivity, the question of how to manage this the correct way has always presented a struggle. Now, however, employers are beginning to understand the key drivers of happiness in the workplace – Flexibility.

Besides necessity, flexibility is the biggest motivation in moving towards hybrid working models. Most employees have adapted to working from home (WFH) and are much happier with their ability to waive daily commutes goodbye, spend more time with their families and generally achieve the much-desired work-life balance. Seriously, who doesn’t love skipping rush hour traffic after a busy day?!

Fully remote working is not necessarily for everyone which is why introducing hybrid models of work can help achieve balance. Whilst 83% of employees feel they do not need an office to be productive, a number of workers continue to feel the strain of isolation, including the lack of collaboration and inability to switch off. If you’re considering implementing hybrid work models in your organisation, there are a lot of considerations before making any changes.

Check out some of our recommendations for a smooth transition!

Take Time & PLAN!

When introducing any major organisational changes, it is fundamental to plan it correctly. Although the media (and maybe even employees) may be hyping up hybrid working, rushing to implement anything due to external pressures could be a disaster waiting to happen. Before making any decision, do your research, determine the interest of your employees, and work out if it is in fact a plausible reality for your business needs.

Gauging your Workforce

Before changing anything, you need to understand your employees’ perspectives. Utilising a company-wide communications strategy, such as anonymous surveys, will ascertain whether WFH, hybrid or flexible working is in fact a consideration. Once you have gauged the attitude of your workforce you will need to ensure new company policy and processes are implemented to reflect the newly introduced practices.

Implementing Policy & Practice

Undoubtedly, the shift towards hybrid work models, whereby employees experience flexibility over their working environment, has become one of the biggest side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst remote working commenced as an essential measure for many businesses to survive, it has since become evident that flexible working could not only restore the work-life balance, but also revolutionise entire business models.

Prior to making any decisions on implementing flexible working models, ensure any necessary paperwork is done. Devising policies which clearly outline expectations from employees can help eliminate any ambiguity, particularly if there is a range of different wants and needs from your workforce.

Not having an appropriate policy or guidance document in place may lead to hostility between colleagues. Remote workers may feel people predominately working in the office are being favoured, whereas in-office workers could perceive remote workers as being less productive. Having transparent, formal directives in place helps to avoid these situations as everyone should know what is expected of them. Ensure that whichever working model is applied, that it does not initiate a potential HR nightmare.

Remote Recruitment

If you are considering employing fully remote employees, ensure you have a fit for purpose recruitment process. Traditional recruitment methods may not accommodate the remote world so you may need to consider things like management alignment, behavioural insights, and candidate profiling to ensure you can make a better hiring decision. Remote recruitment could create a more accessible and inclusive working environment for people with disabilities. Remember, making a bad hire can end up costing a company thousands in lost income, training costs and reduced staff morale, just check out our bad-hire calculator. If you are recruiting for a critical role, get in touch and find out more about our Corvus Assured® recruitment solution, with a 95%+ success rate.

Remote Alternatives to Maximize Productivity

Undoubtedly, the shift towards hybrid work models, whereby employees experience flexibility over their working environment, has become one of the biggest side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst remote working commenced as an essential measure for many businesses to survive, it has since become evident that flexible working could not only restore the work-life balance, but also revolutionise entire business models.

Whilst a hybrid model of in-office and remote working is being strongly advocated at the moment, there are a number of alternative initiatives that may be more valuable to your workforce. For some organisations, introducing a 4-day working week could produce a similar outcome as the hybrid working model. Research is beginning to show that employees’ productivity is equal whether they work for 4 or 5 days per week. Besides striking a better work-life balance whereby employees will be more revitalised and achieve more flexibility in their personal lives, there are additional company benefits including heightened productivity, staff well-being, job satisfaction and retention, and reduced gender inequality.

Notably, the pandemic has accelerated a radical working model that most employers were only beginning to think about, if at all. With strong internal communications, employee engagement and commitment, flexible working models can help you stand out as an employer, recruit better staff, and strengthen your organisation as a success for the future.


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How to Onboard Staff When Working Remotely

We have all had to adapt to new ways of working with Covid-19 disrupting businesses and lives worldwide. When whole companies started working from home, many have had to adapt to how to better communicate and continue to be productive in their jobs. It also means, just because we are working from home, doesn’t mean you can’t recruit.  It takes months to build talent pipelines and if competitors are slowing down it can be a tremendous opportunity to attract outstanding candidates.

Corvus have developed a remote recruitment methodology which provides a platform for collaboration with key decision-makers, including behavioural testing and video interviews which save time and money; called Corvus Assured. 

Furthermore, we know it can be daunting to think of onboarding a staff member, so we’ve put together this guide on how to onboard staff when most people are working remotely.

New employees that are put through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to stay after 3 years. Using a structured process will ensure that new hires are up to speed on their role, your business, policies and projects. In addition, 91% of people believe they get more work done when they work remotely.

Equipment

Does your new hire have access to all the equipment needed to do their job effectively? This can often be a problem if an employee is using an old laptop which is slow, or they don’t have the right software for the program you need to run. Getting set up can be half the battle and make life so much easier for the new hire when it runs smoothly.

If you can help in this process by sending new equipment or screen-sharing to help with set-up, it can make a real difference to the new start becoming productive asap.

Contract

Using a tool like DocuSign can be really useful when trying to sign contracts quickly. Employees can add their signatures digitally and share contracts internally in a secure environment.

Company Information

Have all company policies on a digital platform such as SharePoint which can be securely be accessed from any device.

Key documents to share with your new staff member:

  • Values
  • Company policies/procedures
  • GDPR policy
  • Social Media policy
  • Contact details of all internal departments

It’s also important to cover projects, workflow, priorities and expectations, this could be in document or presentation form, but may be more effective when discussed over video chat or in a phone call.

Over-communicate

Communication is key to every team but even more important when working remotely. Ensure new hires understand how to use your communication tools. Whether you’re collaborating via video chat, group chat, emails and phone calls, it’s essential they are kept up to date. Over-communication is recommended to ensure they feel they’re involved and understand what is going on in current projects and what they are meant to be doing.

Putting together a communication schedule such as every morning everyone catches up on a video conference and then continues to talk via email or Microsoft Teams for the rest of the day could be very important to maintain constant communication.

Click here to learn more about how to stay connected with your team when working remotely

Stack overflow discuss their remote onboarding process:

“We take on-boarding very seriously. Every new hire in the company goes through a series of orientation calls with each member of the executive team, where they hear about our company history, culture, goals and structure. Within the engineering team, all new hires are assigned a mentor who guides them through a six-week on-boarding process where they meet people from different parts of the engineering team and learn about our culture and processes.”

Training

If training is required on a specific system or product, most training topics are best explained through videos. We recommend pre-recording training sessions as well as talking things through over a video call.

In addition, to reinforce the training, follow up after each training session to answer questions.

Managers

Whoever the new hire will be reporting to should set specific goals and expectations to keep the new hire motivated. Developing a task calendar after onboarding will be important for monitoring their progress and maintaining collaboration over time.

Scheduling weekly one-to-one meetings to discuss progress, resolve potential issues and set short-term and long-term goals.

Support

Ensure that team members can support new staff members when they have questions or even for general chat. Starting a new job can be an exciting time, it’s important they feel support via instant messenger, email, and calls, especially during the early part of onboarding.

Social Aspect

 At Corvus, we have video call meetings at 09:15 & 16:00 to keep the team connected & engaged. On a Friday, at 16:00 we all have a virtual drink together (tea/beer/wine/whiskey, whatever floats your boat). This routine and constant communication maintains great teamwork and communication when working remotely.

You could even consider online team-buildings, this could be playing a game online or hosting an online quiz in a video conference. You can be creative!

Corvus Team having Friday virtual drinks - remote working

Virtual Teammates

Pairing your new staff member up with peer-to-peer mentorship can make a significant impact on their onboarding. Having a designated person to help in the initial onboarding period can help streamline any questions the new staff member has and is able to guide them through projects they are currently working on.

Tools to Help Onboarding Staff

There are tools available to help with on-boarding to streamline the process, improve communication and manage projects.

Kin

Kin is a new hire onboarding software that creates a personalised welcome page for each new hire that links them to tasks, paperwork, and workplace details like location, start time, and team member bios. This could be useful to streamline the hiring process.

Learn more about Kin

Trello

Trello is used for task-based communication.

You use it to organise “cards” into lists—these cards can be projects, notes, memos, shared files, or anything else that helps your team work together. It’s extremely handy for online effective project management, you gain full visibility over all tasks in a project and have the flexibility to rearrange them as your priorities change. You can collaborate with team members on this board.

Learn more about Trello

Sharepoint

SharePoint is a document management and collaboration tool developed by Microsoft. It’s basically an intranet and content management system that is used for internal purposes to assist with bringing an organisation together.

Learn more about Sharepoint

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams makes it easy to Instantly go from group chat to video conference with the touch of a button. Teams of 10 or 10,000 can meet in one place, no matter how many places they’re in. You can use the group chat feature for private 1-to-1 conversations, specific team chats or for company-wide conversations. There are increased collaboration opportunities, you can access, share, and edit Word docs, PowerPoint, and Excel files in real-time.  Planner is an excellent tool as well to assign & track tasks and stay organised.

You can also add in other apps to increase productivity such as Trello. I personally like that my calendar is interlinked into the app so I can quickly check my schedule during a conversation with a colleague.

Learn more about Microsoft Teams here.

Slack

There are many other communication platforms which are great for remote working such as Slack. Slack also helps teams to communicate and collaborate in one place, it’s good for both a large enterprise and a small business. You can create a to-do list and continue working on projects by bringing the right people, conversations, tools and information you need together. Slack is available on any device as well; you can message or call any person or group within your team. You can video call groups of up to 15 people.

  • Share and edit documents a in Slack
  • Integrate the tools and services you already use into your workflow, including Google Drive, Salesforce, Dropbox, Asana, Twitter, Zendesk and more
  • Easily search a central knowledge base that automatically indexes and archives your team’s past conversations and files
  • Customise your notifications so you stay focused on what matters

Learn more about Slack here

Conclusion 

Overall, communication, structure, trust and collaboration are essential for a successful onboarding process. Working from home means adapting to the situation and using online tools to do things we would usually do in person. If you have any questions about remotely recruiting, please get in touch on 028 9091 8529 / hello@corvus.jobs


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