How we started hybrid work
I’ve always considered AYP Group to be a forward-thinking organisation in our approach to HR. Leading the future of work–it’s an ethos that has guided our chosen strategies, both within our client organisations, and in AYP Group itself. The group’s recent move to transition to a hybrid work environment was truly a welcome one and speaks to the progressive nature of our organisation.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about the widespread acceptance of remote working. While this has proved to be difficult for many businesses to accept, the popularity of hybrid work continues to grow. A survey by TravelPerk, a business travel platform, has indicated that 76% of respondents plan to continue with the hybrid work model through the end of the pandemic. 1
I for one am proud to count the AYP Group among the number of businesses looking ahead to the myriad of possibilities with this model.
The hybrid model is the ideal business continuity plan.
The pandemic took the business world by surprise and cemented the need for every organisation to have a business continuity plan that accounted for social distancing. At AYP Group, we’d already begun the process of digitalisation, so adapting to a fully-remote workforce was a much simpler endeavour than it would have been otherwise.
We’ve heard many stories about businesses that tried the hybrid model, only for it to fail. In my opinion, the main reason why companies fail in this effort is that they were improperly set up for it. Failure to plan for this workforce experience and lacking a robust business continuity plan are probably among the key reasons why the implementation of a hybrid model fails within a company.
A strong business continuity plan is key to the implementation of an effective hybrid work environment.
Choose long-term productivity with hybrid work
Productivity definitely takes a hit in the short term when transitioning from one working style to another; however, the long-term benefits are impossible to beat. As an HR manager, it’s my job to engage my employees and understand their working styles; doing so allows me to assist in the creation of an office environment that employees actually want to work from.
When designing our hybrid work experience, AYP also considered factors of health protection. A study showed that open offices had far higher incidences of employees taking sick leave–62% higher than individual offices, and 30% higher than smaller, closed offices shared by six people.2
With COVID-19 raging and Omicron cases rising to all-time highs, this move has certainly helped the company manage incidents of breakouts in the company and reduce the spread of the virus.
Hybrid work makes happier employees and better businesses.
Numerous studies have shown that a happier workforce is a more productive workforce–some studies say as high as 20%.3 Allowing our employees to work remotely from their homes gives them the flexibility to manage their work-life balance and family responsibilities with far less stress involved. Any small decreases in productivity due to the challenges of cross-country collaboration are far outweighed by the benefits.
How can you get started?
The willingness to experiment is important in every new business venture. The same goes for the shift to a hybrid work model. I had to be prepared for a process of trial and error, being ever mindful that some plans may fail, but the reward is a valuable lesson learnt.
Some of the most valuable resources available for a smoother transition to cross-country remote work are our professional employer organisation (PEO) and employer of record (EOR) solutions. A manager can only be in one place at a time, and may not be aware of the day-to-day difficulties that employees are facing overseas. An EOR or PEO takes on the burdensome administrative tasks that come together with hiring overseas employees. This allows me to fill up my time with the more complex, human tasks of my role. It is, after all, why I choose to work in HR–for the future of people, not the paperwork.