Hybrid is the winner: the trending solution to workforce resistance

Business leaders from around APAC explain the hybrid policies they’re consolidating moving forward

Hybrid is the winner: the trending solution to workforce resistance

The office-remote-hybrid transition that most businesses have just endured happened at a rate of knots but as employers come to terms with the latest twist in the saga – the resistance of the workforce to return to the office – a hybrid work force seems to have emerged as the trending solution. As leaders navigate and consolidate hybrid plans, HRD chats to businesses around APAC about the processes and policies they’ve adopted in their hybrid workforces moving forward.

Going Hybrid

At labour hire technology company, Sidekicker all employees worked in the office pre-covid. Now, the company works under the philosophy that, “work isn’t somewhere you go, it’s something you do” and have implemented a policy that allows their employees to choose what works best for their lifestyle.

COVID was the motivating factor for the company to go remote, Sidekicker co-founder, Jacqui Bull told HRD. “We always had an in-office culture prior to 2020 but our employees enjoyed working flexibly and so we decided to continue to provide that flexibility long after lockdowns,” she continued.  

Read more: How do you improve your asset utilisation in a hybrid world?

Similarly, Liz Moran, director, and HR business partnership APJ, at software company New Relic, said they had implemented a “Flex First” work philosophy which allows employees to choose where they work, “the office, home, or somewhere in between.”

“We learned a great deal about how to work effectively throughout the pandemic, and rather than attempting to return to old ways of working, we are embracing an exciting new future of work,” said Moran.

Staff retention and acquisition

“The Great Resignation has shown us that, overwhelmingly, employees are demanding flexible work arrangements – and they will change jobs to get them. We are also hearing from candidates that flexibility is a top priority,” she Moran. 

“Flexibility is one of the top three things prospective candidates ask us about, so we find it essential to attracting the right people to the business, alongside salary and L&D. Working in a hybrid model keeps us competitive,” said Bull.

Office-based encouragement

Despite the freedom given to Sidekicker employees, there is an expectation that employees come into the office regularly and there are several fun initiatives to ensure that employees are eager to be there – the most successful of which is “CommunEATy” with more than 50% of employees regularly attending – employees that go into their local office will get a free lunch from a local restaurant. The occasion is also documented through their Instagram page.

Read more: How to build cultural pillars for a successful hybrid workforce

“We keep it fresh by spinning a wheel each week to decide where to go. The initiative brings together community, connection, and our shared love of food,” said Bull.

Sidekicker have also given staff 8 weeks of “work from anywhere” leave. “We have over 20 different nationalities represented at Sidekicker, so travel is often high up on the list of things people care about. Our Work from Anywhere policy has meant that our team have been able to spend precious time reconnecting with family and friends after long periods apart.”

Technology

To support the move to hybrid New Relic has invested in technology to help distributed teams connect and develop norms. The ‘Connections and Belonging’ hub also documents when, where and how teams will work together.

“Anecdotally our employees enjoy the freedom to choose where they work,” said Bull.

“The majority of our Relics are choosing to work to a remote or hybrid schedule and the feedback has been positive,” said Moran.

The future of hybrid is agile

“We continue to learn from our Flex First environment. As we do, we incorporate additional learnings and tools into our resources,” said Moran.

“So far, hybrid has worked well for us, but it is important that we keep an open mind. Like all of our policies, we will keep it under review. And of course, this could change if the future needs of the business change,” said Bull.

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