Alongside ‘unprecedented’, ‘lockdown’ and ‘omicron’, ‘hybrid working’ was yet another new term that we all got very used to hearing throughout the pandemic. With businesses across the country forced to work from home there was widespread debate around the impact this would have on both productivity and employee wellbeing.
Professional services consultancy PwC commissioned a global research survey of nearly 4,000 business leaders, interestingly showing that remote/hybrid working had actually delivered a net positive effect on productivity within the workplace but is it set to stay?
PM Boris Johnson recently announced that current COVID rules are set to end on the 24th of March and many businesses have already reopened offices full time. As COVID-19 gradually becomes endemic within society it will be fascinating to see how this impacts the future world of work and how swiftly, if at all, organisations will return to ways of working that have evolved significantly over the last two years.
The North-West has been one of the shining lights of the UK economy in recent years and has grown significantly even despite the pandemic. We shine a spotlight on some of the firms in the region that are bossing hybrid working.
Chess is one of the UK’s leading technology service providers. With more than 300 employees the company is well known for its commitment to its workforce having been recognised as No.1 in ‘The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work for’ list in 2018 and now boasts over ten years in the top 100.
With that in mind it’s no surprise to see the business taking such a proactive stance when it comes to hybrid working. Eager to involve all employees in policy-making decisions beyond just senior management, Chess conducted a survey of its 320-strong team to gauge their opinions on the best hybrid working model to move forward with. The results were revealing with a vast range of responses and attitudes. This diversity of thought is exactly why a flexible model is a necessity for the 2022 workplace and the business is now putting the conditions in place to enable all employees to work effectively while supporting their wellbeing and work/life balance.
Love Energy Savings:
Hailing from just outside Manchester in nearby Bolton, Love Energy Savings is one of the UK’s leading utilities comparison platforms helping businesses save on their energy bills.
The firm’s flexible working policy gives its team the autonomy to set not only where they work but also what hours they work too. As well as allowing workers to do their jobs from anywhere in the country the business has extended its policy, now allowing its staff to work from space!
Under the leadership of CEO Phil Foster Love Energy Savings is truly at the forefront when it comes to the future of the workplace and has replaced the majority of its internal communications with either WhatsApp or Instagram messages. We look forward to seeing what the new year has in store.
70-strong MBL Seminars are one of the firms joining the widely publicised four-day working week trial in which employees will be paid exactly the same but work one day less each week. Specialising in learning and development for firms from the professional services industry the firm made the headlines recently as one of the first three UK firms joining the trial that is being run by Oxford and Cambridge Universities as well as Boston College, Autonomy and campaign group 4 Day Week Global.
Responding to shifting market conditions in the wake of the pandemic and an increased focus on a healthy work/life balance, the firm described the trial’s launch as ‘a new dawn for a new era’. It will be fascinating to see if that holds true and whether the pandemic truly will topple the supremacy of a five-day working week.
Based in Altrincham, Realm Recruit specialise in regional Legal Recruitment. The business offer a people-first ethos when it comes to the candidates it’s recruiting, the law firms it is dealing with as well as its own team internally. Stating clearly on its website that life is the more important element of ‘work/life balance’ the business has shown impressive growth since its launch five years ago but kept these values ever-present.
Employee wellbeing is critical to the business in a notoriously stressful industry so the firm have invested in introducing a wellbeing charter for its staff, wellbeing days throughout the year as well as
paid-for access to a counsellor. When it comes to flexibility the business is also in a league of its own, allowing employees to come in to the office when they choose, offering flexitime and four-day weeks as well as an annual leave allowance of up to 30 days p/y.
Founded by former Manchester United defender Gary Neville, since hanging up his boots Neville has become one of the city’s most exciting entrepreneurs. Neville owns/co-owns a number of businesses around Manchester including the Relentless Group, the Stock Exchange Hotel as well as UA92.
A leading voice throughout the pandemic, Neville has been equally vocal when it comes to hybrid working. In a message on Twitter the ex-pro went to great lengths to voice his trust for his workforce, stating that across all of his businesses, their decision around where to work is entirely theirs. Neville added ‘this is an individual choice and at no point must you feel the pressure to come in or stay at home.’
To read more about The PHA Group’s own approach to flexible working click here.