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Hybrid Working – Tips for Employers

Hybrid Working – Tips for Employers

Businesses have gone through a lot of changes over the past couple of years with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and companies now adopting a hybrid work model.

A recent article on LinkedIn News UK questioned whether hybrid working could be contributing to a more toxic environment for employees in light of new research showing that allegations of bullying in UK employment tribunal cases have hit a record high, up 44% over the past year.

While bullying allegations may be on the rise we are not seeing any link between hybrid working and bullying in the cases that cross our desks. However, the research is a useful reminder of the importance of managing employees well and creating a working environment that is free from bullying – whether employees are working in the office; at home or a hybrid model.

We have set out below some steps for employers in terms of managing employees within a hybrid working model so that employees feel part of the team and specifically to avoid any allegations of bullying.

So how do you maintain working relationships in a hybrid working model?

Generally speaking, we would say that it is important overall to ensure that employees are familiar with organisational policies and procedures (for example, any anti-bullying, grievance and disciplinary procedures) that are in place.

Maintaining regular contact

Bullying is often a product of the working environment so it is important to have clear lines of communication for example regular one-to-one meetings so that you can check up on your employees wellbeing.

Encourage social connections between the team to support effective relationships. Employees are likely to create a bond with a leader they trust, who genuinely cares about their wellbeing and listens to them. Ideally you should recurrently feedback on performance, listen to any issues and work with them to find a solution. Try to schedule weekly catch-ups when they are in the office, virtual, or over the phone, so they feel looked after.

This should assist you to develop a better understanding of employees needs and goals and improve your relationship with them.

Social events

Whilst working at home has its benefits, the social aspect of being in the office remains an issue as it is easier to chat to colleagues when you are working in the office and exchange ideas on particular projects more freely when you are face-to-face. Being able to speak to colleagues and being in a more social environment is also so important for overall wellbeing and employee engagement. Employers have to also bear in mind that if you are working to a hybrid working model then to keep in mind not to leave remote workers out when organising social gatherings or meetings for example, therefore to strike a balance when managing staff.  

Managing hybrid and in-office employees

Make sure your processes for promoting employees and even assigning tasks are the same for both remote and in-office employees. Face-to-face time in the office might make you think of certain employees first, but they may not be the best fit for a project or role. Bearing this in mind when managing staff will go towards maintaining good relationships with your people.

Managing health and wellbeing

When managing a hybrid workforce, you need to make sure your remote employees are getting the same level of support as those in the office. Your employees may be suffering from burnout, anxiety or even covid related symptoms which could affect their mental health and in turn their work, and you want them to feel comfortable speaking to their manager about any issues.

The foundation of an effective hybrid working set-up is personal responsibility and trust. A sense of independence and control over our work is something that we have known for many decades that pushes wellbeing and therefore performance. Further to this, employers should encourage workers to disconnect meaningfully when working remotely, taking proper breaks and managing their digital wellbeing.

Whilst not specific to hybrid working, it is also crucial that businesses provide adequate training to managers so that they are equipped to deal with any potential issues; and that any complaints of bullying are dealt with seriously and investigated promptly in accordance with your grievance and disciplinary procedure.

The tips listed above should help employers when managing a hybrid workforce so that employees feel supported and should help minimise any potential complaints.

Insight from Debbie Fellows, Employment Law Partner. For more information contact Debbie or any member of the Employment team on 03330 430350.

About the author

Debbie Fellows
Debbie Fellows

Debbie Fellows



For more information, contact Debbie Fellows or any member of the Employment team on 03330 166582.