The Pros and Cons of Hybrid Working for Small UK Businesses

The pros and cons of hybrid working for small UK businesses


Businesses across the globe have embraced a transformative shift in their approach to work since COVID —the Hybrid Working Policy. 

In this blog, we'll delve into the pros and cons of Hybrid Working, and share some tips to help you make this a success. 

What is Hybrid Working?

Hybrid working, a term that has become synonymous with flexibility, refers to a work arrangement that allows employees to split their time between working remotely and in the office. This innovative approach recognises that work is no longer confined to a physical space and embraces the idea that employees can achieve peak productivity in diverse environments.

Several surveys and reports indicated that a significant portion of the UK workforce was engaging in hybrid working arrangements. A study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in 2021 found that around 40% of UK workers were working predominantly from home. This was a notable increase compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Employers and employees were adapting to new ways of working, with many expressing a preference for a mix of remote and office-based work. The extent of hybrid working varied across industries and job roles, with some sectors more amenable to remote work than others.

According to recent UK statistics, a staggering 87% of employees desire a hybrid working model. This surge in demand reflects a growing realisation that the rigid structures of traditional office life may no longer be the most effective or fulfilling way to work. Employees are seeking a harmonious balance between the comforts of remote work and the collaborative energy of the office.

The Pros & Cons of Hybrid Working for Small Businesses

Implementing a Hybrid Working Policy isn't just a gesture of goodwill towards employees; it's a strategic move that can reshape the dynamics of your business. 

The main benefits are: 

👉 Talent Attraction

A survey conducted in the UK reveals that 73% of employees consider flexible working a key factor when evaluating job opportunities. Offering a Hybrid Working Policy can give your organisation a competitive edge in attracting and retaining top talent.

👉 Increased Employee Satisfaction and Engagement

Happy employees are more engaged and committed to their work. A hybrid model, by catering to individual needs, contributes to higher job satisfaction, leading to increased employee engagement and loyalty.

👉 Cost Savings 

Reducing the need for a physical office space can result in substantial cost savings for businesses. Reduced electricity bills and not having to provide tea, coffee etc as frequently. 

👉 Adaptability and Resilience

The business landscape is ever-evolving, and the ability to adapt is crucial for long-term success. A hybrid working approach fosters resilience, enabling your organisation to navigate unforeseen challenges with agility.

The Cons

❌ Team cohesion

The biggest con is the lack of team cohesion, not being able to see what people are doing, and new joiners not having such a good induction, because they are unable to ask quick questions and get to feel part of the team. 

❌ Lack of focus

Some people may be looking after their children whilst working, so it’s very important to set clear boundaries around this, to ensure there is a fair and consistent approach for everyone and the businesses performance isn’t impacted. Especially if you’re employees are on the front line dealing with customers. 

❌ IT & Data Security

IT and data security processes need to be enhanced when people are working from their own homes and coffee shops to ensure you comply with GDPR requirements. If you are dealing with highly personal customer data, this can be very difficult and expensive to manage. 

❌ Health & Safety Issues

You should extend your workstation risk assessment to people’s homes, which doubles the admin workload. 

📍Ultimately, hybrid working relies heavily on you trusting your team to do the work, and having strong performance management systems in place to assess performance and drive collaboration and teamwork e.g. weekly virtual check-ins. Without this, hybrid working may not succeed in your small business. 

The Pros & Cons of Hybrid Working for Employees

Let's explore some of the key reasons employees are advocating for a more flexible work arrangement: 

The main benefits are: 

👉 Improved Work-Life Balance

The traditional 9-to-5 model often blurs the lines between professional and personal life, leading to burnout and diminished well-being. Hybrid working allows employees to craft a schedule that aligns with their individual needs, promoting a healthier work-life balance.

👉 Increased Productivity and Focus 

Remote work offers a conducive environment for deep focus and uninterrupted work. Many employees report heightened productivity when working from the comfort of their homes, where distractions are minimised.

👉 Reduced Commuting Stress and Cost

The daily commute is a source of stress for many employees. Hybrid working alleviates this burden, saving time and energy that can be redirected towards more meaningful pursuits. But the biggest benefit for employees is the cost saving. 💰

The Cons

The main cons are feeling isolated or having too many distractions at home to do the job properly. Or not having a proper desk at home, and therefore the increased risk of wrist and back injuries. 

Do businesses have to offer Hybrid Working?

While many organisations have embraced hybrid or flexible work arrangements, not all businesses can or want to accommodate hybrid working based on the nature of the work, team collaboration requirements, or other business-related considerations.

As employers, you should typically evaluate requests for hybrid working based on business needs, job requirements, team dynamics, and the employee's role. It's essential to communicate transparently about your decision and, if necessary, provide a clear rationale for why a particular request cannot be accommodated.

But, you should note that employees may have a legal right to make a flexible working request to ask for this. You should ensure you have a flexible working policy in place to be able to deal with such requests. Once you have met with the employee to understand their reason, you do have the right to reject the request, and there are set reasons to base this decision on. 

If you're an employee making a request for hybrid working, it can be helpful to provide a well-reasoned proposal that addresses potential concerns, demonstrates how the arrangement can benefit both you and the company, and shows that you've considered the practicalities of maintaining productivity in a hybrid work setup. Open and constructive communication between employees and employers is key to finding mutually beneficial solutions.

The Key Components of a Hybrid Working Policy

Now that we've explored the what and why of hybrid working, let's delve into the nuts and bolts of crafting an effective Hybrid Working Policy for your organisation:

✅ Clear Communication: Transparency is key. Clearly communicate the expectations and guidelines of the hybrid working model to avoid misunderstandings and ensure a smooth transition for everyone involved.

✅ Technology Integration: Invest in robust technology infrastructure to facilitate seamless collaboration between remote and in-office teams. Tools like video conferencing, project management platforms, and cloud-based systems are essential for effective hybrid work.

✅ Flexibility Within Structure: While hybrid working offers flexibility, it's essential to establish a framework that provides structure. Define core working hours, establish communication norms, and ensure that employees feel connected and supported.

✅ Emphasis on Well-being: Prioritise employee well-being by encouraging breaks, setting realistic expectations, and promoting a healthy work culture. A happy and healthy workforce is a productive one.

✅ Regular Check-ins and Feedback: Maintain open lines of communication through regular check-ins and feedback sessions. This ensures that employees feel heard, supported, and connected to the broader goals of the organisation.

🌐 Introducing Our Hybrid Working Template 🌐

To make the implementation of a Hybrid Working Policy even more straightforward for your organisation, we've crafted a comprehensive template tailored to your business needs. Our template covers everything from communication protocols to technology integration, offering a roadmap for a seamless transition to a hybrid working model.

✨ Embrace the future of work with confidence! Download our Hybrid Working Policy Template today and empower your workforce to thrive in the new era of flexibility. ✨

Hybrid Working Policy Template for UK businesses

It's clear that the landscape of work has undergone a profound transformation since the pandemic. Employees are no longer confined to the traditional office, and businesses are reaping the rewards of a more agile and adaptable workforce. By understanding the what, why, and how of a Hybrid Working Policy, your organisation can navigate the future with confidence, embracing a model that prioritises both employee well-being and business success. 🚀✨


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