Blog: The impact of hybrid working – does it work for you?

In this month’s blog we discuss hybrid working…

There is a lot of noise around working from home and how it is good or bad for productivity, retention, collaboration, engagement, developing culture and talent within an organisation.   But what are the actual statistics of working from home compared to hybrid and onsite working?  According to the IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies) most employees 60% work fully in the office. However, many of these jobs can’t be done from home as they are in manufacturing, retail, hospitality or are trades roles.

Where working can be done remotely, this is split between fully remote and hybrid working but there are some significant generational differences as we will look at later.

 Working remotely v’s working in the office?

The Positives

  • Improved diversity and inclusion – hybrid working has the potential to offer more flexibility in the workplace opening up job opportunities to a wider audience, in particular employees with disabilities, those with young families and other underrepresented groups.
  • Protect against burnout – 61 % of employees say they are exhausted at the end of the working day. Burnout is a big problem and can drive issues around absenteeism, increased turnover, hindering employee engagement and hitting productivity.
  • Alleviate financial pressure – research shows that working from home can save employees significantly in terms of commuting, out of school childcare, work attire and eating out.

The Negatives

  • Talent development – this is a particular issue with early careers development. Having worked pre covid for most of my career in an office this allowed me to see, hear and learn how things are done (both good and bad). Simply being in the proximity of colleagues helped me develop in my career.  However, where organisations are fully remote, no matter how well you use “Teams” you can’t replicate this learning and development.
  • Proximity bias – the flip side of remote or hybrid working can be problematic where some business leaders may be unconsciously bias to those employees that prefer office working. This risks driving inequalities and increasing bias against traditionally underrepresented groups when they work remotely.
  • Social disconnection – Remote and hybrid workforces can be affected by workplace loneliness – employees can feel cut off socially, especially those who live alone in roles that have less day-to-day contact with the business overall.

Generational Differences

Looking at the statistics we can clearly see some generational differences:

  In Person Remote/hybrid
Gen Z 57% 43%
Millennials 34% 66%
Gen X 34% 66%
Baby boomers 37% 63%


When we think about this the differences are understandable based on what we have just looked at in relation to the benefits of home versus office.

Gen X and Millennials are more likely to want more remote and hybrid working options as they have developed their careers and have more financial stability and responsibilities. They have learnt and developed the skills to work from home more effectively in a pre-pandemic world.

In contrast Gen Z employees are more inclined to work in an office environment.  They may not have a suitable or convenient working from home set up, they want to learn and develop by having colleagues around them, it can save them money on utility bills and the social environment of being in an office is a bigger draw.

How to make it work positively
When designing how you will work with your team remember some key principles:

Purpose – look at the jobs roles your team do and build workplace activities that will enhance their work experience such as collaboration days, project working, engagement days.  Don’t just bring them in to do work that can be done more effectively from home.

Inclusivity – vary which days in the office work for the team. Change days and offer various locations that work for the team. Take a positive approach to proximity bias and ensure those team members that are more remote have positive and regular one to one and team meetings.

Team working models – try to offer flexible workspace or open up offices in more creative ways and alternative locations to meeting the needs of the team.  Employees are more engaged in hybrid office working when they feel it works for them.

How we work at Onward

At Onward we have embraced flexible working where we can drive positive outcomes for our customer whilst driving productivity and the needs of the employees.  Yes, we still have those roles that need to be delivered on site such as housing, maintenance and environmental services, but we have designed these roles to have flexibility such as starting their day form home not a depot and driving connectivity with access to our intranet and HR system to book leave remotely.

Most Onward employees have the choice to work from home and attend an office, neighbourhood or site when required.  We have several offices in across the North West of the UK and all have hot desks, collaboration spaces, training rooms and traditional meeting rooms with connectivity for online meetings as well.

Top tips when recruiting new employees for hybrid working models:

  • Make your adverts clear on expectations on the hybrid working relationship
  • Reinforce this at interview and in the offer letter and contract as to the business expectations
  • Drive this approach in onboarding and probation
  • Consistently review working arrangement in one to ones and revisit expectations on both sides

Remember one size never really works for all so flex where you can to retain talent

 Join our friendly team… 

There are lots of great reasons to work at Onward. We offer a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package, generous annual leave, flexible hours and a pension scheme. 

We’re a friendly bunch, and provide our colleagues with a professional and caring environment to work in. And we’re all about developing our people so they can reach their full potential. That’s why you’ll be given all the support and opportunities you need to go further. 

Check out all of our latest vacancies here