A recent survey polling more than 500 employers, conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of Express Services Inc., found that 75% of Canadian employers expect to face hiring challenges in 2023.
Some causes of employee turnover are compensation and benefits (36%), resignations (35%), burnout (33%), retirement (30%), increased workplace demands, (29%) and better employment perks (28%).1
Employees are looking for flexibility, work life balance, and control over how their work lives are structured. Flexible working arrangements allow people to work when and where they are most productive, utilize technology to work from remote locations, or attend personal appointments and finish their workday later.
To address labour shortages in a competitive market, employers can take steps to make themselves more attractive to potential employees. One method of doing so is through offering hybrid working arrangements.
There are various forms of hybrid working arrangements, and employers will need to develop policies and practices in order to introduce hybrid working arrangements, schedules and locations.
Common forms of hybrid working arrangements are:
Location-flexible Employees choose which day(s) to come into the office.
Hybrid split-week The employer assigns days to be on-site and remote, which can be organized by team or job function.
Office-first hybrid Employees work mostly from the office, and remote days can be scattered throughout the week or month.
Hybrid manager-scheduling The manager chooses which day(s) their team comes to the office.
Shift work Employers schedule employee’s work hours and locations, but employees benefit from a set schedule and interaction.
Full-time remote Employees work remotely 100% of the time and join meetings virtually.
Work from home versus work from anywhere Employees are working remotely from their home, or, working from anywhere regardless of geographic location.
Compressed work weeks Regardless of location, employees may choose to work extended days for one day off.
Example 1: Work one extra hour over nine days to receive the 10th day off.
Example 2: Work four 10-hour workdays, then receive the fifth day off.2
There are both benefits are challenges to hybrid work arrangements. Benefits can include increased employee productivity, improved employee engagement, access to a broader talent pool, improved employee retention, and significant operating cost reductions, up to an estimated 51% in rent and operating expenses.3
Challenges can be found in collaborating with remote employees, which requires investment in the right workplace technology; continued oversight and maintenance of hybrid work arrangements through policies, practices and adaptability; and the fact that hybrid work arrangements are not suitable for all industries, like nursing, teaching and manufacturing.4
Some strategies employers can use to overcome these challenges are:
- Setting clear expectations for employee performance, communication methods, schedules, and milestone completion for productivity assessments.
- Providing the tools and support employees need to do their job, whether in the workplace or working remotely. Providing employees with portable technology loaded with software like VPN and collaboration applications, like laptops and cell phones, to facilitate remote hybrid working arrangements.
- Being strategic with the scheduling of meetings. It may be more advantageous for remote employees to have one-on-one update meetings or utilize collaboration software rather than have larger group status updates that do not result in action items.
Being inclusive with your team, whether they work remotely or within the office. Try to ensure that work is assigned equitably according to skills and abilities, and all key contributors are involved in discussions.5
Ultimately, the benefits of hybrid working arrangements far outweigh the challenges. However, it is important to not only make flexible options available, but to create and maintain a healthy hybrid work culture that will attract talent and incentivize them to stay long term.
1 Staff (2023 January 3). 75% of employers expecting hiring challenges in 2023: survey. Benefits Canada. Retrieved February 24, 2023 from https://www.benefitscanada.com/news/bencan/75-of-employers-expecting-hiring-challenges-in-2023-survey/
2 Kirkham, A. (2022 November 10). What is hybrid work and why do employees want it? Envoy: Your Ultimate Guide Library. Retrieved February 24, 2023 from https://envoy.com/blog/what-is-a-hybrid-work-model/
3 HR Reporter (2022). Financial benefits apparent with hybrid working. Retrieved February 24, 2023 from https://www.hrreporter.com/focus-areas/culture-and-engagement/financial-benefits-apparent-with-hybrid-working/366916
4 Kirkham, A. (2022 November 10). What is hybrid work and why do employees want it? Envoy: Your Ultimate Guide Library. Retrieved February 24, 2023 from https://envoy.com/blog/what-is-a-hybrid-work-model/
5 Rampton, J. (2022 June 28). 4 Ways To Better Manage A Hybrid Work Environment. Forbes, Retrieved February 24, 2023 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2022/06/28/4-ways-to-better-manage-a-hybrid-work-environment/?sh=1b77423f151f