Hybrid working: our thoughts and what we’ve learned so far
In early March last year, we decided to test having the whole Sign In App team working from home. This was originally planned to see what worked or what didn’t and what resources we’d need to help us out. But little did we know that, exactly 1 week later, the whole of the UK would be told to work from home for the foreseeable future.
So, from 22nd March, we were pushed to work from home due to the pandemic and we’ve not really looked back since. After a few months of remote working, we soon realised that having all team members in the office everyday wasn’t a necessity for our business to run efficiently and successfully. So, once the UK Prime Minister announced that businesses could start going back to their offices, we decided to introduce a flexible and hybrid working policy.
As a BBC survey also recently found that most workers do not expect to go back to their workplace full-time, we thought it’d be a great opportunity to share with our community our thoughts on having a hybrid workforce, how we implemented it and what we’ve learned so far 5 months on.
What is our hybrid working policy?
First things first, let’s quickly cover exactly what our hybrid working policy allowed our team to do...
- All employees could choose when they worked in the office or from home. The only requirement to come into the office was for full team meetings and everyone would receive sufficient notice for these
- As long as their weekly hours were worked, they could choose when they started/finished their day between the hours of 8am-6pm (for day workers). This included working longer hours some days to be able to take a shorter day on another day.
Some roles are required to be in the office some days of the week but we aim to be flexible around this and all of the team respect each other by covering busy periods and holidays when needed to allow everyone to reap the benefits of hybrid working no matter their role.
Why did we introduce hybrid working?
We thought we’d ask our CEO, Dan Harding, to answer this one:
“Speaking on behalf of the leadership team, flexible working is something we’ve wanted to fully embrace for years, and while we’ve always encouraged the team to work flexibly, we were all pretty rubbish at it. So after seeing how well the team worked throughout the pandemic, we were determined to introduce a flexible hybrid working policy that the whole team would embrace - ourselves included. We feel it’s been a positive introduction to the company and as much as I love the days where the barn has a buzz with lots of people, I love seeing people come and go working the hours that suit them best.”
What does the team think of hybrid working?
We asked a few members of the team their thoughts and here’s what they said:
“Using the app to advance book my workspace on the days I want to go into the office helps me plan my diary
effectively. I can work from anywhere I have a secure internet connection and I love the fact that the mental health and
wellbeing of employees is so important to Sign In App. The ability to work from home or the office in a flexible way has
enabled me to get the perfect work life balance and if you were to ask my family they would wholeheartedly agree that
our hybrid working policy has had a positive impact on our family.”
“I love hybrid working. I go through phases where I either love working in the barn or love working from home more so I
split my time between the two quite a lot. But the days where we’re all in for a team meeting and we get to see everyone
are definitely my fave! I also really enjoy the flexibility that was introduced alongside hybrid working; I’m personally
a lot more productive in the mornings so a lot of the time I’ll start my day earlier and finish earlier so that I don’t
get that afternoon slump I often get with 9-5 (really helpful when you work in a creative role!). It’s also really handy
to have the flexibility for when I have personal commitments to work my hours around these, and it’s definitely helped
with having a more manageable work-life balance.”
So, how did we make it work?
We went virtual
Like everyone in 2020, Zoom and Slack became our best friends. All of our communications went virtual. As a team, we spoke to each other through Slack and organised meetings with Zoom, and we continued this when implementing our hybrid working policy. We also have weekly team catch ups via Zoom every Friday, which is something we started during lockdown and it’s stuck ever since. We also recently got rid of all physical landlines in the office as our phone line is now through software on our Macbooks and mobiles.
Creative meetings are encouraged in person but there’s no drama if someone can’t get into the office for one; they can just join remotely.
We let each other know when we’re going to be in the office
We created a slack channel #the-barn and each week a message is sent out with the days of the following week and the team simply reacts with a thumbs up if they’re going to be in, a key if they’re a main keyholder that can open or lock up the office, and a first aid kit if they are first aid trained. It’s a simple way for us to ensure the safety of any team members that are in office and often helps with planning weeks if we need a quick catchup with a colleague.
We used Sign In App
It wouldn’t be right for us to bang on about how great Sign In App is for implementing hybrid working if we weren’t using it ourselves! Of course we use Companion app to help us implement hybrid working. The team signs in and out everyday on Companion, whether they’re working in the barn or remotely; this is great for safety purposes and to know when team members aren’t working so we don’t bother them with calls unnecessarily but it’s also an easy way for the team to clock up their hours if they’ve been really embracing the flexibility.
As part of our hybrid working policy, we introduced hot desking, so we also utilise Spaces to book desks and meeting rooms on Companion app.
If you’d like to chat to us more about our hybrid workforce, or want to learn more about how you can utilise Sign In App’s features to introduce hybrid working in your organisation, get in touch with the team! You can reach us 24 hours a day, 5 days a week via live chat, telephone or email; you can find all of our contact details here.