In 2020, Covid-19 forced all businesses to adapt their ways of working. For many businesses they introduced home working for their employees who were able to fulfill their work duties whilst in comfort of their own home.
Fast forward to 2022 and the working world is returning to normal – but not necessarily favouring returning to the traditional office based, 9-5 working pattern.
Many businesses are now opting for hybrid working patterns – by which employees spend a set amount of time in the office and the remainder working from home usually 3 days in work, and 2 days at home.
The Benefits of Hybrid Working
Hybrid Working can be beneficial to both the employer and employee. It creates an improved work-life balance for the employee – giving them more time at home by cutting out the dreaded peak time commute, allowing them more time to for personal/family commitments. For employers it enables them to still have that face-to-face interaction with their staff whilst managing the working space more effectively and in some instances, cutting costs.
When Hybrid Working Can Pose Some Issues…
We have had a few cases recently where employees who are hybrid working have expressed that they are too unwell to attend their office day but are well enough to work from home.
Whilst you may think ‘Great! At least the work is still being completed’, it can have an adverse effect on the team culture and wellbeing and risks masking absenteeism.
There may be some employees who feel that they can no longer take a sick day as every other team member works from home when sick so “I guess I should too!”.
This could impact their wellbeing and ability to recover from their illness causing further issues down the line for the employer.
There may also be occasions where employees are deceitful and use sickness as an excuse to work from home so they can be available for other potential plans that day. Either way it creates a working culture where office working becomes a choice as appose to a requirement.
Managing the absence
Our advice is that you should try to be consistent across the team. Clearly state the importance of the office days and the benefits they have on team culture and developement. Highlight the importance of teams taking a sick day to recuperate at home, not to work. If they are not well enough to fulfill their duties in the office, in most cases they are not well enough to fulfill them at home. Employees should follow the normal absence reporting procedure outlined in the Employee Handbook.
If you need any assistance with managing an employee failing to fulfil their hybrid working commitments, please contact us on 01527 909436