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Hybrid working: making the tech work for teams

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 24 May 2021

The pandemic has ushered in a new model of working, with many businesses considering adopting more flexibility in the longer term. That’s certainly the case for the Oil and Gas Authority, which is set to adopt a hybrid working method for its post-pandemic way of working.

“Being nine-to-five in an office actually isn’t necessary for a lot of people,” says Nic Granger, CFO at the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA). Following the pandemic, the organisation has decided to adopt a hybrid working model, with employees spending at least 50% of their time in the office, working the remainder of the time wherever they choose. 

“That could be at home, somewhere nice and sunny or wherever suits them,” says Granger. Individual teams at the OGA will be able to decide how that works for them in practice. 

“For us, hybrid working is looking at whether there are different ways that we can work as an organisation where we make best use of the technology when that’s the right solution, or we have face-to-face, office-based time as a team, depending on what we’re working on,” she says. Granger believes remote working has been positive for her team. 

Granger found that meetings over video calls can be much more inclusive, as everyone’s in the same situation and can interact in the same way, rather than before when only a few were working remotely, while others were all around the same table.However, remote working has been harder for others, with challenges of finding the balance and separation between home and work. 

“Some people have found it easier because they can do what they want as soon as they finish work, so they go for a run or spend time with family. Others have found that not having that commute at the end of the day has meant they find it more difficult to differentiate between work and home life. From a people point of view, hybrid working creates an ideal situation for mental wellbeing, where people can work in the way that best suits both them and the organisation.”

Making it work for you 

The key to hybrid working is knowing when and how to use the technology and when to be face to face, explains Granger. 

“It’s great to be able to have a quick video call with a member of my team who’s working elsewhere in the UK, where previously we would have had to find a meeting room, check the VC technology was working and put it in the diary for three days’ time. Whereas now I can sit down in the morning and have a couple of really quick video calls and get something sorted,” she says. 

Conversations where someone needs support, development and coaching or mentoring would, however, be better face to face.

“It’s choosing the right place to have those conversations,” Granger says. 

However, there are also challenges to hybrid working. Granger suspects office planning will be one of those challenges, as the flexibility of working both remotely and in the office will mean different space capacity is needed on different days. 

The new model will also mean ensuring the right technology is in place across different locations. Granger says they’ve focused on one provider to ensure the tech can be integrated across both remote and office systems smoothly. Ultimately, the OGA wants to do what’s best for its staff. 

“As an organisation, one of our top priorities is to be a great place to work,” says Granger. “A lot of the team were saying that while they can work from home successfully, they were missing the social aspects of work and the ability to have the more personal conversations over a coffee,” she adds. 

“Hybrid working, supported by the right technology and approach, gives the flexibility that people can get from their work life working in a way that suits them as an individual.”

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