Business Travel – what’s happening with hybrid?

Lynne Griffiths

Earlier this year, a high street giant’s CEO mandated a full return to the office, sparking significant backlash and HR concerns about leadership bias over data-driven decisions in the shift from hybrid work.


It’s four years since there was a widespread change to our work landscape with a sharp rise in hybrid working. Business travel was no exception and many roles, previously considered workable only as office-based, proved to be highly productive when restructured to a hybrid setup. However, recent stats reveal that while 83%* of organisations offer hybrid work, only 12%** trust that remote employees are productive, highlighting challenges in culture, defining policies and office attendance expectations. In addition, legal considerations, including health and safety and the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act, emphasise the importance of following laws and considering employees’ flexible working requests.


So, setting up and managing a productive, motivating and successful hybrid working model in your business is demanding and requires ongoing effort. But it can reap great rewards in terms of company productivity and employee satisfaction.


To ensure hybrid success, business travel companies should: prioritise transparency in recruitment; empower employees with the tools, resources and technology they need to succeed; foster connections through creative and realistic initiatives; align hybrid working with core business goals; provide management training for remote working; engage with employees; assess success through metrics; and empower leaders and teams to decide when and how hybrid will work best for their productivity. Phew!


Embracing flexibility while focusing on collective goals is key in navigating the ongoing development opportunities of hybrid work, including reshaping culture, practices, working methods and onboarding processes for new employees. One size does not fit all when it comes to hybrid working. Businesses should adapt their working structures according to their strategic needs whilst prioritising employee well-being. You can drive company productivity through adaptable approaches while staying aligned with organisational objectives and culture.


For business travel, HR plays a crucial role in evaluating the existing scenario, identifying barriers, and gauging readiness for change.


While it’s impossible to cater to every employee’s need when fine-tuning your hybrid working policy, remember that embracing new initiatives and change could lead to substantial improvements in business performance.


*CIPD 2023



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