New research from Grant Thornton UK LLP’s latest Business Outlook Tracker has revealed that, prior to the implementation of ‘Plan B’ and the return of work-from-home guidance, a hybrid working approach was being adopted by the majority of mid-market firms in Yorkshire, but that some were still facing challenges with its implementation.
Hybrid working, where people split time between working remotely and in an office, was the most common working practice in early December, with the research finding 90% of Yorkshire’s mid-market businesses surveyed were operating in this manner, yet some were still struggling to adapt.
The research highlighted that one of the most problematic hybrid working challenges was reduced productivity, with nearly a third of respondents (29%) who were adopting hybrid working stating that this was an issue.
Given the significant operational challenges businesses have had to deal with since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, it’s unsurprising that managing junior workers (40%) and provision of training remotely (44%) were all common issues.
Ensuring a high level of staff welfare was equally concerning, with 29% pointing to mental wellbeing issues such as reducing isolation and anxiety levels as being a challenge under the current circumstances.
Andy Wood, managing partner for Grant Thornton UK LLP in Yorkshire, said: “Many Yorkshire businesses are well-adapted to hybrid-working now, but some are still encountering the same few issues they were almost two years ago. Adapting to this new way of working needs time, clear leadership and commitment to be truly effective and it’s evident there is no ‘one size fits all approach’.
“As a priority I feel business leaders have to ensure that their people continue to feel connected and supported, which is why I am convinced the office still has a role to play in our working lives, particularly for younger team members, who relish face-to-face interaction and the opportunity to learn first-hand from their more experienced colleagues.
“As hybrid working continues to be adopted, I believe setting out clear goals and explaining the support that’s available to their people will help businesses to better manage this transition.
“Moving forward, Yorkshire businesses need to be open to evolving and challenging themselves as to how their hybrid working approach can be made more effective, such as through investing in new technology that helps teams to communicate and stay connected, and providing additional guidance on how work is organised and co-ordinated.”