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SMEs ill-prepared for hybrid working, report finds

A new report has revealed smaller businesses are less likely to have a return-to-office plan, putting at risk their productivity as more employees embrace the hybrid working model.

SMEs ill-prepared for hybrid working, report finds
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  • Adrian Flores
  • January 26, 2021
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The report from Pitcher Partners Melbourne examined the key benefits and challenges regarding greater workplace flexibility in workplaces throughout 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis.

It found that one in four employers surveyed did not have a return-to-office plan, with smaller organisations less likely to have a plan in place.

The report cited key risks that need to be addressed, including the lack of attention given to cyber-security training and performance management, as well as fostering a culture that motivates employees to operate at their best.

Most employees reported that they felt a hybrid working model would positively impact productivity and their ability to perform their jobs.

But despite these benefits, employees identified isolation and a lack of socialisation as key challenges they’d need to navigate moving forward.

By contrast, employers identified managing staff as the single largest challenge of a hybrid working model, along with concerns such as cyber-security risks and handling sensitive information.

“Given the range of risks that need to be addressed as employees embrace a new way of working, organisations must have effective two-way communication and establish frameworks to measure productivity and performance,” the report said.

The report also found that four out of five employers said that their return-to-office plans were based on discussions with staff, but only half of the employees surveyed said they had been consulted by their managers.

“If not addressed, this disconnect can lead to more complex and long-standing challenges in the future if a business doesn’t establish strong two-way communication with its employees along with effective frameworks to manage the other risks associated with a hybrid working model,” it said.

The report is based on a survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 employees and 300 employers across Australia.

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