Hybrid working here to stay – is it the best of both worlds?

Hybrid working here to stay – is it the best of both worlds?

The ONS has published an article looking at the role of hybrid working in future: Is hybrid working here to stay? – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk).

Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown, gave her thoughts on the merits of hybrid working:

“Hybrid working promises the best of both worlds, but as prices rise, we need to be sure it doesn’t end up delivering double the pain instead.

Around half of us are still travelling to work every day, making it the most common working pattern of all. But in the past few months, hybrid working has overtaken homeworking, and is gaining ground. Right now, around a quarter of businesses say they’ll include an element of homeworking in the mix permanently.

Four in five people say it has improved their work/life balance, and around half said it had improved their overall wellbeing. While working from home they can complete their work more quickly, with fewer distractions, and while in the office they can socialise and collaborate. It offers the best of both worlds.

It can also be a brilliant money-saver. Research in January showed that 46% of homeworkers spent less overall. While 86% said they spent more on utilities, 50% spent less on commuting by car and 40% saved on public transport.”

Coles did, however, urge caution, reiterating the potential pitfalls of a hybrid working arrangement:

“However, hybrid workers need to take steps to ensure they’re not accidentally ending up with the extra costs associated with both working from home and travelling into work. There’s a risk they’re paying to heat their home permanently, while also paying for public transport or parking on days they’re not travelling. If hybrid working is set to be a permanent part of your future, it’s essential to do the life admin to protect yourself.”

Five things hybrid workers need to be on top of:

  1. Get to grips with your central heating. This will matter more during the winter, but you need to embrace the joy of reading the instructions, so you can heat just the rooms you need at the times you need them, and avoid heating an empty home.
  2. Do the maths on public transport. The introduction of flexi-season tickets gives you more options, but they don’t offer a saving for everyone. You’ll still need to explore all the types of tickets available, and work out which one is best for you.
  3. Be prepared to share. If you need to pay for access to things to make the commute work, you may have no other option than to pay for a full week – even when you’re only using it for part of the week. Parking is notorious for this. Check with the company concerned whether you can share with someone else who works on different days, so you split the cost between you.
  4. Consider whether cuts are practical. You might, for example, assume you need to remain a two-car family if you’re both working on a hybrid basis, but it’s worth working out whether you can make your schedules work to enable you to give up a car.
  5. Plan ahead. When your routine changes from day-to-day it can be easy to lose track, so on office days you don’t have the food handy for sandwiches – let alone remembering to take it into work. Planning ahead means you won’t end up spending a fortune replacing forgotten packed lunches.

Jamie Lennox