Hybrid working has been around for a while but until March 2020 it wasn’t a concept that we readily used at Meta. Our working vision was to work in an office-based environment and while a day of remote working here or there wasn’t unusual it hadn’t been the norm for our team.
Then Covid-19 hit and like many other workplaces we were sent home with equipment galore. Overnight, we had to become very connected with Microsoft Teams.
Just over a year later, in July 2021 and after a year of successful remote working along with safe and gradual office working days, we decided to look at what it was our team wanted on a more permanent basis.
The phrase ‘hybrid working’ wasn’t an overly familiar term 2 years ago, yet we now seem to hear and see it across many organisations and it would seem to be the most popular choice when it comes to how businesses structure their working weeks.
What is hybrid working?
Hybrid working does what it says on the tin - it’s a mix of different ways of working. This mix covers a whole range of hybrid working models; whether that’s set days for certain teams to be in the office, or a more flexible arrangement where people book their office time as and when they need it. For us we wanted to start from scratch and work out exactly what this could and should look like for our team.
Our approach to hybrid working
Creating a hybrid working pattern that worked for us was the most important element to get right because we had learned in the previous 15 months that our team members enjoyed the ability to work from home for a variety of reasons. Combining this with the business needs and demands was essential in developing The Herd Hybrid working pattern.
We spend the majority of our week at work and although we are very lucky that full-time herd members work a week that is a cool 34 hours, this still equates to a large proportion of the week. People and culture is a very hot topic of ours and one that we are keen to continuously strive to improve. We want to ensure that our team are working in an environment that suits them best, and that is just one of the ways we can ensure they are happy and healthy.
Therefore, we took it upon ourselves to start researching what the hybrid working pattern could look like for the herd and what we needed to do to accommodate any requests.
We started out with a staff survey giving each member a voice in how they would like this to work. We often use surveys to help us come to decisions that impact the full team as while we can’t accommodate every request all of the time it is a great place to start listening to the wants and desires of the team.
When we send out surveys we always use an anonymous format which allows team members to voice opinions/ideas/limitations honestly. Using a survey format comprising of multiple-choice questions and comment boxes allows us to receive a range of information to start breaking down and putting into appropriate areas that would be part of developing our hybrid pattern.
This gave us a starting point to build on, but we like to be thorough when it comes to the welfare of the team so following on from the survey our HR team spent time with each herd member, listening to individual ideas and concerns before presenting all the information back to the senior team.
Creating our hybrid pattern was not just about working out who works where and when, it also needed to ensure that the business demands were met competently and the commitment to our partners was demonstrated, giving the same high level of service they expect.
After we analysed the data that had been fed through the employee surveys and the HR employee health check, we realised fairly early that our team were all pretty similar in what they wanted this to look like. The biggest thing for everyone was to be able to manage their own time and diaries and to be given the flexibility to work 5 days in the office or 1 depending on current projects, client demands, staff commitments and opportunities.
So, we did exactly that. We gave the team the flexibility to manage their own time in the office using a desk planning rota and set a minimum standard that ideally we’d like every team member to use the office space at least once a week on a day that suited them.
Our thought process was that we didn’t want to make it a tedious system to manage, it was supposed to help create a fun, engaging, trusted and team-spirited environment. Had everyone needed to check a big list each week, it would go against what we had found out in the employee survey.
Creating an environment that allows our team to be happy is one of our biggest goals and as Meta continues to grow it becomes even more paramount to what we want to achieve, as without a happy herd we are simply an office full of elephants.