New hybrid working guide offers support to NI employers

To coincide with the easing of Covid restrictions and anticipated lifting of the ‘work from home’ recommendation, a new guide offering Northern Ireland employers the most up-to-date advice on ‘Hybrid Working’ has been launched by the Labour Relations Agency (LRA).

By Claire Cartmill
Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 11:00 am

As advisors and promoters of good employment practices, the LRA has clearly identified the issues, practicalitie, and implications impacting on both employers and employees as they face more change at work.

The free guide completes a suite of pandemic-related resources which cover topics such as ‘Making Workplaces Safer’ and ‘Working from Home’, each specifically designed to support businesses and organisations based in Northern Ireland as they adapt to changing public health recommendations.

Compiled in consultation with business leaders and trade unions, the Hybrid Working Guide aims to help employers plan and manage the reverse shift as they transition their workforces back to the office after almost two years of home working. This includes the pre-assessment, planning, consultative, contractual and review phases of the hybrid working model.

Patricia Coulter, employment relations manager and Don Leeson, CEO of the Labour Relations Agency with the new guide

The guide also sets out the benefits, drawbacks, and practicalities that an employer should consider as well as recommendations on wellbeing support, inclusion, fairness, managing resistance and the associated legal implications.

Central to the guide is a template Hybrid Working Policy which can be adapted to fit the needs of each individual business and organisation.

Provided with complete impartiality, the guide complements the wider range of services which the LRA delivers to NI’s business community and employees on an ongoing basis. This reflects the Agency’s focus on stimulating economic growth and recovery which it has prioritised throughout the pandemic.

According to Patricia Coulter, employment relations manager, LRA the guide offers a timely and much needed support for all organisations which have had to adapt to the pandemic-enforced shift in working practices.

She explained: “Lockdowns and restrictions have had a considerable impact on both employer expectations and employee preferences. Above all they’ve resulted in a cultural shift in how, where and the way we work.

“While the term ‘hybrid working’ is often quoted, the practicalities are not fully understood, and there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Our guide will help employers best manage the transition, providing very practical advice and solutions to the 21st century workplace.”

In addition to the Hybrid Working Guide, the LRA continues to provide Covid-19 related support to the Northern Ireland Executive through its role as chair of the Northern Ireland Engagement Forum.

This brings together employee and employer representatives to offer expertise and experience on all employment rights and workplace-related issues.

To access the free Hybrid Working Guide visit www.lra.org.uk

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