COVID-19 has completely changed our relationship with the office. Prior to the pandemic, the office was the beating heart of many businesses. It was a shared area for teams to collaborate and create a company culture. Thousands of businesses were forced to adopt remote work and close their office doors in March 2020. Long commutes were swapped for an extra hour in bed, and in-person team meetings were replaced with Zoom meetings and online threads.
Slowly as the world started to heal, businesses started to re-open but not entirely at their full capacity. The prospect of ‘hybrid work’ picks up tempo across the globe as it is safer, and it offers a reliable solution. Today’s hybrid office combines the traditional work-from-office mode with the work-from-home mode. Some employees will prefer to work from home, while others would like the presence of the office space, the commute and so on.
If you are thinking about implementing a hybrid workplace method in the future, and are unsure of where to begin, do not worry. We have got you covered.
Preparing for Success of Hybrid Work
Organisations all over the world are impressed with the hybrid work model and are eager to incorporate it into their office spaces. During the pandemic, many of them had already completed the testing phase. As office spaces prepare to reopen, here are a few ways businesses can prepare their zones to welcome a hybrid workforce:
1. Communicate better
Communication is always the key! When businesses and organisations take the time to notify their employees about the changes in the working scenario, the employees are likely to be on board with it faster. According to the 2018 Workplace Flexibility Survey conducted by FlexJobs, half of the respondents said that they prefer flexible hours and working arrangements. Giving employees a choice with regards to hybrid working, helps them oversee their own productivity and take initiative.
Most employees prefer a hybrid work model in which they can choose how much face-to-face interaction they have with their co-workers. Most companies, however, still offer a traditional 9-5 schedule, which does not allow people to make those choices. Employees who do not feel supported are more likely to leave, even if they enjoy their job. While some businesses are beginning to adopt flexible working models, many others are not investing enough in them. Businesses should invest in flexible working options to help employees achieve a healthy work-life balance.
2. Incorporate Technology and a Digital First Approach
Collaboration is one of the most important aspects of any organisation’s productivity and achievement of end results. Employees can easily join meetings and have face-to-face conversations with co-workers at any time of day in normal scenarios or 9-5 jobs.
When the hybrid model is implemented, it is impossible to gather all employees/ teammates in a specific location for even simple discussions. Working together and collaborating with team members, on the other hand, is not only a piece of cake with collaboration tools and platforms, but it is also highly organised and effective. Good collaboration software, whether used for email or in meetings, is directly proportional to productivity.
Since hybrid workplaces require a significant amount of technology to function properly, organisations must prioritise technology alongside their workforce. When fully functional and efficient, the hybrid workplace can drastically reduce labour costs while also increasing brand value.
A successful hybrid arrangement would be to give each participant their own screen and to give remote employees more options for collaborating and being heard in meetings or conversations.
3. Build Better Workflows
To avoid feeling disconnected from employees who are working from home and those who are working in the office, it is important to hold some team-building meetings. The first step that businesses take when reopening their office doors and introducing hybrid culture to their desks is to bridge the gap between on-site employees and work-from-home employees.
Companies must allow remote workers to actively participate in meetings and allow a certain percentage of employees to work from the office; this not only allows for real-time conversations and active collaborations but also increases steady workflow. The same is true for on-site employees, who must be allowed to switch to remote working by following proper protocols. This ensures that all employees are on the same page and have adequate freedom and flexibility in their schedules.
4. Promote Trust and Transparency
Keeping a strict record of the number of hours worked and evaluating an employee’s performance solely on that basis may not yield fruitful results. Remote employees have been found to be more productive than those who work in an office. Some employees work their hardest during the night. As a result, rather than looking at their clock-in hours, consider their overall performance.
It may sound a little strange, but some organisations use specialised monitoring systems to track employees’ mouse movements or even hire a team of experts just to keep an eye on them. This not only wastes time and money but also causes them to lose the trust of their employees.
If someone needs to step away for thirty minutes due to an emergency, simply requesting the supervisor should suffice. Building a culture of transparency and trust is critical for any workplace to thrive.
What role does the hybrid culture play in your business?
How can you accelerate your acceptance of this workplace model? Is your office space sufficiently equipped to support a hybrid workplace in full operation? These are critical questions that can help organisations that are struggling to move forward in this direction. It all comes down to striking the right balance and interaction between the virtual and on-site workforces, as well as providing them with the necessary tools, assistance, and technology to connect with one another and with the organisation.
Companies must listen to their virtual employees and give them the same power to choose and act as on-site employees to create a happy environment. Their skills should be valued, and companies should establish protocols that allow them to function as effectively as on-site employees. Understand how to leverage the hybrid model for the future growth of your business. It undoubtedly has several advantages to offer to everyone.