The time of employees being confined to one physical workspace was already fading before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the pandemic has forced the hand of many businesses to experience remote working first-hand.
Now that we are returning to a new ‘normal’ many offices are looking to create a permanent and sustainable hybrid workplace to keep employees happy and safe, while ensuring productivity and efficiency remains high. We are yet to see how businesses and their teams will go with this transition. To ensure your team adjusts as smoothly as possible during this transition, we’ve provided a few areas below for you to consider in your implementation.
What is a hybrid workplace?
A hybrid workforce is when on any given day, you will have a mix of some employees working in the office and others working remotely. Often mistaken with ‘flexible working arrangements’ there is a clear distinction between the two. Unlike flexible work, the hybrid model provides employees with the autonomy to decide how, when and where they work best.
Hybrid working looks different in every organisation; consequently, there is no ‘one-size fits all’ when it comes to an implementation strategy. However, there are several considerations all businesses will need to take into consideration when exploring the benefits of hybrid working.
What are the benefits of hybrid working?
A study completed in 2018 found that 60% of employees who had hybrid or flexible work options were more productive and engaged in their work more than those with office-based or entirely remote teams. Happy employees lead to loyal employees. Hybrid working arrangements require a certain level of trust between the company and its teams, and while this may seem difficult at first, most companies indicate that the reward of loyalty is worth it.
Flexible and hybrid working options are often sought out by job seekers in today’s competitive job market. Consequently, you might find that thanks to the change in working arrangements, finding new, high-quality employees will not be as difficult. Another advantage to hybrid office styles is that it can assist in your brand transitioning to a global scale. This working style means you can easily have employees across the world, communicating with clients in all different time zones.
What are the key considerations when transitioning to a hybrid workplace?
The best way to transition to a hybrid workplace is to first recognise that everyone works differently. To ensure that each employee can complete their work in the most productive way possible, your business will need to consider the following.
Hybrid arrangements will alter how teams interact and communicate with one another; for example, ‘water-cooler’ conversations and other informal conversations had by employees almost cease to exist when remote work comes into play. These informal conversations can be essential for employee wellbeing and work enjoyment. Introducing Microsoft 365 to your employees’ tools can help overcome this thanks to the new Team’s functionality — check out our recent article on how Microsoft can support your business going remote.
Formal collaboration between teams is often seen to be most effective in tight groups working through specific tasks. Changing the environment in which these types of teams work can result in small challenges or hurdles. However, don’t let the fear of these changes deter you from transitioning to hybrid working.
There are plenty of programs out there that are built specifically for this that you can integrate into your staff’s everyday use. A perfect example of this is Microsoft Sharepoint, a tool that has a variety of uses for keeping teams and employees connected with the business as well as accessing relevant information easily. Alternatively, team members may select specific days where the entire team will be present in the office to formally collaborate.
Building trust amongst teams and within the organisation
As mentioned above, hybrid working requires employees and employers to trust one another for this transition to work. Find ways to let your employees know that your intentions are to keep them safe and protected during the uncertainty of COVID-19, while also requiring them to manage their workload in a way that is best for them.
Mutual trust between an organisation and its employees is also examinable through company culture and whether a team member feels as though they ‘fit-in’ or ‘belong’. Businesses will need to continue to engage workers through shared, company-wide one-off experiences that are equal to the experience enjoyed by staff who work on-site. This might include scheduled zoom sessions or virtual watercooler chats.
Matching your IT strategy to your employee’s working arrangements
As it currently stands, your office will likely have better technology than your employee’s personal devices. By reflecting on your current IT strategy and optimising your business’ and employees’ needs, eStorm can work with you to ensure your team is working with the best technology and accessing all the data necessary to complete their work.
Our team can also assist you in finding the right programs to foster the best communication and working strategies suited for your team. This might include video conferencing software, team communication and file sharing, and tools to assist with tasks.
Find out more about how eStorm can assist with hardware and software procurement for your team, as well as transiting your business to either a private cloud or hybrid cloud to best suit your new workplace.
Ready for hybrid working?
Like any workplace transformation, it isn’t a task that can be completed in a week, month or even a year. Businesses will need to take in many factors of consideration while rolling out a new hybrid workforce. It is a continuous journey of reflection and self-learning.
You can trust us to be with you every step of the way, looking after all your IT needs, giving you one less thing to worry about during this process. If you would like to learn more about how hybrid working arrangements will affect your business’ current IT setup, contact the friendly eStorm team at any time on 1300 378 676 or [email protected].