Top Business Tech looks at the new world of the hybrid workplace and what you can do to prepare for the future.
Remote working and hybrid working were rising in early 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic pushed more companies to implement hybrid workplaces. A hybrid workplace aims to provide the best possible balance of productive work with reduced stress and less travelling. So is this really the future of work?
A new type of workplace
By all indications, the future of work is hybrid, and this can be seen by the 87% of business leaders around the world who said they would allow more flexibility about where, when and how people work. In addition, 40% of companies have said that the main reason for going hybrid is employee safety and well-being. At this stage, with the Delta variant spreading across the world, the most reasonable thing for companies to do is create a hybrid workplace for their employees.
The new hybrid workplace may seem daunting, and that is why we are going to go through what your company needs to do to create a successful hybrid workplace. Of course, it won’t be easy to create the perfect balance, but if you design your hybrid workplace around your employees, you will always succeed.
So, what do employees want? And what can you do to provide for them?
During the pandemic, employees were able to work more flexible times and expect to continue. Most people have said that they will spend more time working from the office than at home, but flexible hours would help them live the balanced life they created for themselves during the pandemic. Due to each team being different, company leaders need to consider the dynamics of each individual and team to determine which policy works for each.
While working flexibly, employees want to make sure that they feel safe when coming into the office. People have become a lot more aware of germs and how germs can spread throughout the workplace. Having good airflow and general cleanliness throughout the workplace has become very important to employees. A study participant in a case study done by Steelcase said that “I am trying to choose my days to be in the office. Certain days have more people present, and I find that they don’t always follow the rules. There gets to be a closeness that makes me feel uneasy… the more people, the more risk”. To work around this, companies need to implement a system where employees can login to see who is in the office during the week and when. SPOR has created various systems that organizations can implement where employees to book desks, see where there is space, and inform cleaning staff on which desks need to be cleaned.
Prior to the pandemic, we might not have understood how important our interactions with our colleagues were. However, that has changed with most employees missing the social aspect of going to the office. Employees want the option of coming into the office and communicating directly with their colleagues, and enjoying a cup of coffee or lunch with them. Companies need to change their workplace a bit to provide their employees with areas that promote social connections and help build a sense of belonging. On top of the social aspect, many colleagues are more creative when brainstorming ideas in-person.
Increased productivity at home
Many employees have found that their home office spaces have created a place to concentrate more and become more productive. When employees choose to come into the office, companies need to provide them with small places around the building where they can go for some peace and quiet.
By conducting regular surveys, your company can keep up to date on what employees want, and you can work on various ways to cater to their needs in a hybrid workplace.
Advantages of hybrid work
First let’s look at the advantages of a Hybrid workplace. One of the main advantages of a hybrid workplace is that employees can have a stronger work-life balance that has become increasingly important, especially for younger generations. In addition, immunocompromised employees will also feel like they are not being pressured into going into the office if they feel unsafe or unwell.
Another advantage is that companies can decrease the size of their office spaces and save money on maintenance costs. There is no longer a need for thousands of desks and various floors; many companies could get by with a few hundred desks and two floors.
With the rise of the digital nomads, companies are no longer limited to hiring employees from a specific geographical area. In addition, the younger generations are definitely more attracted to companies that provide flexible working hours and can work from home. Therefore, by implementing a hybrid workplace, companies will be more attractive and will gain interest from the younger generation.
Finally, by having a hybrid workplace, your company will be ready for any other pandemics and the lockdowns that come along with it. It will be much easier to adapt as employees will already be prepared and used to working remotely.
Disadvantages of hybrid work
Even though there are many positives, there are few disadvantages to implementing a hybrid workplace. Firstly, you cannot guarantee that your employees have access to quality internet, a designated home workspace, or a distraction-free environment. Leaders need to look at each individual and team to understand what they have and what would be best for each individual.
Another disadvantage of a hybrid workplace may be that remote workers feel that in-person employees may be seen as more productive. Remote workers may also feel that they might miss out on various opportunities because they are less visible than those who work in the office full time.
Finally, it has become harder for collaboration and communication to take place between hybrid teams. Leaders need to manage two different experiences with the risk of one of the groups being excluded from important discussions.
These disadvantages show how important it is to implement a successful hybrid workplace that can deal with these issues. If not implemented correctly, a major divide could occur between remote and in-person employees.
Requirements to implement a successful hybrid workplace
My recommendation would be to have a really good digital work hub with everything your employees will need to communicate with each other and have access to everything they need.
This digital hub could come in the format of an Intranet System. Here are some of the ways in which intranet systems can help companies create a digital work hub with an enjoyable experience for their employees.
First up, employees needed to have access to official communication quickly and easily and have direct communication with their teams. Intranet systems have provided connections at every level of the business, giving employees the ability to comment, respond, and collaborate regardless of where they are in the world. There was a need to connect over various types of devices and personalize and target specific content to groups of employee segments. Intranet systems have helped by making it easy to find internal experts and provide integrations to common chat tools, show if the employees are online, and facilitate quick ad hoc conversation.
Secondly, companies needed to create an intranet that their employees would use and enjoy at the same time. On a day-to-day basis, employees are inundated with vast amounts of information, data and content. It is important that companies personalize each employee’s experience to ensure they only receive the important communication relevant to them. Suppose employees feel like they need access to specific information that has not been sent to them. In that case, it should be easily accessible through a simple search through the intranet system and all connected systems. When a company starts implementing an intranet system, it is important to create an aesthetically pleasing and easy to use site that employees can enjoy using. Ensure it gives users the ability to easily craft their own sites and pages for their teams and projects. When a company creates an experience for their employees, it will go a long way by helping to retain talent as they will feel more appreciated.
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Finally, intranet systems can help companies digitize their business operations to ensure remote employees can do work. These systems can improve day-to-day operations by allowing companies and employees to manage to time, identify bottlenecks, and drive productivity. With employees having access to relevant information, they can do their jobs better and have access to the information and the expertise they need quickly. In addition, due to having access to this information, response times between employees and their response to their customers and partners can become faster.