During the current Covid-19 restrictions business owners are looking for more ways to improve their company’s productivity and engage employees. One way is by adopting a hybrid work model, which offers the best aspects of working from home or in an office and blends them together to form a “hybrid” of the two work environments. But how can businesses ensure that this new way of working will be effective?
A study performed by Microsoft has shown that flexible work arrangements are a key factor for employee satisfaction, as over 70% of employees are wanting flexible workplace options once the economy/government restrictions ease. This is further reinforced by over 65% who want more in-person time with their team members and co-workers; these statistics show that business owners should plan accordingly for hybrid workplaces where people can still spend some time working from home or remotely if they choose but also give them the opportunity to work face-to-face at certain times throughout each day.
Read the in-depth study by Microsoft here – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index/hybrid-work
As a result of the constantly changing advice from the government following the Covid-19 pandemic, some companies have decided to adopt hybrid working as an alternative. In order for this option to work out effectively and set employees up for success though there are many factors that must be considered before successfully implementing this new way of working.
One of the key considerations for an effective hybrid workplace strategy is a focus on employee wellbeing. If managed correctly, this new flexible “hybrid” model should increase job satisfaction, give employees more freedom to do their jobs as well as providing some structure and control when needed.
The best way to manage employee wellbeing is by communicating with them and allowing for flexibility. Business owners should involve their employees in the decision of when they will return to work, as well as any specific concerns that may be on their minds.
Working from home on a regular basis can be quite isolating. To solve this problem, implement policies such as “office hours” for all employees working remotely so they have scheduled times where they will ideally meet in person periodically throughout their week; encourage teams to schedule conference calls at set intervals or via video chat if necessary. This interaction with co-workers is essential for the hybrid work model to be a success.
Make use of technology for collaboration and communication
Businesses should perform an IT strategic review when preparing for hybrid working. As we move to a more remote work environment, it is important that technology makes the experience seamless. This means considering both hardware and software needs when designing an office space for hybrid working environments.
For example: from a software perspective, consider how Microsoft Teams might be used for communication and collaboration – with integrations across Office 365 (e-mailing) Skype Business (video conferencing), Share Point Online/ OneDrive…etc
Don’t forget about IT security
In March 2020, when the first lockdown was announced, companies were not prepared for it and some had a hard time adjusting to remote working. As cybercrimes increased by 72% in the first month of lockdown many companies have now implemented security policies and procedures to ensure that employees are working securely on their own networks.
Microsoft is developing some new ways to keep businesses safe and productive, including deploying multi-factor authentication. They are also working on Windows Virtual Desktops that allow employees to work remotely with their data safely stored offsite so they can stay secure even if the physical location changes.
It won’t be perfect straight away
Business owners need to be thoughtful with their implementation of a hybrid working model and considering the research being done by large companies such as Microsoft, as well as their own employees’ opinions to form a comprehensive framework that will set employees up for success. With this being said, just like remote work was an unfamiliar experience over the past year or two, so too is a hybrid style which will require adjustments by each company based on its own individual needs.
In order to successfully implement a hybrid work model, business leaders face the challenge of evaluating and constantly making changes in response to feedback from their employees. Adapting their approach and evolving their strategies along the way.