7 Ways to Prepare a Hybrid Workplace
The effects of pandemic on organisations are far too many to enlist but one positive change that everybody witnessed is – the outburst and acceptance of the hybrid workplace model. Yes, ask your employees and they would prefer flexible workplace management 83% of the time. Shocking, how a pandemic- survival model turned into a full-fledged workplace culture! With its flexibility and multiple advantages, going hybrid is rightfully being termed as the “current workplace trend” with almost all companies adopting flexible workplace culture.
How to Define Hybrid Workplace?
A hybrid workplace, most simply defined, is a workplace model that enables the staff or employees to work both in-house and remotely. This working model has gained huge popularity among the working class as well as the employers with some of the biggest companies embracing it with open arms.
With the deep penetration of hybrid workplace strategy, freedom comes rushing in, teaching companies that working remotely is as productive as on-site working. This, in turn, has given rise to a brand-new work culture which was considered impossible some 3 years ago yet is one of the buzzing terms after the virus disrupted our workplaces.
Ways to Prepare a Positive Hybrid workplace
Organisations globally are impressed with the hybrid work model and are certainly stretching out their wings to introduce this concept within their office spaces. For most of them, the testing phase has already passed during the pandemic. Now, as office spaces are being prepared to re-open, here are 7 ways companies can prepare their zones to welcome a hybrid workforce.
Introducing Collaboration Tools
For any organisation to function, collaboration is one aspect that plays a vital role in shaping its productivity and achieving end results. It is fairly easy in normal scenarios or the 9-5 jobs for employees to join meetings and have face-to-face conversations with fellow employees at any time of the day.
When the mixed model is initiated, it is a nut job to bring all employees/ teammates together in a single space for even simple discussions. However, with collaboration tools and platforms working together and collaborating with team members is not only a piece of cake but is also highly organised and effective. For instance, office seat booking software allows employees to gain access to office desks and reserve their spaces in advance, with a dashboard that allows team members to book seats closer by for effective communication. Whether it is on email or within meetings, good collaboration software is directly proportional to productivity.
Bridging Gap Between On-site and Remote Employees
Going five years back in timeline, we would hardly find companies that would even hire an employee who prefers to work from a remote location. But since the situation is vastly different now, remote working has earned the recognition of its own and is no more considered as a side-job. The first thing that companies do while re-opening their office doors and bringing in hybrid culture to their desks is bridging the gap between on-site employees and work-from-home employees.
Companies need to allow the remote working class to actively be involved in meetings and allow a certain percentage of the employees to work from the office, this helps to initiate real-time conversations and active collaborations. The same applies to on-site workers who need to be given the freedom to switch to remote working by following proper protocols. This will ensure that all employees are in the same boat and can enjoy proper freedom and real flexibility in their schedules.
Accessibility Over Location
Gone are the days when the amount of work being done was measured by the number of people sitting (even sulking) in front of their office desks. The hybrid workplace needs to follow the “accessibility over location” approach for a smooth workflow and uninterrupted operational efficiency. This means that employees need not have to be physically present in the office premises to gain access or performs operations during their working hours.
Adopting cloud technologies and software relying on this innovation is one easy way to bring effortless accessibility to your staff. With almost all software and management tools using cloud technologies, data and operations can easily be viewed, stored and secured in a single place and are accessible to employees hailing from any part of the world.
Improving Overall Culture
It is being asserted that hybrid workplace is the future of companies and clearly, it bears the potential and advantages in a long time. That said, mixing the on-site and remote way of working is a herculean task because organisations operate on real-time relations and trust between the members working together. A report brought out a shocking 92% of employees’ belief that corporate culture improves the value of a company.
In order to make this model a hit with employees, businesses need to give a facelift to traditional organizational culture, make changes in the way they work and adapt to the latest trends and culture that encourages the workforce. Hybrid workforce may not be the right choice for employers who wish to sustain their traditional workplace practices and expect the new generation to join hands. A great way to get the workforce together is by making the workplace more inviting and reducing the labour by ditching the manual ways of working and letting automation sink in.
Focusing on Real Security
With the introduction of remote working, companies and organisations have the big task of getting all of their resources, data and information online. This data includes even sensitive data related to the organization. Security and data breach concerns are the top factors that hinder this shift of data and information and has been a major cause of concern for even big organisations to date.
With the introduction of effective software, security and safety come effortlessly to any organisation. For example, something as important as assets of companies are being handles by asset management software that securely stores, manages and maintains records of all assets and even provides analytics on every single detail of assets. With such technology in place, it is hard for data breaches to occur as it prepares and warns the authorities automatically before any mishap occurs.
Adopting Technology to Simplify
Since hybrid workplace needs a lot of technology to fully function, it is imperative that organisations give technology as much importance as their workforce. The hybrid workplace, when fully functional and efficient, can drastically reduce labour costs and also add to brand value.
Think of a conference room. We would visualize a big hall with a huge desk, employees seated closely in chairs and one presenter or speaker playing a PowerPoint in the back projector screen. Now infuse some remote employees and we see their presence in screens in tiny boxes, with their robotic head movements. A successful hybrid arrangement would be to provide each participant with a separate screen and getting the remote staff better options to collaborate and be heard in meetings or conversations. As per reports, employees have witnessed a 17% decrease in time wasted in performing manual operations. Less time-wastage means getting more work done.
Focus on Developing a Happy Workplace
Hybrid workplace had its ideal roots in the pandemic era but as the companies are accepting this culture as a permanent model of working, it is here to stay in the long run. The biggest challenge that companies face is creating engagement within their on-site as well as remote employees. While this seems possible for the office goers, creating the same kind of engagement, happiness and involvement in the remote workforce is a challenge for organisations. This causes a sense of disappointment and less productivity amongst the latter causing them to think of themselves as an out branch or extended employees.
In order to create a happy space, Companies need to hear their virtual workforce and give them the power to choose and act in the same manner as the on-site employees. Their talents to be valued and companies should have protocols that let them function as effectively as the on-site workers. The idea should be poised to create a happy space, because even factually, happy employees are 12% more productive at all times.
How does the Hybrid Culture Fit your Organisation?
How can you accelerate your pace towards accepting this workplace model? Are your office premises equipped enough to operate a hybrid workplace in full swing? These are crucial questions that can pave the right way for organisations that are struggling to move ahead in this direction. It is all about creating the right balance and interaction between the virtual and on-site workforce and giving them the right tools, help and technology to connect as well as the organisation as a whole.