Hybrid Workplace Model | Top Technologies Enabling Hybrid Working
The pandemic has been a game-changing experience for businesses. It has brought dramatic changes in the way almost every business and industry operates. Through the pandemic, the resilience of people/ businesses was tested and many have survived through the most extreme scenarios. The pandemic has fuelled the growth of remote working and what has followed is the hybrid work model. As businesses reopen and try setting their foot on the right track, the hybrid working model is like a boon that comes with too many benefits to ignore.
In the below article, we will dig deeper into what exactly is a hybrid workspace, what options do companies have while adopting this model and the top technologies companies need to make the right.
Hybrid Workplace Model
A hybrid working model is a work culture that enables employees to choose to work from home (remote work locations) or choose to work on-site (work from the office). To create a hybrid workspace, businesses must adopt a hybrid workplace culture wherein employees can easily choose their preferred workplace without any pressure.
Hybrid work is a mix of employees who have control over their work schedules and specifically, the place of their work.
While the definition of hybrid is different for varying industries, there are three options that the organisations can choose from.
This model is based on the approach that all the employees are basically working remotely and are not meeting in offices very often. This model is particularly seen in companies that have a fully remote workforce which allows its employees to work from any part of the world and collaborate using the multiple online resources available for smooth collaboration. This, however, does not mean that employees cannot see each other ever as most remote companies allow the employees residing in nearby locations to visit offices, depending on the preference of the employees.
Companies like Grammarly operated remotely during the pandemic and have announced that they would be going with a remote-first hybrid model.
This model consists of employees who choose to come to the office on some days and work from home on others. This is different from the first type of model as it is employees visiting the office mandatorily for certain weeks of the day. For example, many companies have adopted the proposal of a hybrid workplace model that involves the employees coming in for any 3 days of the week to the office, and enjoy the perks of remote working for the rest of the days.
This allows the teams to meet quite frequently yet gives them the flexibility of working from home. This kind of hybrid is one of the most adopted models as it allows the employees to collaborate and discuss projects more effectively as they meet in person every single week.
Office-First, Remote Allowed
This kind of hybrid model operates on the principle wherein a major portion of the workforce operates from the office, at the same time allowing a percentage of remote employees to join the workforce (mostly on a contract basis). This is different from the above two models where employees are expected to come to the office and work from their work zones and the rest of the employees are permanently remote. In such a scenario, an office is a place of interaction of on-site employees while remote workers may never visit the office at any point of their working tenure.
Top Technologies to Adopt for Hybrid Working
Office Desk Booking Software
Hybrid workplace management starts with employees juggling between remote and on-site workstations. When employees are staying at home, it is fine but what if too many employees turn up at the office one day? It could disrupt social distancing norms laid by the government. This calls for an effective seat booking software that allows the employees to reserve their desks in advance and book their workstations. This helps the facility manager in getting accurate data on the number of employees wishing to work from the office on particular days, enabling facility managers to plan and organize in advance.
Employee Attendance Tracking System
When the workforce is distributed tracking employee attendance is certainly a herculean task. If companies wish to track the attendance of employees on an everyday basis, smart employee attendance tracking software is a must. Such software comes with in-built programs that allow the employees to sign in at the front desk via a visitor/ employee check-in app that seamlessly tracks the activity and the time spent by employees within the facility at a given point f time. This can aid the employers to have a clear attendance history and hours worked of individual workers automatically, eliminating the need to do this tedious yet crucial task manually.
Employee Support Software
Ensuring continuous employee experience to a remote workforce, the companies are usually burdened with the responsibility of providing extra attention to the remote staff because they can easily feel neglected and disconnected from the office workers. Investing in employee support or employee help desk software is a great move to better manage remote workers. An employee help desk allows the employees, both off-site and on-site, to address their issues and concerns, complaints or woes online using a simple platform. So, the offsite employees have the same means and resources as the on-site employees to take their concerns to the concerned department. In cases of technical snags or sensitive issues like burnouts and assaults, employees can quickly fill out online forms and submit them to the concerned individuals, all from the comfort of their homes. This makes it easy for the authorities to investigate the matter and follow-up in an organised manner, ensuring that the issues are resolved at the earliest and all employee problems are taken into consideration.
Distributed Asset Management
Businesses today have more office assets to manage than ever. With hybrid work culture, resources like employees and office assets are distributed across the globe (as peripherals like desktop/ smartphones, etc are crucial for employees to carry out their day to day activities). Businesses must have a centralised asset tracking and managing system to easily audit their distributed assets. Onboard intelligent asset tracking software to track, maintain, manage and generate reports on equipment from anywhere, at any time.
According to a report, 28% of employees cite poor communication as the main reason for underperforming in tasks or projects. A hybrid workplace requires employees and employers to work in sync despite the geographical differences. As opposed to the traditional working model, in a hybrid work scenario, employees may not always be working together or in the same working place and therefore they require smart technologies and gadgets that instantly connects them with their colleagues as well as with other tiers of the organisation. Instant chats, notifications, timely reminders are some of the basic features of a good communication tool and are vital for teams to co-work on different projects seamlessly.
Document Storage and Sharing
Companies can no longer rely on paper-based files, especially in cases of a hybrid work environment. To facilitate ease of access, the documents have to be centralised and stored in one place for all the authorised members to access from anywhere. This calls for a robust document sharing and storage platform that would allow a hybrid workforce to coordinate and work on tasks in complete sync.
Video Conferencing Tool
The disconnected workforce urges for a robust video conferencing tool to seamlessly connect, collaborate and share tasks/ experiences with colleagues. Employees resorted to using video call tools for ensuring connectivity to the team and the whole organisation. Before the pandemic, video conferencing was considered the last resort for holding important discussions and meetings but the emergence of the hybrid model brought in the new trend. Soon, video calls will completely replace audio calls, as quoted by 75% of executives in a study. Even as companies resort to adopting the hybrid work culture, video conferencing software can connect the remote as well as on-site employees without any hassle. Whatever hybrid model a company chooses; proper video conferencing software is one of the most important technologies for seamless communication.
The usage of mobile phones, particularly smartphones has made the ride of shifting to hybrid a whole lot easier than anticipated. Most of the employees can now work over their phones and manage work on their devices without even having to open their desktops or laptops. Such is the power of mobile technology and it is crucial to get it onboard for the hybrid workforce. Companies need to introduce apps and mobile-friendly software to the working staff. This will enable them to work from anywhere, without having to compromise on their productivity or time.
Data Security Tools
In any industry or business, data plays a huge role and so many aspects of an organisation’s growth and revenue depend on it. When companies are willing to adopt a hybrid module, most of the data would have to be stored or transferred online. In such a scenario, the data need not only be stored but also secured. Companies, therefore, require data security tools like zero-trust access for remote employees and special passcodes for on-site employees for safeguarding their crucial information and data from cybercrimes and hackers. With the entire company operating on cloud technology and with multiple security vendors, maintaining the security of sensitive data and personal details of the members/ employees of the company has become a huge challenge making data security the topmost priority.
Switching to Hybrid
Working remotely was never considered mainstream, especially in the corporate world but with the onset of COVID-19, the whole work culture shifted. It not only became the saviour for companies in a pandemic but also gained so much popularity that employees did not wish to give up remote working completely. This led to companies adopting a hybrid way of managing their workforce culture.
Before making a shift to this unique culture, companies need to form a policy that helps the employees and employers recognise the clear boundaries and flexibilities that the company is offering in this work culture. It may seem like a challenge to deploy too many technologies and may even require companies to ditch their old ways of working. But, all of this is worth it because hybrid work offers unparalleled freedom of working to employees. Moreover, this hybrid workforce model instils a feeling of control in employees’ minds because they get to decide their time, place and way of work. It may seem small but this kind of flexibility can drastically affect an employee’s mindset and enhance their productivity.
Companies like Microsoft, Ford and even Google have adopted their ways of hybrid working. All of the above-mentioned companies have drafted a unique approach towards this with one common thing which is letting the employees choose. By listening to employees’ feedback and their expectations, companies can better understand the needs of their staff and formulate a hybrid model that works not just on paper but in the real world too.