When the pandemic forced the whole world to start working from home, no one could have predicted what would happen when it was time to return to the office. Businesses and workers both realized that the work-from-home model offered a range of benefits that would be difficult to leave behind. With 83% of employees showing a preference towards a new way of working, businesses need to adapt to hybrid working or risk losing their talent. This presents a daunting task for a business that’s new to hybrid working. Switching to a hybrid workforce model isn’t as simple as letting your employees work from home a couple of days a week.
As businesses look to decrease the amount of real estate they have, scheduling who will work in the office and who will work from home will become a difficult tightrope to walk. If hybrid working isn’t implemented correctly, it could have a disastrous effect on company culture and collaboration. With that in mind, we’ll tell you about the workplace strategies your business needs to create an effective, productive hybrid workforce.
The 3 hybrid workforce strategies to know and master
For a hybrid workplace to work, you need to focus on three main areas: the office, working from home, and a hybrid collaboration platform. These three areas work symbiotically to give employees the flexibility they’re looking for and businesses the productivity spike they enjoyed throughout the work-from-home period.
1. Office strategy
One of the biggest questions for businesses is, “What will we do with our office space?” Some are using hybrid working to reduce overheads by decreasing the amount of real estate they have. However, this isn’t the end of the traditional office space, far from it.
As hybrid working takes hold, the office will offer a new purpose. Rather than just being an area where people work alongside each other, it will become the center of the business, a hub for employees to come together to build rapport, educate, and collaborate.
To ensure that your office is conducive to this atmosphere, you may need to reassess how your office space is laid out. Individual workstations and closed-off meeting rooms work against the inclusive, and open environment hybrid working requires.
By transforming your office space into an open, flexible space, you are literally removing the barriers that physically limit interaction and collaboration. Flexible office space will help the hybrid working transition, plus it future proofs your office. Flexible furniture, open spaces, and easy-to-access technology will mean you can adapt to any new workplace trends that pop up.
While open spaces are great for collaboration and inclusivity, It’s important to remember that not everyone works the same way. Some employees found the lack of distractions in a work-from-home environment just what they needed to increase their productivity.
This is where digital signage and desk hoteling come in. Allowing employees to choose where they work will ensure that those who prefer privacy will have access to a private space when they go into the office.
Finally, those in the office will need a simple way to connect with remote workers. If you want to make sure your hybrid workplace is a success, you need to provide your employees with the right tools to communicate and collaborate no matter where they are.
When planning your office strategy, ask yourself the following questions:
● How will employees know there will be an available desk when they get to an office?
● Will they be able to book and find a workspace with ease?
● Can they expect a consistent collaboration experience regardless of where they work?
● Will we be able to easily deploy and manage devices to remote and in-office workers?
● How do your employees currently prefer to work?
● Can we track usage of space, and can we continuously optimize spaces?
2. Work from home strategy
Hybrid working obviously means several employees will be working from home at any given time. While the work-from-home period the pandemic forced us into offered us a taste of how good hybrid working can be, it also highlighted the issues that prevent it from being a success.
Many workers have expressed frustration with their experiences with video conferencing tools. While these tools were purpose-built for communicating remotely, they tend to cause friction. You must address these concerns for a successful hybrid workforce.
Software isn’t the only concern for those working from home. Ensuring your employees have the right hardware to get the job done will be crucial to making hybrid working a viable option.
Many companies will be content in just giving their remote working employees laptops. But that doesn’t quite cut it, as we found during the last few years. For hybrid working to succeed, businesses need to provide their employees with hardware that enables remote collaboration and productivity, including high-fidelity video capabilities.
It’s also important to remember that not every employee will need the same equipment. Make sure to assess what each employee needs to avoid wasted resources.
To ensure the work-from-home part of your hybrid working model will be a success, consider the following:
● Are employees happy with their current collaboration experience when working from home?
● Can your employees access the collaboration tools they need to do their jobs effectively?
● Can they manage the distractions associated with working from home?
● Can they collaborate as easily as they would in an office setting?
● Can we easily monitor and manage their devices to help improve their experience?
2. Platform Strategy
Some of you will have noticed a theme emerging in this article: collaboration.
For hybrid working to be truly successful, businesses need to provide solutions to their employees that allow them to connect easily. Be it via video, instant messaging, or any other way they need to communicate.
You can use a series of applications to achieve this, or you could try to find one platform that offers everything you need in one place. It doesn’t matter which you use, as long as you find something that works for your organization.
When looking for communication and collaboration tools, here are some options to consider:
You’d be hard-pressed to find a business that doesn’t use some form of messaging platform. These platforms, like Slack, allow colleagues to get fast answers and share ideas no matter where they may be.
Centralized, cloud-based file system
Using a platform like the Google Suite or Office 365 allows teams to work together with ease. Everything is stored on the cloud, allowing everyone to access and edit files whenever and wherever they need to.
We’re all tired of the usual issues that come with video conferencing software. Thankfully there is an extensive range of options available to us that we didn’t have just a year ago. This means you can choose the best video conferencing platform for your business rather than settling for the only one on the market.
Finally, you need a platform to help those in the office find and book a workspace with ease. That’s where Smartway2 comes in.
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Smartway2 empowers your workers by giving them the freedom to book desks, equipment, parking, conference rooms, and even lunch. The easy-to-use system can help unlock productivity and improve the employee experience to help you transition seamlessly to a hybrid workforce.