Hybrid Working Introduction
The lifting of lockdown controls has changed the office landscape and how many people prefer to work. It’s left company managers in a quandary about the best way forward about productivity, staff retention and their desire to journey towards a net zero business model. Maybe flexible or hybrid working is the answer?
Working at home has more than doubled over the past 18 months and for many, hybrid working is now the new norm with people enjoying the flexibility and space needed for a vibrant work-life balance. This article provides 7 simple steps for a successful deployment of flexi-working arrangements.
A Changing Mindset to Hybrid Working
In the 1970s and 80s, the nine-to-five life was the norm – Friday afternoon rush hour and all. The way we worked was dictated by location. Technology has given us the freedom to work from where we are; this can be at home, in a business hub, or even in the office depending on your preference or contract of employment.
Employers are swapping the traditional 9-5 working patterns in favour of improving staff retention, less stress in the workplace and achieving business growth and results. It’s also becoming part of their plans to reduce their carbon footprint in their desire to become a Net Zero company. On a simplistic level, by permitting staff to work from home one day of a five day week, where possible, this reduces their weekly journey by 20%. That’s less traffic, less pollution and less CO2.
This shift in mentality has made it important for employers to look at the way they use their buildings, technology and people as well as assess how they can reduce their costs to become more productive.
The 7 Steps to Hybrid Working
Flexibility is an important component of a healthy work-life balance. Many people are eager to work from home for a day or two in order to reduce their commuting time, focus on projects away from the distractions of the office, or simply improve their work-life balance.
The average worker spends 62 minutes a day commuting to and from their place of work. By offering remote working, or flexible start times, you’re allowing that time to be used more effectively and immediately improving work-life balance and employee well-being. It can lead to employees feeling a sense of trust and empowerment.
The CIPD found that 71% of firms experienced no loss in productivity during a year in lockdown. The researchers analysed how these firms were able to maintain their productivity even when they were faced with the challenges that posed by the pandemic. The findings suggest that firms are better equipped to deal with these challenges now than before because of recent advances in technology and management methods.
A third had even seen an increase in productivity and taking regular breaks also helps to avoid stress–related illnesses and reduces the risk of accidents. Being able to work from home means you can avoid the commute time for those unproductive tasks which don’t require some level of interaction with others.
If you introduce flexible working practices, employees are more likely to be enthusiastic about your company as it shows you care – a positive impact on productivity.
However, some companies cite remote working deprives them of valuable insight into their employees’ productivity, but innovative tools like Teramind can help with this. It can optimise processes, protect employees and data and maximise productivity when it is used correctly.
There is a direct link between the type of device and the productivity level achieved. A large monitor, for example, can increase an employee’s productivity by 40% and adding a dual monitor set-up can increase productivity by 60%.
For this flexible, hybrid setup to work well, you need to provide every person with their choice of hardware and technology that can make them productive at home or on location. Your network infrastructure and security are key to being productive so it is important that they are monitored regularly.
One of the main challenges for businesses is a sense of collaboration when people are not physically in the same room. One solution to this problem is to use one core platform, like Microsoft 365, for all internal communications. This removes the need for multiple tools and apps as well.
This technology is allowing teams to meet in more efficient ways and share necessary information easier. It’s also possible to provide people with the ability to work from different areas of the office or from temporary hot-desks.
It’s reported there was an attempted cyber attack every 46 seconds on businesses across the UK in 2020, the chilling result of a 20% rise in security threats. Cyber crime soared as result of the global pandemic and the exponential rise in remote workforces, connected and operating through cloud-based platforms.
There were reports in 2020 that there was an attempted cyber attack every 46 seconds on businesses in the UK. This is a chilling result of a 20% increase in security threats. Cyber crime radically increased as a result of the pandemic and the exponential rise in remote workforces connecting to cloud-based platforms.
For a move to a hybrid workforce, it is essential that the business is fully aware of any weaknesses in its network that could lead to cyber crime. It’s important to have employees who are trained and become knowledgeable about security so that they can be vigilant across the business.
As digital communication replaces face-to-face, team building is more important than ever for employees. Communication is key to successful collaboration. Hybrid working also means that we need to have a set of rules and policies in place to make sure our team stays on the same page at all times.
The communication channels we choose can have a huge impact on the way we work in the future. The increasing use of social media to communicate between teams should give way to more formal, scheduled video meetings or even face-to-face collaboration at designated times.
Despite all the banter around the ever-growing range of technologies available to work remotely, telecommuting will never be as good as a face-to-face meeting, but it has its advantages; less distractions and wasted travel time are two big ones.
A VoIP phone system is essential for hybrid working because it enables employees to phone customers from anywhere. Using a VoIP system also means that all communication can be recorded and converted into Salesforce or other CRM data systems for analysis.
Having a set schedule of office and remote days can help with planning your week. A key element of this is to create enough organisational structure to allow for flexible working opportunities.
Dividing teams into the core team and accountable team is a great way to organise for remote work. It’s also very useful in terms of communicating your expectations – both how you share information, making decisions and what level and type of support each team member may require.
Connection to co-workers and clients can be done at anytime, anywhere… so long as you can connect to the internet. A high-speed broadband connection is essential for a team with many members who are in different locations.
Perhaps it’s time for businesses to take a different approach by rethinking their traditional 9-5 office culture or adopting hybrid, remote working arrangements. Meercat and our partners can guide you on taking your business to the next level.
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