Businesses have been seeking to transition to agile operating practises effectively since Covid-19 first rocked the world early last year. Remote working is not a foreign concept, but because of the social distancing requirements, adoption has increased immensely ever since.
Remote working has been increasingly painless for many workers due to innovations such as Windows Virtual Desktop and Microsoft Teams; some organisations have also thrived in a new agile working climate. There are several firms that rely on their office set-ups, though, and the possibility of returning to them was ripped away many times at the end of 2020.
It is clear that remote working has gained a permanent place within modern working methods due to the continuing effects of the pandemic, in spite of the mass implementation of vaccines. The working environment will shift into a hybrid era as organisations are able to return to their office spaces again, merging office and remote working to create a fluid hybrid paradigm.
Because of this it is important to know the clear advantages as well as consider the downsides in order to proceed in hybrid work:
1) A more efficient working environment
The benefits that more flexible working can offer have been embraced by millions of organisations around the globe. A 2020 Finder study showed that two thirds of the companies surveyed saw improved productivity of remote staff over office employees. A primary advantage for home workers is improved efficiency, resulting from less disruptions.
Being able to offer a preference to staff and teams helps them to choose the place in which they work best and ultimately concentrate better.
2) Improvements to work life balance
A hybrid working model gives the whole company flexibility to be where they need, when they need to be there. Employees who can walk their dogs on their lunchbreaks whilst working from home or get an extra hour in bed on the days they don’t have to commute, will be happier and more motivated.
3) Reduced costs without affecting growth
Gone are the days of specific office desks for every employee. Hot-desking in a smaller office or coworking in shared spaces can reduce the cost and responsibility of a large physical workspace, while still enabling teams to collaborate in person and on-site customer meetings to take place. With a hybrid working style, businesses can rethink their existing office set-ups and reduce building, utilities and staff costs without disrupting working patterns or revenue.
Hybrid working can’t, and won’t, work for every business. For many sectors, such as hospitality and healthcare, location is integral to staff being able to do their jobs. For businesses that could combine home and office working, downsides might include:
1) Less urgency with critical changes and announcements
Things can change quickly for businesses within certain industries; the stock market fluctuates rapidly and new software’s and technologies are developed overnight. With a hybrid working model, it’s rare that the majority of employees will be in the same place at the same time, which makes urgent changes or announcements hard to communicate with impact and severity.
If you’re using Teams, you can get the workforce together quickly by hosting a live event and gathering those in the office together, with remote workers dialling in. Not yet using Teams? Talk to us about the collaboration benefits.
2) A divided and isolated workforce
It’s likely that workforces might be divided in preference when given the choice to work at home vs work in the office. While these preferences can work harmoniously together, a divide might begin to develop if there’s no clear strategy in place. Remote workers could get a sense of isolation or a feeling of being left out, and productivity might begin to diminish. Working from home, when part of a structured plan that leverages the right remote working tools, can offer a focused environment and leave workers feeling far from isolated.
3) Too much work, not enough culture
Just as hybrid working might lead to a divided workforce, the model could also dilute your company culture. Without the unity of all being in one place (even if that place is alone at home), employees can lose touch with the ethics and values that underpin a brand, and lose sight of what makes a healthy working culture.
Although the cons can be avoided with simple effort, it’s important to consider them in order to stay humble and keep the business strategy on track. Are you ready for a hybrid model? Does it sound like the right long-term direction for your business?
We can offer advice to help you maximise on the hybrid working opportunity or manage your IT and technology strategy if you’re too busy – whatever works best for you.