In 2020 Covid-19 thrust the world into chaos, bringing about unprecedented challenges for people and society. Businesses were especially hit hard by the pandemic, from supply chain issues, colossal financial worries, and dwindling demand, industries everywhere faced the wrath of the virus.
In this sink or swim narrative many organisations were forced to adopt a hybrid working approach or a fully remote work structure despite operating business models that were not typically designed for it. The ability to adapt, and adapt fast, proved key to survival in the face of adversity. Now, two years later, many companies are still working flexibly which poses the question – is hybrid working here to stay? Below we explore how to maintain a successful hybrid working approach and why exactly remote working is such a hit.
One major advantage of adopting a hybrid workplace is that it is cost effective. Whether it’s hefty parking tariffs, rising energy bills, or the alarming price of fuel these days; both employer and employee incur costs when they opt to use a physical office space. The current cost of living crisis places further strain on the idea of returning to the office full time too. Employees have become accustomed to working from home and there are many studies that show staff are happier being at home, therefore it would be unwise to reshuffle, especially given the fact that WFH is budget-friendly for both parties.
Fears surrounding productivity may force bosses to invite staff back into the office full time. However, several surveys report that productivity levels while working remotely are actually higher in comparison to working within an office setting. The following examples are worth your consideration. Office productivity largely relies on having an optimal working environment; if there are members of your team that are easily distracted, chat a lot, and tend to lose concentration, remote working could be the answer to getting tasks completed at a quicker rate. Likewise, taking the need to commute to work out of the equation also diminishes stress in employees, resulting in an improved mood and enhanced productivity. All in all, staff are more likely to work longer hours and take shorter breaks while WFH.
Collaborating effectively while remote working is key. Using a virtual messaging system, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, is a great way to keep the team connected. Zoom is also a handy resource for conducting video meetings. To maintain a successful hybrid working approach, try not to bombard your team with too many messages while they’re at home, set comms norms like checking in every morning to establish tasks and then trust that your employees are handling their workload during those more silent moments.
Leading on from the previous point, having access to the right tech is so important when operating a hybrid approach to work. Have all your employees been given laptops and work phones so that they have access to software whether they’re working from home, from a cafe, or the office? Once the right resources are in place and the necessary equipment has been granted, the work can begin to flow. Any barriers which stop your team from working productively should be immediately identified and resolved in order to benefit everyone in the organisation hierarchy.
It’s understandable that the remote work revolution remains a daunting topic for businesses. Employers are worried about managing output while staff are at home, but ultimately, driving staff back into the office could do more harm than good. Thanks to hybrid working, staff foster healthier lifestyles and organisations should be driven by all of the post-pandemic data that supports this. Don’t run the risk of losing your best talent by shaking up the structure they’ve become so used to; move with the times and listen to your employees in order to maintain a successful hybrid working approach – this is the easiest way to retain your most promising personnel.
If hybrid working isn’t a viable option for your business, consider exploring other routes to keep your staff fully onboard. One of the emerging trends of 2022, which we’re sure to see further evolve in 2023, is the idea of a four day working week. Opencast, Evolved Search and Atom Bank are examples of north-east businesses which participated in a four day working week trial. Evolved Search found the campaign very successful amongst staff and has decided to make the permanent switch to four days. 100% of its team stated that it improved their personal wellbeing and productivity levels soared in comparison to the previous six months within the business – you really can’t argue with that!
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