That could be about to change as employees, businesses and technologies shift further towards an ‘all hybrid’ model.
In this post, we’ll dig deeper into exactly what that means and how to adapt.
Where it started: hybrid working as a compromise
Most people are familiar with what hybrid working means and what it entails. It’s a fusion of working remotely and in the office, which provides more flexibility for employees and typically more productivity for businesses.
This model of working skyrocketed in popularity in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many organisations implemented remote working to keep things running during lockdowns. While this helped people shield from the virus, it simultaneously exposed them to the benefits of working from home.
By and large, employees enjoyed the better work-life balance and cost-savings with no need to commute. Businesses benefitted from better productivity and staff morale along with the opportunity to reduce office costs if they chose to embrace it. That said, many had their reservations about team bonding, collaboration and monitoring performance.
When staff were allowed back, a compromise was created. Namely, hybrid working. Employees can work from home on some days while working in an office on others. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), 83% of organisations now have hybrid working in place – 45% with a formal policy, 24% doing so informally and 13% currently developing policies.
Where it’s going: all hybrid
Hybrid working has become the permanent model at many businesses. But as mentioned, it’s always felt like something of a compromise. That doesn’t mean that either party is unhappy. The CIPD reports that 38% of organisations have seen better productivity with an increase in net satisfaction to boot.
Instead, we’re talking about the compromised experience for those involved. Even with businesses moving to hybrid, technology hasn’t adapted to put hybrid first. People were seen as either working at home or working in the office. That meant technology had to cater to two different groups, who could be at home some of the time or in the office on other days.
Now, there’s a new perspective – everyone is simply hybrid working, all the time. This shift provides a new focus for both technology providers and organisations that want to make the most of hybrid working. Specifically, how do you create a unified experience for employees that work from anywhere?
Updating the office environment
One of the main concerns for hybrid workers is that offices haven’t adapted to the things that make them productive. During the past few years, remote workers have had time to create their ideal working environment.
That includes the right seating, lighting and temperature in a space that’s free from distractions. When businesses invest in new hardware, employees may even have been involved in the process.
When they come back to the office, the experience is subpar. It’s the same old office that hindered productivity – albeit slightly smaller or with fewer colleagues about. Technology has been chosen without consulting staff, resulting in a one-size-fits-all working space.
Rather than old-fashioned cubicles or desks, organisations need to provide a hybrid working space that allows people to thrive. According to office space providers, Knight Frank, that includes:
- Making comfort a priority with a more homely environment in the office to bridge the gap.
- Providing spaces for one-on-one conversations, including soundproof booths where in-office and remote workers can talk privately.
- Including social zones to help people reconnect, homing in on one of the key benefits of an office environment.
- Offering a choice of workspaces so employees can choose what works for them, such as café-style areas, collaborative spaces and private areas.
Most importantly, ensure that hybrid employees can enjoy the same working experience in all areas of your office space. That means the right technology, regardless of their choice of desk or surroundings.
Fine-tuning the remote experience
Another area to consider is the remote working environment. This is something that many organisations have tackled in recent years, providing staff with the tools they need to work from home. Or so they think.
Working remotely doesn’t just mean working from home. In fact, it shouldn’t be any different from hybrid working in the office. Remember – the focus is on hybrid working, all the time.
Here are some important considerations:
- Cloud-based software – Having software stored in the cloud means users can access it from any device with an internet connection. It provides true freedom for hybrid working, as employees aren’t tied to specific devices at home, in the office or elsewhere.
- Security – Naturally, security is a concern if you’re allowing people to ‘work from anywhere’. It’s important to train employees and have guidelines in place to ensure they don’t connect to insecure public networks, for example.
- Support – Do workers have reliable support, wherever they choose to work? This is vital to ensure proper adoption of technology as it’s deployed across your hybrid workforce.
Changing meeting rooms
Finally, there’s the ultimate acid test of hybrid working – the meeting. Instead of seeing it as remote and in-office workers coming together, it should simply be a meeting of hybrid workers.
In our article on hybrid meeting rooms, we listed several key points to consider:
- Display – Can everyone be seen at all times? Smart monitors and video-conferencing apps can help.
- Audio – Can all participants hear one another with the same clarity? Omnidirectional microphones are usually required.
- Space – Is the space big enough to include both physically present hybrid workers and those based elsewhere? It may need to be larger than a traditional meeting room that has everyone there in person.
- Scheduling – Can employees book meeting rooms easily from any location? A synchronised scheduling system can make this possible.
Stay supported, however your business changes
The way people work is changing, now more than ever. It’s important to keep your workforce supported throughout that change. That’s where Aura can help. We provide a refreshingly simple approach to multi-vendor, multi-national IT services and support.
Whether you’re moving towards a digital workplace or looking to simplify voice calling with global SIP trunking, we provide the services you need, where you need them – all wrapped up in one contract with a single point of contact.
To find out more, simply contact our team today.