Today, many businesses are considering the shift from a work office to a hybrid work model. This shift is driven by several factors – a keen interest to save on rental space, labor, and utility costs and attract the best workforce to the table.
For offices to make a successful transition, they need to lay the foundation for the new hybrid normal to ensure the sustainability and profitability of their companies.
In this blog, we capture seven early investments to be made by businesses embracing the hybrid work model.
1. Redesign the Office
Office spaces will need to be reimagined for employees to successfully integrate and be productive in the hybrid work context.
For instance, at any given moment in time, remote workers and onsite employees must be able to collaborate seamlessly. Hence, companies will need to invest in planning and procuring key infrastructure.
This can include collaborative meeting rooms, multiple projection screens, superior acoustics for enhanced sound quality, and tools like moving partitions that facilitate a flexible working environment.
2. Understand Employee Needs
Within the hybrid work model, there are multiple ways to slice and dice working arrangements. This is because employees have diverse needs.
For instance, some employees may want to be stationed fully remote while others may want to work remotely just a few days a week. On the other hand, some employees may want to work only on-site.
Hence, the hybrid work model needs to be designed as per the specific needs of a workforce for it to be fully optimized. The nature of work, the level of security it demands, and employees all play a role in driving these decisions.
3. Set Clear Expectations
Many employees are unaware of the rules and regulations connected to the hybrid working model, which is the new normal.
Companies will need to reframe and standardize the rules after fully understanding the scope of work and the format that is being adopted.
Communicating expectations to employees will play an important role in enabling a harmonious shift to the hybrid working model. Companies can conduct town halls, team-wise meetings, and share written communication.
The most important aspect is to get buy-in and agreement to the new rules. After all, the company is building a new work culture.
4. Use of the Latest Technology in Communication
Tech-enabled solutions will play an increasingly important role in the smooth functioning of hybrid workplaces.
Some of the key tools include recruitment and online induction software, video conferencing, collaboration, document management, data management, learning management, and performance management.
For instance, recruitment and online applicant tracking software can equip companies to hire and onboard employees from any geography in a streamlined and standardized way.
Companies that adopt the right tools will have a competitive edge and be able to bring in more efficient collaboration and profitability through these interventions.
5. Flexible Employee Policies
New data indicates that employees are prioritizing flexibility over other benefits such as compensation and perks. They want to be able to prioritize time with family and pursue additional interests outside of work.
Hence, to attract the best talent, employers will need to shift their expectations and craft well-thought-out flexibility policies that are relevant to all employees. Popular flexibility policies include flexitime, sabbaticals and leaves, a compressed work week, job sharing, and remote work.
Introducing no-meeting days is also a growing trend to reduce cognitive overload. Supporting employees with the necessary technology and tools to facilitate flexibility is just as important.
6. Plan the Workplace Setup
Companies are already rethinking the traditional desk or cubicle that is allotted to every employee. Some companies are introducing hot desks that can be booked via an app based on who will be in the office on a particular day.
Employees may also need to get used to the idea of no longer having one destination in the office. Days may look different, with mentoring and brainstorming sessions thrown in alongside independent work to build a culture of collaboration and also reduce screen time.
Companies will also need to invest in helping remote employees set up secure workspaces within their homes. For instance, some companies have a work-from-home budget for internet plan subscriptions and set-up costs.
7. Standardize Work Culture for Remote and Onsite Employees
In earlier decades, most remote workers were often treated as second-tier employees by their own companies. The visibility, growth, and well-being of onsite workers were prioritized, while the needs of remote workers remained underserved.
In a post-pandemic world, there is a paradigm shift towards standardizing policies for all workers, especially for those who are full-time employees. Benefits, opportunities, and growth paths must be chartered for all who deliver value for the business.
Companies that invest in facilitating a smooth transition to the hybrid model can expect to benefit from this new arrangement.
Hybrid work models promise to deliver a more rational approach to saving on costs, managing resources, compensation, and employee benefits. It also has the potential to increase the employee value proposition and attract a diverse workforce, a goal of most businesses today.