Many businesses across the UK are being presented with a unique opportunity to reshape the structure of the modern workplace culture. A hybrid workforce is set to be at the heart of this new working world. With companies already developing their future strategies around their people working from a split model of home and office life, business leaders will want to know what steps they need to take, in order to prepare themselves for the new hybrid workforce.
In this blog, we will be taking a brief look at some of the ways you can begin to prepare your office space for the new hybrid workforce. We believe that technology will be one of the greatest assets to businesses looking to drive change within their workforce and how adopting new systems can help you craft a hybrid workplace that benefits every one of your people.
Don’t have time to read the guide right now? Download our full guide on how to prepare your office for the new hybrid workforce and read it later. The guide is packed with even more tips to help you prepare for a hybrid workforce including policy considerations, change communication and insights around flexibility and productivity.
The importance of flexibility
A report by Mckinsey found that at the height of the pandemic, some organisations were moving at a pace of 25 times faster with regards to increasing the digitisation of their internal functions. One person surveyed commented that pre-pandemic, their organisation could expect a delay of months in making a decision regarding new platforms- compared with a turnaround of 11 days at the height of the crisis. This suggests that businesses have not only learned the value that new systems bring to their organisation, but also the need to remain agile and adaptive.
A hybrid workforce looks to be the future for many businesses and it is certainly a period of exciting change and a chance to move away from the older, more rigid working structures we have been used to. This new shape of the workforce does come with its share of pitfalls that HR teams and business leaders will need to be aware of when planning for the future.
The advantages of the hybrid working model
The hybrid working model is likely to signal the end of the traditional, rigid working structure. Instead of being tied to a singular location, employees will be afforded the freedom to structure their own working week, devoting their time between remote working and on premises work.
As we look towards the future of the workforce, organisations are already beginning to look at the ways a hybrid structure can benefit them and studies by organisations such as CIPD have already begun to identify some key advantages presented by hybrid working:
Better work-life balance
A major benefit for many who will relish the freedom to plan their schedules around home life. The stresses of the past year will also have caused many people to shift their priorities towards a greater work/life balance and so it is well worth driving conversations in your organisation around how hybrid working can help.
By offering your employees the ability to structure a working model that suits them, you can help tackle issues of anxiety around returning to the workplace as well as promoting a culture of flexibility which can help avoid mental burnout which can lead to stress-related sickness absence.
Working without distractions
For many, the social atmosphere of the office can be more of a hindrance than a help, particularly when deadlines loom or huge projects are presented to them. A hybrid model allows employees to fit their schedule to suit them, taking remote working days for those times when you really need to knuckle down.
Things to consider when preparing for hybrid working
A reshaping of the office space – The traditional function of the office space is looking to undergo change, pivoting from a static place of work to a flexible social hub for teams to touch base. Hot desking looks likely to be a popular trend for businesses looking at how to introduce flexible working into their office space. Make sure you have systems in place that allow your people visibility of desk availability and to allow teams to be in the office space collectively as needed.
A more permanent shift to hybrid working will require businesses to think about how any business-sensitive materials can be accessed safely remotely. New technology and systems can enable this, offering a virtual platform for asset management. Ensure that you are communicating with your people to field any questions regarding virtual security concerns
Access control and time and attendance
Having accurate visibility of your people will be vital, particularly when splitting their time between home and office work. Access control can help you manage the flow of people into the office space whilst time and attendance systems help you bridge the gap between your home and in-office workers.
The move to hybrid working may necessitate a re-evaluation of existing company policy, particularly those surrounding benefits, in order to ensure that all employees are benefiting, regardless of where they are working from. Business leaders should also be prepared to take the lead in championing the new shift, laying out clear expectations for their people.
What’s the right mix of remote and home work for your organisation?
Ultimately, the right balance of remote and home working will differ from organisation to organisation. It is vital that business leaders are actively driving discussions with their employees in order to ensure they are gaining an understanding of their people’s requirements, as well as the demands of their industry, in order to make sure that they are able to craft a structure which suits them.
Clear development and the communication of a robust company policy will be essential in ensuring that your employees understand their responsibilities with hybrid working and also the expectations of management. Business leaders and HR teams act as role models when it comes to driving forward policy, therefore the onerous is on them to demonstrate their commitment to the new structure.
It is evident that businesses across the country are on the cusp of a very real and exciting change, with the shift to remote working representing the opportunity to fundamentally reshape the modern working culture.
Hybrid working is an exciting prospect for many organisations who will be looking to evolve the adaptability they utilised in order to survive the pandemic into a new ethos that will see their organisations thrive in the long run.
At Mitrefinch, we understand how important it is that hybrid working is a success for your business and our range of workforce management solutions are designed to help you stay connected with your people and to drive productivity and profitability for your organisation, no matter where you are working from.