Bring Hybrid Working To The Workplace Without Hassle And Create A Productive Business
Recently a lot of whitepapers and reports from leading business consultancies and IT firms have been circulated, discussing various ways to set up the "perfect" hybrid model for work. The Virgin Business whitepaper is one of those which stand out, as it talks about the importance of strategy when creating a hybrid work model for oneís small business. Crisis-driven remote working styles must give way to a longer-term vision and strategy. Orgvue, a leading HR consultancy, wants us to rethink job roles and work. The 9-to-5 office-based mindset is dead. It's not enough to simply convert physical interactions into virtual meetings. A popular Microsoft report also urges us to create a plan to empower people for extreme flexibility and to invest in space and technology. It's all about a clean-cut solution to merge HR needs and IT infrastructure in order to have a productive small business.
JOB ROLES AND THE RIGHT TOOLS
The first step towards setting up a likeable hybrid work model is to understand the nature of the different roles within any business. Time zones and location dependencies have to be taken into account so that the business owner can decide when to have meetings, collaboration and presentations at the right time for staff in the UK or abroad. Once the nature of the work involved is grasped, the right IT tool can be found. For example, some work can be done remotely while another type of work can be automated. Office space does not stop at the office. Staff can work from home, in the office, on the go, on the manufacturing floor etc. There is a variety of IT tools out there. HybridOS for example is "a totally new open source operating system designed for smart Internet of Things (IoT) devices and cloud computing environment". It enables focus, efficiency and collaboration and allows workers to remain autonomous whether at home or inside the office. Employee portals and people management tools can allow the small business owner or team leaders to keep track of employee preferences, resources or schedules. Marketing and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can be automated. Other business operations can also be automated for better company efficiency. Smarter hot desks for work can be used with synchronised booking software. There are even workplace analytics to analyse "workplace density" i.e. keeping track of resources and optimising office bookings. The more common collaboration and communication tools Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, Microsoft Teams can also be considered.
FINDING A SOLUTION THAT WORKS FOR THE EMPLOYEE
The limitations of remote work need to be addressed too, especially regarding collaboration and communication. Pandemic-driven remote-only work is giving way to the hybrid model. A study by Accenture showed that up to 83% of employees think that the hybrid model is the best option so far.
A flexible work set-up, or hybrid working, gives one options to work from home a few days of the week and to work in the physical environment of the office or factory the rest of that week. This will allow time for face-to-face collaboration with colleagues or to use fixed equipment at work e.g. machinery, lab equipment or to fulfil transactions in a physical store. For the motivated employee this hybrid model equates to less social isolation and the opportunity to bounce off ideas with colleagues in a natural environment as well as the comfort of working from home. There should also be an effort from the business owner to stop employees from feeling burned out from having no separation between the responsibilities of work and home in cases of weekly remote work. Apps for wellbeing and calmness can be brought into the picture or office masseuses and wellbeing devices e.g. massage chairs can be accessible when they work in the office.
SECURITY AND TRAINING
The oasis of the hybrid work model has its own challenges. Cyber security (internet security) and network security are key for such a model to work for staff anywhere, anytime. Basic "cyber hygiene" best practices need to be observed and security technology needs to be simple, intuitive and easy for anyone to use in the right way. Training in such matters is essential. A proper cyber security strategy needs to go hand in hand with a hybrid work strategy.
Turning the hybrid work model into a real-life model is exciting but can be very tricky. Staff still need to be managed. The old 9-to-5 mindset about clocking hours needs to give way to focus on productivity. "Legacy infrastructure" (turn-of-the-century IT infrastructure) for example needs to be replaced by cloud computing and automation needs to be a regular feature of the most common business operations. People's motivations need to be as strong as ever and collaboration and communication have to be top-notch. Organisational strategy is essential for survival and enhanced productivity. The bottom line, however, is to create a new business model with the right IT tools without too much hassle and respecting company values and ethos. The model needs to be sustainable and be able to adapt to future changes.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP
At Associate Planet, a boutique IT and technology consultancy, we will listen to and understand your dilemmas and priorities. We have been working in a flexible, hybrid and international environment for a couple of decades. We work together with you to find the right solutions for a productive and happy business. Why not contact us for an informal chat and decide on your custom hybrid work strategy? Call Richard on 07831 196534 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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