Wednesday, September 22, 2021
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Next Big Disruption Is ‘Hybrid Work’

Huma Arshad

Hybrid work poses unique challenges for companies either large or small, but the opportunities to cultivate a more engaged workforce are the biggest motivation behind all that after the pandemic. We should accept the fact that hybrid work is not new, but it is a ‘New Normal. ‘The pandemic accelerated the adoption of workplace flexibility, making it obvious that many people can be productive outside the office too. Despite the interest in hybrid work among companies and employees, businesses are confronting real-world challenges in adopting it.

Many companies’ leaders worldwide are facing several questions integral to implementing a hybrid work model. The major challenge is ensuring the right people are in the office keeping in mind their occupancy. Another challenge with hybrid work is workplace equity, ensuring employees who work virtually are visible, engaged, and offered the same opportunities as their counterparts in the physical office. As employees head back to the office under a hybrid model, concerns are arising about inequalities in the workplace experience, and companies are exploring ways to sustain uniformity and equality between those who work in the office and those who work virtually. Any organization’s culture has always been one of the key factors to attract and retain talent. With a hybrid model, it is quite challenging to build a culture that attracts employees to the company. Two major elements which can curb this problem are collaboration and connection. Collaboration and connection must be formed and prevailed between leaders, employees, and teams who are operating under different work models. The key to the successful adoption of hybrid work is to understand the needs of the company and workforce before prescribing workplace and employee policy strategies.

Tactics to a successful transition to Hybrid Work

The popular Hybrid Work Model is based on

  • Remote –first
  • Office -Occasional
  • Office- First, Remote Allowed

In this rapidly changing world of technology, every company or organization has its own needs and demands.No workforce is homogenous. Each employee and team has different needs. Involving employees in the conversation is a solution towards adopting an appropriate Hybrid Work Model according to the needs and demands of employees and the company. Developing policies for Hybrid Work like meeting etiquettes for virtual and in-person participation, recommending office space use, communicating expected working hours. Those policies must apply to the entire workforce of the company whether they are working virtually, physically in the office, or a mix of both. Continuos feedback in such cases is a must so companies have to encourage their employees to give feedback related to these policies as it is a ‘New Normal,’ so, it needs to be reviewed and restructured according to new challenges and needs of the time. The main aim is to afford employees flexibility while maintaining predictability in where and when they work. Investing in virtual making virtual work environment productive reserves time in office.

Appropriate use of technology can help companies and teams to switch to hybrid work efficiently and effectively. Like investing in clear video conferencing, different chat applications, audio visual setups, and availability of other resources of communication can have effective and productive results. Since COVID-19 rapidly changing world has forced companies to invest more in technology including video conferencing and other audio visual tools, investing in different apps. Many companies started investing in workplace sensors, which can be used to track workplace occupancy rates and collect data on which workspace are most used by the workforce. This kind of data can be used to determine investment decisions and workplace policies. It has been observed that employees consistently say the most compelling reason to go back to the office is collaboration and interaction in person. attending meetings and experiencing interaction with colleagues. Offices have traditionally been designed around individual workstations, but a Hybrid workplace needs to facilitate in-person collaboration and in-office flexibility.

In the end, inevitably, companies can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines anymore. They must figure out how to make remote work possible and effective .either it is full-time work from the home hybrid model with the fusion of on-site work. If they do not adopt such strategies they will lose their top talents.

 “ Success in a hybrid work environment requires employers to move beyond viewing remote or hybrid environments as temporary or short-term strategy and to treat it as an opportunity.” George Penn, Vice President- Gartner






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