The Covid 19 pandemic has totally changed the way we work, with many employees now dividing their time between home and office. Hybrid working seems to be here to stay and many employees are reluctant to return to a scenario where they are office based 100% of the time. As the situation with Covid has improved, many companies have started to encourage their employees to return to the office but are finding many would rather continue to work from home.
Organizations need to find ways to enable hybrid working, keeping their workforce happy without compromising productivity or profitability. Technology is key when it comes to implementing a successful hybrid working environment. Let’s look at some of the ways tech can help overcome some of the challenges that companies face.
What is hybrid work?
The hybrid workplace model is one where employees work some of the time from home and some of the time at the office.
There are certainly advantages to a flexible working model. From an employee perspective hybrid working may mean a better work-life balance and a reduction in the costs associated with commuting to and from work. Companies have begun to realise the benefits too as it becomes evident that adopting a hybrid model can actually help create a happier, more productive workforce. This McKinsey report suggests that nine out of ten organizations will adopt hybrid work models long term.
How can technology help enable hybrid working?
Let’s look at how technology can help organizations to successfully implement a hybrid workplace model.
1. Collaboration Tools for better communication and synchronization
According to recent data, 28% of employees cite poor communication as the main reason problems arise during a task or a project. Hybrid working often involves accommodating geographical or time zone differences, so the use of collaboration tools can help things run smoothly.
Team collaboration tools or software applications designed for organizations to track project progress and enable unified communications are invaluable. Products like Microsoft Teams or Slack combine meet, chat, call and document sharing capabilities – all in one place, enabling quick and effective communication.
Project management apps like Jira, Trello, or Clickup can help track project progress and keep everyone on the team updated and informed.
2. Office Management Tools
For the smooth functioning of your organization, you may need several office management tools.
- Desk booking software for your employees to book their space in advance before coming to the office.
- An attendance tracking system that allows employees to sign in at the office premises and tracks the activity and the time spent by employees within the facility.
- Employee support software enabling employees to raise concerns, complaints or technical issues.
- A distributed asset management tool to manage office property and equipment allocated to employees.
3. Improved Health and Safety
Ensuring the health and safety of your employees is a huge priority. Technology can help in this area too.
Voice-enabled applications help to minimize physical contact with surfaces and devices like keyboards, doors, switches, etc. And AI-driven sensors and applications can remind people to remember social distancing in areas where they might tend to gather.
4. Enhanced Training
Enhancing your employees’ skills by offering them access to training is an essential part of any well-organized organization with long-term goals.
While it may be challenging to incorporate an effective learning experience in a hybrid or remote work environment, using learning management systems (LMS) and learning experience platforms can facilitate training anytime and anywhere. Completion information and assessments can also be stored in the LMS to help track progress.
5. Robust Data Storage and Security
Thanks to technology, gone are the days when data was stored on paper and in files. Data is now kept on PC storage and portable storage options like pen drives and DVDs. But you need to go a step further in a hybrid working model.
As employees sometimes work from different locations, you need to opt for cloud-based storage where documents are centralized for authorized users to access from anywhere.
A centralized data system with multiple access points, where data is transferred to and fro brings its own security challenges. So, you’ll need data security tools like zero-trust access for remote employees and special passcodes for on-site employees to protect crucial information and data from hackers.
6. Technology on the go with mobile devices
Mobile devices are on the rise. These are powerful tools enabling a workforce to literally work anytime and anywhere and a savvy organization can harness this technology to help create a truly flexible workforce.
Employers may want their employees back in the office as it makes things easier to manage and organize, but many employees now prefer working from home. A hybrid model is a sensible compromise and technology can help create a scenario that keeps everyone happy. There are a multitude of tools and software programs that can be used to successfully implement hybrid working practices within an organization to ensure that everything operates smoothly and that productivity and profitability are not impacted.
Collaboration tools like Slack, MS Teams, or Jira are there for seamless communication and synchronization. There are time tracking tools and tools to help keep tabs on office equipment and property.
Smart AI-based tools are there to help where social distancing may need to be encouraged. Adopting an LMS facilitates the learning and skill development of employees wherever they work. Cloud storage and security tools enable data privacy and protection from cybercriminals.
Hybrid working is definitely here to stay and technology can help both organizations and their employees embrace this new normal and reap the rewards that it can bring.