Hybrid working is the new norm, especially as the pandemic still rages on with the unequivocal force, compelling a larger chunk of the workforce to work from home. Moving away from traditional business methods, hybrid working has its benefits. However, some dangerous downsides to this work model can’t be ignored. Thus, the impact of hybrid working on the company culture and its sustainability needs careful consideration.
Why try hybrid working?
Successful hybrid working that suits an organization’s culture is based on emerging themes witnessed by companies worldwide.
Companies need to invest in emerging technology to bring digital and physical worlds closer.
Firm strategy on combating a variety of digital threats and employee burnout.
Giving importance to employee experiences for hiring and retaining diversely talented people in the company.
There are three different models under which employees worldwide are working – office, hybrid, or remote.
Benefits of hybrid working
A hybrid work plan can be beneficial to both employees and companies. For one, it is possible to control the influx of employees. The latter is critical during the pandemic or for finding close contact with those who test positive for COVID-19.
Remote hiring has increased manifolds since the onset of the pandemic. In some cases, it can expedite the process and save resources on both ends.
A massive number of remote workers are relocating to their hometowns as they can work remotely from anywhere. In some cases, people travel and work from their destinations.
It has never been easier to change careers. For instance, you do not have to relocate as you can perform tasks from the comfort of your home.
The remote-first approach has yielded higher productivity as employees are happier and unwilling to quit.
Hybrid working – challenges encountered by organizations
Companies often face the following challenges that counterbalance the benefits of hybrid working:
Sustaining productivity at an optimal level. While general statistics prove otherwise, some employees might take advantage.
Keeping the employees engaged. Companies need to aim to boost communication between employees. However, it is essential to e
valuate specific options and their value.
Slowdown in innovation. It might be more challenging to craft new ideas without physically getting together with your team.
Onboarding. First impressions are tricky, and those via a webcam are even trickier. Thus, it becomes more complex to determine whether candidates are good fits.
Understanding the differences between remote-first and remote-friendly
For many modern organizations that depend on digital technology, the default-working mode is remote-first. Team members can be spread across the globe and might never meet one another in person. However, sometimes people confuse remote-first and remote-friendly organizations.
Remote-friendly organizations possess the necessary infrastructure or process to facilitate remote working; however, there’s no way to optimize the same. It is risky as it can culminate into an improperly integrated workforce. Remote workers might feel left out as the work and communication flow are different from their office colleagues.
Tips to make hybrid working successful
Making hybrid working successful means setting up an appropriate infrastructure to facilitate smooth office operations under different scenarios. It even includes establishing the right processes to support remote working like flexible working hours, time tracking, company meetings, etc.
Multiple factors contribute towards successful hybrid working, which includes the following:
Organizations must work towards creating a transparent culture aligned with their business goals. Successful hybrid working thrives on a culture where the visibility of leaders is higher, and they’re empathetic and supportive. Hybrid working succeeds in a supportive and flexible organizational culture.
Hybrid working succeeds in an inclusive and supportive work environment, irrespective of where and when people work. Every organization and the top management must ensure that their employees are set up for professional success. Moreover, any hindrances in the workflow must be resolved without any delay.
Appropriate apps and tools
Appropriate technology tools must support remote working to facilitate smooth communication and collaboration. Employees should share ideas and stories with their colleagues without worrying about their location and time difference. Technology should play the role of an enabler to help organizations transcend time and space limitations.
Tools like a Virtual Private Network (VPN), two-factor authentication, and antivirus facilitate secure and smooth communication in an organization. For instance, if the employees use 2FA for logging in to corporate accounts, it minimizes the risks of someone gaining unauthorized access.
Furthermore, a VPN application enables secure browsing and communication. For instance, all file and information exchanges will be backed by encryption, preventing outsiders from compromising such activities.
VPNs also help reassure security on home networks since employees might not enable the necessary security settings. Thus, these tools are essential for allowing employees to work from anywhere, be it the office, home, or hotel. For instance, say you work in Germany but travel to Spain. To regain access to local and corporate services, employees can connect to servers in Germany. Then, they will work as if they are still back home.
The importance of antivirus need not be reiterated, as it’s one of the most important security applications that any organization needs before adopting a remote-first approach. Antivirus applications safeguard the devices against malware and ransomware attacks and prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing any device logged in to the office network.
Companies need to go to the drawing board and chalk out the process changes required for the new hybrid-working model. The old processes won’t hold in a new environment, and companies will have to create new approaches suiting the changed working conditions of employees.
Hybrid working is the order of the day, and organizations need to look at it as a facilitator rather than a disruptor. Every company must create an appropriate remote-first policy and infrastructure for enabling a productive and highly efficient work culture supporting the hybrid-working model.
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