The Covid pandemic has changed the way we work and ushered in a new era of hybrid working – but is your business ready and able to offer this mix of on-site, off-site and remote working?
When businesses were forced to close down their physical offices and workspaces, this brought technology to the fore. We’ve seen an increased use of remote working, video technologies and cloud-based business solutions – and people have got used to this ‘working from home’ ethic.
Hybrid working aims to take the best elements of remote working, and to mix these up with the undeniable advantages of working together as an in-person team. If your business is going to embrace this approach then it’s likely that employees will be spending some time in the office, some time at home and some time out and about, or at client’s worksite – but to do this, your company is going to need to provide the right environment for a hybrid approach.
Is your business is ready to embrace hybrid working…
Setting the foundations
Change in work patterns requires innovation from your business, plus the basic requirements of being able to deliver both remote and in-person working.
To prepare for a hybrid approach, your business needs to set the right foundations, plan and keep an open mind.
- Have the necessary cloud infrastructure – if your employees are going to work from home, or while out on the road, you need your key systems to be in the cloud. Old-school applications on an office-based server are just not going to cut it for hybrid working. Cloud-based accounting, project management, and workflow tools give you the flexibility to work from any location, with one ‘point of truth’ in the cloud for all your customer information and business data.
- Have clear systems and processes – when people are working in different locations, at different times, it’s important to have some consistency around how the work is done. To achieve this you need well-defined operational systems, where each task has a pre-agreed process – so the whole team knows when, how and where to carry out their day-to-day work, record notes or raise expenses and bills etc.
- Trust your employees to self-manage – when employees are no longer based in the office five days per week, it becomes more difficult to have management oversight. You need to place more trust in your staffs ability to self-manage and work to a high standard. Increasing trust and reducing micro-management is key to making it work.
- Have performance reporting in place – trusting people to work hard is a given, but you also need to know if the business is remaining productive. Having a form of performance reporting in place is a good idea, so you can review areas like productivity, attendance, targets and revenues generated etc.
- Empower people to get their jobs done – when you can’t all be in the office for a team meeting it can be hard to build team spirit and keep your employees motivated. Having regular Zoom/Microsoft Teams huddles, where you come together to talk through the work for the week, staff can raise any issues they are having, or hurdles that have found. Suggest a distance or in-person social event, dependent on the current climate we are in. People need to be able to let their hair down and enjoy being part of your business family.
Preparing for hybrid working
The companies that fully grasp the hybrid working opportunity will be more flexible, more scalable and ready to react to new challenges and changing environments.
So, there’s real value in forging ahead with this new approach.