Home Business Flexible is the way forward: Why the future of work is ‘hybrid’

Flexible is the way forward: Why the future of work is ‘hybrid’

by jcp

By: Nick Nooren, Head of Proteus Marketplace

Companies are battling to strike a balance between working remote and office-based. Settling into the rhythm of the remote means business now must look to a post-pandemic future and what success will look like.

All office practicalities have been trumped over the past 18 months. Kitchens became meeting rooms, and bedrooms became office spaces. With so many workers now appreciating the flexibility remote working provides, the dispersed workforce needs addressing.

Many businesses were playing catchup due to not having the assets in place for a collaborative remote workforce to thrive. This is a call to action to review approaches on both an individual level and across teams to achieve the success needed for a prosperous future.

Staying connected

A hybrid workplace consists of the freedom of movement between different spaces, be it at home, or elsewhere. We have had to fast-track strategic initiatives around infrastructure and resources to adapt to remote needs overnight. This is now being re-imagined and traditional structures are no longer cutting it.

Times are changing and needs are different. Not only are traditional office structures shifting, but personal and home lives mean the employee experience in and out of the office must meet a certain standard.

How do we sustain a workplace culture with the right level of engagement and productivity when not everyone is in the same place simultaneously?

A recipe for success 

Deploying a permanent mix of remote and in-office work means businesses have to re-evaluate their strategy. Aligning on a high-level vision of what this will look like and the facilities that will drive this roadmap to success will be essential to sustaining the progress of productivity achieved over the last 18 months to meet hybrid needs.

Leaders will need to address digital access, burnout, physical space and keeping teams together. So, how do we sustain these pockets of engagement so that coaching, mentorship, idea sharing, and coworking can flourish? Making the micro-connections count will have a significant impact in building an enriched and successful hybrid working environment.

Developing the necessary spaces for these to take place is essential. Here is where technology comes into play.

Productivity tools

Measuring the effectiveness of existing systems in place will be key as hybrid strategies are agreed upon. Revising these and upgrading productivity tools for all aspects of the company from people and systems, to equipment, will drive long-term, sustainable innovation.

A key aspect of making hybrid work productive is finding a compromise between individual work styles and team needs. Make the strategies you implement as inclusive and intentional as possible. Utilising the real-time information at your fingertips to gain performance oversight, enabling cost and risk control impact on knowledge transfer, and ultimately, productivity will be a gamechanger for businesses.

Collaborating via the cloud

A considered approach to hybrid work will be critical for attracting and retaining talent. Innovative solutions such as a cloud-based platform can empower employees. Collaboration between teams can be optimised to drive learning development, thus bridging the gap between physical and digital.

It will be essential for businesses to demonstrate they are at the cutting edge of technology and a leader in adopting digital systems to reap the benefits of a hybrid workforce. Attention to digital will be essential in attracting and retaining talent in the new world of work.

The responsibility for success will fall to the modern technology systems in place. These will act as the glue between home and the office, a collaborative channel that will be key to remaining competitive in an increasingly challenging market. The office will have to be redesigned to mitigate permanently dispersed teams and a modern technology stack will be what will get teams there.

Automating from anywhere

Measuring impact must be inclusive of collaboration, learning, and wellbeing for people and teams to grow. From leaders to new joiners, both on and off-site, the entire workforce will benefit from having modern, easy-to-use software in place.

Work management automation optimises operations through data capture, storage and utilisation. The result? End-to-end visibility of a business as data is turned into information, allowing companies to make evidence-based decisions to learn, adapt and overcome.

There are numerous benefits of employing work management automation tools to optimise business processes and bring teams together, even if they are working remotely globally. Technology was integral to keeping the world running and will continue to shape who stands head and shoulder above the rest.

The future is hybrid

Hybrid has the potential to further disrupt operations as we switch from a temporary fix to a permanent approach. Flexible work is here to stay, and the talent landscape has shifted. People have become more siloed this year, so the challenge is to keep teams connected.

Striking the right balance between physical and digital will be paramount. Gone are the days of rigid social and physical structures that many companies believed were essential to a productive work environment. Maximising the opportunities presented by the cloud and work management automation tools can streamline operations and offer the necessary visibility to make improvements and keep a workforce engaged, productive and committed.

The past 18 months tested businesses, with many facing their first period of uncertainty. Many businesses held back on significant investments that would upgrade their business, including the technology that would support a digital transformation. As economies reopen and the future of work is on everybody’s minds, the time is now for companies to adapt, or they face being left behind.

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