Hybrid workplaces are fast being adopted in the corporate world due to the flexibility it brings to the employees. More than 90% of employers are planning to adopt a hybrid working model for their knowledge workers in 2022. In a hybrid work model, team members have the freedom to choose when and from where they work, which has a significant positive impact on employee satisfaction.
A study by SurveyMonkey revealed that remote workers were feeling happier than their colleagues who worked from the office. Employees worldwide have extended their overwhelming support for the hybrid work model after covid as it allows them to spend more time with their pets and loved ones. According to a survey by Prudential, 68% of American workers now prefer a hybrid workplace model where they are given some flexibility to work outside the office from time to time. In fact, 1 in 3 workers say they would not want to work for a company that required them to return to the office full-time. Employees want to cut down on peak hours traffic and avoid noise and interruptions that are part of the traditional workplace.
There is no doubt that the hybrid workplace technology is reshaping our work environment slowly but surely. Employees have expressed their preference to work from any place where they feel they will be most productive.
Hybrid work is here to stay and companies around the world are tweaking their policies, procedures and infrastructure to accommodate this flexible work culture to stay competitive and attract the best talent. This article tries to capture some of the major trends we’ve been observing recently.
Another trend that is emerging out of the hybrid work model best practices is ‘third space’ or co-working space. Companies usually have their offices in large cities and employees who do not stay near the office may find it difficult to commute to the office daily. Most often, they would have to commute during peak hours to reach the office. At the same time, it is not possible for companies to also have offices in smaller cities to accommodate their employees.
Co-working solves this problem to a great extent. By having a “third space” companies can move closer to employees’ locations and provide employees with the suitable infrastructure and amenities. The third space addresses both company’s and employees’ needs. In terms of market size, coworking spaces is expected to reach a market size of $13.03 billion by 2025 at a compound annual growth rate of 12%
Another trend that is emerging from this hybrid work model best practices is Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM), which is an extension of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). In BYOM, employees use their own personal devices while hosting or attending any meeting. BYOM helps remote employees to attend meetings seamlessly, giving them the much-needed flexibility.
Hybrid work has given way to ‘hot desking’ where office desks are not reserved exclusively for specific employees. Instead, the desk space is rotated between several people who work at different times or on different days. Hot desking allows even small companies with limited space to use their space effectively. Hot-desking has been shown to reduce the costs of running an office by as much as 30% and according to a study by Deloitte, companies trying to save money will drive the demand for hot desking by 45% this year.
Hoteling is similar to hot-desking the difference being workspaces are reserved ahead of time for longer durations of several days, a week, or a month. If a remote team member has to be in the office for some reason for a longer duration, hoteling would be a perfect solution. Companies are investing in ‘hoteling software’ that offer a host of benefits for employees and the companies they work for. Hoteling software makes the reservation process easy for employees and delivers insightful analytics to the facilities manager.
In the wake of the new normal where employees are working remotely for most of the time, companies are transforming their conference halls into collaboration hubs where the team members can access all the latest tools to brainstorm, host client meetings, have project discussions, and work on joint projects.
Employees are looking at new and informal ways to connect with their colleagues who are working from different locations. Various studies have shown that social media in the workplace can actually increase employee engagement. In a study, 54% of employees have said that using social media at work helps them recharge, stay motivated and come up with innovative ideas. This translates to higher productivity, happier customers, and reduced employee turnover.
Since employees are spending more time working from home, it is worth spending some money to set up a home office. Working from the kitchen table or couch is not advised. Companies are providing allowances for their employees to buy ergonomically correct workstations with proper chairs and desks so that they can take care of their health.
In a hybrid workplace, the communication tools used by the organization has a direct impact on employees’ wellbeing. If employees are frustrated over the tools that they are using it could reflect in their work. A study shows that workers who were not happy with the choice of communication tools used by their companies felt twice burned out.
Most of the employees feel their employers are responsible for providing the right tools they need to do their jobs. Companies should invest in specific remote working tools to assist their employees to do their job. Web conferencing plays a major role in connecting remote workers and as of April 2021, 67% of businesses have increased spending on web conferencing software and over half of all businesses surveyed are also increased expenditure on collaboration tools (57%) and remote desktop tools (52%).
For companies, the hybrid model poses a great challenge in bringing together their remote workforce. Using too many tools compounds the problem by creating communication silos. Companies are implementing unified communication tools whereby all the employees can securely collaborate, share documents, jointly discuss and access all the information in one place.
Before the pandemic, most companies’ IT infrastructure was centered around an on-site data center that controlled and managed all in-house employee activities. Remote workers connected via a VPN in order to get through the security perimeter. Post-pandemic, hybrid work model has too many remote workers and it may not be efficient to ask them all to use VPN. So, companies are turning to the cloud, where everyone has the same secure access, irrespective of their location.
Just as the transition from office to home was difficult in 2020 for a vast majority of companies, the transition from home to office is also expected to be tough in 2022. A survey reveals that close to one-third of employees would quit their jobs if they were not given an opportunity to work remotely.
Before making any decisions about hybrid work every company should conduct their own survey to find out what best suits their company and their workforce. Every company is unique; learning from their own experience is much better than going by the general trend. Surveying and implementing what best suits your workforce makes your employees more engaged, satisfied and productive.