Preparing for Hybrid Working
To make hybrid working successful, employers must be as open-minded and flexible as possible. The transition to remote working upended our traditional views of the workplace and the purpose it serves. Most organisations have shifted from the conventional view of the workplace as 100% on-site, some organisations are considering 100% remote working. However, many are looking at a ‘Hybrid Model’.
Having an agile approach will be critical to the success of organisations adopting a hybrid approach to working. Leaders must recognise and accept this and implement regular reflection, reviewing performance and getting feedback from employees and managers. When preparing for hybrid working, there are four fundamental principles to keep in mind: Remember, Rebuild, Redefine and Reimagine.
Preparing for Hybrid Working
A thorough reflection on remote working can help you understand which elements you want to retain in your new workplace model and which you want to leave behind. The lessons from how your organisation has performed and what your employees experienced are valuable inputs you can use to design a future workplace model. Discuss which elements of your organisation’s pre-pandemic workplace model need to be embedded. There are likely to be some parts of the ‘old’ workplace model that your organisation and employees would like to continue with.
Remodelling the workplace for your organisation requires consideration of the business strategy, people and culture, compliance and risk, and technology and learning. Understand employee’s sentiment, future business strategy and management expectations. Discuss current challenges and future goals and gather data and insights to co-create the best workplace model.
Reimagine your workplace with collaboration at the centre and in a way that supports different types of work preferences. Once you discover how your people want to use different workplaces and spaces, redesign accordingly.
Organisations have to future-proof their offices, from ensuring adequate spacing between staff to mitigating bottlenecks in high footfall areas, reviewing air conditioning infrastructure and implementing zero-touch technologies. Identify the permanent fixtures of your ‘new normal’ and undertake scenario planning so you are equipped with contingency plans and responses to future disruption.
While strategic management is important to make hybrid working successful, agility will be critical as lessons are learned and hybrid working models are refined. Flexible attitudes will be key, providing trust and room for modifications and amendments as needed. Asking employees for their input into the design of the future workplace is important, as well as being honest about the evolving journey to hybrid working is crucial. A failure to simultaneously understand your employees’ sentiments and adapt your workplace strategy in line with the changing world of work will lead to short-term and long-term consequences. However, acting now will allow you to benefit from the unique opportunity granted by the pandemic, to redesign your workplace in a way that will work for your organisation and employees.