The move to hybrid working came out of necessity – but now employees have enjoyed the benefits of working from home and the occasional trip to the office, going back 9 to 5 looks like a pipedream.
A recent Glassdoor survey found that 90% of workers would prefer to work at least some of the week from home after offices fully reopen. 17% of the respondents even said they would quit if required to return to the office 5 days a week.
So let’s look at what leaders need to focus on to retain talent and thrive in this new world.
A new world bringing new opportunities
New ways of working are driving changes in culture new roles, created to navigate the provision of new technologies and manage the complex HR and leadership challenges of hybrid working.
Whether you employ a VP of Future Work, Head of Dynamic Work and Workplace Environment Architect the objective is the same – making hybrid a success.
So what are their challenges?
- Ensuring there’s not an “us” and “them” culture when referring to office and remote workers
- Making sure remote workers have the access to personal and career progression as office-based staff
- Building a cohesive team when it rarely meets face to face
- The need for operational efficiencies
- Working with a reduced real estate footprint and reconfiguring space for hot desking
- Making the shift from allocated to unallocated seating
- Managing a move from company devices to workers’ own IT choices
- Fewer functional silos with HR and IT, working together to improve the employee experience
The CIO is going to be pivotal in driving the new employee experience and implementing new technologies such as sensor technology, desk booking solutions and desk signage. In addition, they will need to create a good cloud infrastructure so staff can access data, apps and documents from anywhere.
How do you create hybrid happiness?
While cultural change is important, on a day-to-day basis employees need the tools to get things done. Their digital experience is central to the whole hybrid working model, and increasingly it’s going to be a mobile-first affair.
In hybrid working, desk allocation is crucial. Technology like desk booking solutions makes allocating seating much easier to manage.
Shared seating will be the way forward because organizations can achieve significant cost savings. In the short term, this could result in a reduced real estate footprint. Over time, if it is combined with flexible work policies, shared seating enables organizations to grow in place and add people without adding space.
Technology will drive more than just seat allocation – it is going to drive connectedness, which is vitally important when teams are distributed and rarely meet in person. Internal communication systems are important for creating a rich meeting experience, and the role of the AV team is critical in creating the optimum (virtual) meeting experience.
For as frictionless a meeting experience as possible, the communication technology is increasingly being integrated with technology such as meeting room booking software and digital signage. Thanks to this integration, when a staff member walks into a Teams or Zoom-enabled meeting room they can start their meeting with just a few taps. Further integrations with Outlook ensure that video conferences can be scheduled across multiple locations with none of the complexity of needing to calculate time zones.
Making a safe space to work
Increasingly, with safety and efficiency in mind organizations are looking to make the employee experience touchless.
For the hybrid worker of today that can take many forms:
Desk signage – this serves two purposes. Thanks to color-coding it is easy for staff to see which desks are available and which are out for cleaning. A simple wave of an RFID card or scan of a QR code enables workers to check in and out of their desks.
Occupancy sensors – the ability to measure space is key to driving effective hybrid working. Thanks to occupancy sensors, organizations can measure in real-time with 100% accuracy exactly how their space is being utilized. Sensosrs are highly cost-effective and can be used short-term for survey purposes.
Digital signage – integrated with the sensor technology, staff can easily find available desks on the digital signage then simply walk up to the desk to check in. Once they leave, they are checked out – it doesn’t get more touchless than that!
Grab the resilient power of cross-function working
McKinsey recently found that companies that encourage cross-functional working are the most resilient in the hybrid world.
In fact, it is imperative that teams such as HR and IT work together to create a welcoming employee experience for new hires. The old culture where IT stifled new employees with well-meaning but restrictive security policies is over.
From a cultural perspective, the most successful organizations are those that have rejected micro management and a focus on inputs, and now focus on outputs regardless of how those outcomes were achieved.
For a practical example, check out this video for an example of a progressive organization using a desk booking solution to encourage cross-functional working while fully utilizing space.
Hybrid is here to stay and it is imperative that organizations act now to retain talent.
Once the dust has settled, organizations need to create an open and transparent culture where staff can thrive and collaborate.
Healthy trends such as cross-functional working enabled by technology will ensure continued success.
Check our resources where we discuss agile technology and the future of work.