Introducing the new normal: The rise of hybrid working
In the wake of the global pandemic, workplaces around the world have experienced an unprecedented transformation. The traditional 9-to-5 office workday has been challenged by a new model that combines working from home and physical presence in the office: hybrid working. This new normal has proven to be more than a temporary solution; it’s a lasting change that reflects a broader cultural shift towards flexibility and employee-centricity.
Hybrid working isn’t just a benefit for employees seeking a better work-life balance. Companies have also discovered that this model can lead to increased productivity, lower costs and a more satisfied workforce. A Gallup survey found that 54% of American employees prefer to work away from the office at least some days.
But the transition to hybrid working requires a thoughtful approach. Businesses need to rethink everything from work processes to office design to ensure they can support this flexible way of working effectively.
Designing and furnishing the office of the future: Adapting to hybrid working with MyDesk
The offices of the future won’t look like the ones we knew before the pandemic. They need to be designed to support hybrid working, which means they need to be flexible and adaptable. A concept like MyDesk can be the solution where employees don’t have fixed seats, but instead book a workstation as needed.
This approach requires a rethink of office design. Workspaces should be configurable for individual work as well as collaboration. Meeting rooms should be equipped with technology that allows team members to participate virtually, and quiet areas should offer a sanctuary for concentration.
In addition, offices need to be inviting and inspiring, so they motivate employees to come in when they need to. This can include everything from art and plants to ergonomic furniture and great coffee facilities. It’s important that the office feels like a place where employees want to be, not a place they have to be.
The role of technology in hybrid working models
Technology is the backbone of any hybrid working model. Without the right tools and platforms, it can be difficult for employees to collaborate effectively when they’re not physically together. Cloud-based solutions like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 enable teams to share files and work together in real-time, no matter where they are.
Communication technology is also crucial. Video calling platforms like Zoom or Teams have proven to be indispensable for holding meetings and maintaining team spirit. But the technology must also support asynchronous communication so that employees in different time zones or with different working hours can collaborate without being online at the same time.
In addition, technology plays a role in ensuring office space is used efficiently. Booking systems like MyDesk help manage who uses the office when, ensuring resources are used optimally.
Challenges and opportunities of hybrid working: A guide for businesses
Hybrid working comes with its own set of challenges. One of the biggest is ensuring that all employees, regardless of where they work from, feel included and valued. Companies need to be careful not to create an A and B team, where those who are in the office more often get more attention or better opportunities.
Another challenge is maintaining company culture. When employees don’t physically meet every day, it can be harder to build and maintain the relationships and shared understanding that are the foundation of a strong culture. Companies need to find new ways to foster team spirit and culture, perhaps through regular team building activities or virtual coffee meetings.
On the other hand, hybrid working offers many opportunities. Companies can attract talent from a wider geographical area as physical presence is no longer a necessity. And with lower office space requirements, businesses can potentially reduce costs.
To capitalize on these opportunities, businesses need to be proactive. They need to develop clear policies for hybrid working, invest in the necessary technology and ensure managers are trained to manage distributed teams. With the right approach, hybrid working can not only be the new normal, but also an improvement on the old way of working.