We’ve talked about the future of the workplace being a new, flexible model—one where employees work both in the office and at home, with part-time, contract, flex-schedule and job-sharing arrangements flourishing. But while 78% of employees say they very much want this hybrid model post-pandemic, according to an internal Forbes survey, only 43% of employers have a long-term plan in place for it.
Clearly, it’s time for us to start planning.
As a company that specializes in flexible job arrangements and a diverse talent pool, we at WAHVE know a thing or two about how to set your business up for hybrid-workplace success. There are a range of ways to ensure that your company reaps the benefits of both in-office and remote workers. Here are a few tips:
1. Get in the cloud. When people are in and out of the office and spread out across the country, and in some cases, the globe,having access to critical files and company information becomes tricky. Migrating to the cloud can make it easier for employees to work and collaborate wherever they are by centralizing all work in a universally accessible location. There are many ways to do this, from investing in enterprise software solutions to using specific cloud-based programs such as Google Docs or Sheets. Choose which solutions work best for your business.
2. Support remote workers. In addition to carefully considering and implementing policies for employees working both remotely and in a flexible or hybrid capacity, you’ll also want to be sure your company (and company culture) actively supports these arrangements. What does that mean? It means making sure your workers have the equipment they need to do their jobs outside of the office—from laptops to standing desks, from software licenses to ergonomic desks and chairs. It means being flexible in terms of working hours, maintaining regular contact (especially when workers are virtual), and instilling an atmosphere of trust and respect. Make sure people are recognized for their work and contributions, regardless of where they’re located.
3. Invest in videoconferencing tools and room-booking software. You’ll want to make it easy for anyone in the office to meet with anyone else in or out of the office. Consider investing in top-notch videoconferencing tools as well as online room-booking software to ensure your team members have dedicated private spaces to collaborate.
4. Consider flex desks. Related to the room-booking point, you may want to reconsider your office real estate setup. Flex desks—public desks that employees can book in advance for in-office use—may be able to meet your needs. Be sure to incorporate semi- or fully private small areas, often dubbed call booths or huddle spaces, to facilitate impromptu gatherings of colleagues for brainstorming or casual meetings and consider equipping these spaces with videoconferencing tools to make it easy for these employees to include their remote colleagues.
5. Consider recording all meetings—including ad hoc ones. You don’t want any team member to miss key details that emerged during in-office meetings or impromptu chats. You may want to consider recording meetings—both online and in person—for everyone to reference after the fact.
6. Make your perks flexible. Ensure that your itinerant, part-time, contract and other employees can take advantage of your benefits by offering ones that are flexible and accessible anywhere. This means perks like stipends for meal delivery, online discounts, and digital subscriptions to apps, online learning, wellness programs, magazines and more.
It’s time for us to begin formally planning for a post-pandemic world. What are some of your top tips for ensuring a smooth transition to the hybrid workplace of the future?