It is not only the pandemic that pushed workers to demand a hybrid office. They want the flexibility it offers even before the pandemic was announced in March last year. They want to decide where they want to work—at a café in Paris or at their desk in Scottsdale. Don’t frown upon hybrid work. With the right technology, hybrid work is a successful model that offers positive employee experience, productivity gains, and fair business practices.
Traditional vs. Remote vs. Hybrid
There are still some debates on the benefits of working in a traditional office. Depending on the kind of work you do, the traditional setup where employees have face-to-face interactions and communicate via secure VoIP phone service lines is still the kind of work setup that organizations find to be most productive. But the advantages of working remotely or with a hybrid setup also cannot be denied.
Remote work allows employers to hire people from all over the world. It reduces overhead costs and expands the skills that an organization can afford. Between the traditional and remote work setup lies hybrid work. It’s a combination of remote workers and in-person workers. Some employees may choose to work in the office three times a week and two times a week from their homes. Some organizations will also have a blend of purely remote workers and office employees collaborating on projects.
Remote and hybrid work setups give the power of time management to the employees. Organizations will rely on the trust built between them and their workers. But without the proper tools, devices, and software, even the best-managed organizations will succumb to the pitfalls of hybrid work.
Applicant Tracking System
The company’s applicant tracking system will be front and center in the recruitment efforts. Now that you are also hiring remote workers, you need to recalibrate your tracking system so that it can reach and hire workers regardless of the city, state, and country. Consider letting potential hires use the system to upload their resumes and credentials, answer essay questions (if needed), and attend virtual interviews.
This is probably the most important tool any hybrid work setup should have. What are examples of collaborative tools? Cloud storage is one, as well as file-sharing tools, online whiteboards, instant messaging, and document synchronization. These tools should allow employees to work together even if they are far apart. They can share documents, take notes of mistakes, and suggest ideas.
Skype, Zoom, Telegram, Slack… these are just some of the most widely used communication platforms in remote and hybrid work. Employees can create separate rooms and threads within the app so that they can work as a team. They can also share photos, files, and videos. Aside from talking about work, most employees also use these platforms to get to know each other. These are specifically helpful in making remote workers feel that they are a part of the organization.
Even in a traditional workplace, paper-based documents should be a no-no already. One, eliminating paper products helps save the environment. Two, paper-based documents can easily be stolen or photocopied. And three, paper documents take up a huge space which is impractical when commercial real estate is on the rise. With document management tools, workers can send and share files securely. It removes the need for workers to encrypt documents since they’re sending them via emails. Document management tools are safe because the organization can edit, share, and delete the files in the system.
Office Capacity Management Tools
Offices need to take into account the social distancing protocols. Capacity management tools will detect via sensors the number of employees entering and leaving a given space. An employee registration app will also come up with a list of workers planning to go to the office on a particular day and time. Once the maximum capacity is reached, the tool will reject new registrations.
Office Cleaning Applications
The pandemic may not have given birth to hybrid work, but it contributed to this kind of setup becoming more of a norm than a trend. Aside from social distancing and capacity limits, the office should also have office cleaning applications that will alert cleaning staff after a meeting ended, so they can come in and clean it. Robotics and smart technologies will also help in keeping the rooms sanitized. UV light technology will keep the office free from viruses and other airborne toxins.
Businesses need to learn how to pivot and use technology to make hybrid work possible. Only by doing this can they cope with the pandemic and other challenges the industries face. These are not the only technologies that will change the office work environment, but they will certainly pave the way for more.