As employees continue to work remotely, it’s increasingly important for business leaders to reimagine how and where we get work done. A PWC survey concluded that most executives expect a true hybrid workplace to go into effect during the second quarter of this year. Given the remote work trend that was accelerated by COVID-19, leaders need to quickly determine how to roll out a flexible, hybrid work experience. To help support this effort, here are three best practices to seamlessly transition to a hybrid workforce.
1. Upgrade your communications technology.
Offices designed for the traditional five day work week need to be redesigned to maximize collaboration. This redesign includes an investment in smart technology that can easily adapt to employees working from multiple locations— in addition to reconfiguring conference room setups and leveraging unified communications technology to enable a seamless transition for workers to collaborate with those in and out of the office.
Previously, remote employees were put up on the screen in the conference room and often unintentionally left out of conversations. We need to move away from that. UCaaS can help by enabling collaboration and communication – from voice to video, live to virtual, and instant to mobile messaging. Last year, as Fuze transitioned to working from home, we noticed a significant increase in mobile adoption. Many of our employees found that the fastest way to maintain productivity throughout the day was to shift from their desktop to mobile device -- a trend we expect to continue seeing as businesses adopt hybrid working policies.
2. Lead with a remote-first philosophy.
To date, 83% of employers say their shift to remote work has been successful. And just because some workers will return to the office in the latter half of the year, this doesn’t mean remote workers should be forgotten or given a second-rate experience. Remote workers should remain at the center of the ‘return to work’ and hybrid work plan. Those employees who stay remote more than 50% of the time should be considered at every level of workplace engagement—from daily meetings to cultural activities. Continuing activities such as virtual happy hours and events and offering work from home stipends help increase camaraderie and maintain communication with your entire workforce.
3. Put flexibility at the forefront of your policy.
We’re all learning in real time how to upgrade and adjust to the changing work environment. What we’ve seen is that the office is here to stay, but its role is shifting. While 87% of employees view the office as an important space for collaboration, 61% of those employees expect to only spend half their time working in the office come July. With so many employees continuing to work from different locations, the need to remain flexible is critical.
Those companies looking for a competitive edge when recruiting will also need to develop flexible work policies that allow managers and decision-makers to define and adjust as needed. Ultimately, this supports employees to focus on where, when, and how they can get their best work done.
As the workplace continues to evolve to meet the needs of a workforce with shifting priorities, it’s important for business leaders to find the balance between remote and in office workers. At Fuze, as part of our 2021 plan, we’re reimagining our physical office spaces to ensure that all our regional hubs prioritize spaces for networking and collaboration, moving away from the five day in-office employee design and embracing a future of hybrid work.