Duy Huynh, Founder, and CEO of Autonomous Inc leading with technological innovation in work for home products and software solutions.
As the reality of a reopened world materializes, many businesses and their employees are reassessing what the typical work-week will look like. Some offices have decided to go fully-remote, providing employees with flexibility and work-life balance while also saving money otherwise spent on overheads. Some have decided to fully return to on-site work, while others have adopted a hybrid working model, where employees split their time between remote working and onsite working.
Considering 76 percent of employees would rather not return to work onsite, and 56 percent of businesses are considering remote work long-term, the hybrid working model is an ideal compromise that blends the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, however, adjusting to yet another ‘new normal’ can be a challenge, with another set of new work regulations and office schedules causing overwhelm in even the most capable teams. While there is no universal formula or fix-all bandaid to make the shift easier, there are a number of factors that, if considered before implementing the change, will make the transition smoother regardless of business type or structure.
Some businesses embrace hybrid working more easily than others, and it makes sense considering that no two businesses are the same. Many sales-focused businesses, for example, require staff in the office every day of the week, and other types of business, like data management firms, don’t require staff to be in the office all the time. As such, it’s imperative for leaders to take the time analyzing every aspect of their business to see which working arrangements will address their unique needs.
Organizational culture is a key component of this, and leaders should consider how their employees interact and whether they rely on in-person teamwork for their long-term success. If they do, onsite working is likely the better option. For businesses that favor independence and autonomy however, like the majority of businesses across the United States, hybrid working is a viable and smart choice.
In-office organization can often feel like herding cats, where the moment that one aspect of work becomes fully organized, another immediately falls out of line. Unfortunately, home offices come with the same issue, except two-fold because both home and work need to be kept in order. Because of this, it’s vital to ensure all the right tools are supplied so employees can keep both their home and onsite offices tidy and organized. Storage boxes, filing cabinets, in and out trays and pin boards are great ways to reduce physical clutter, and keep files and miscellaneous work items organized and out of the way.
Organization also extends to personal and employee structure. Clear agendas are vital to the success of a business, and employees should be made aware of company expectations to maintain workflow efficiency and business growth. Advice and tools for keeping employees organized will be explored in more detail in the following section.
People and Environment
People are the number one resource in any organization, without them, not a lot gets done. As such, providing clear direction and support to employees during the transition to hybrid work is crucial. One way to do this is by empowering employees to create a dedicated workspace at home, while also creating a useful space for employees to connect and work onsite. For employees to build a productive and functional workspace, encourage them to find a dedicated area within their homes and ensure an adequate budget is allocated so they can purchase necessary items like adjustable desks and ergonomic chairs, as well as decorative items to create a productive atmosphere.
The environment onsite is an equally critical consideration. Think about whether employees need to have a dedicated workspace onsite, or whether a hot desk system will suffice. Additionally, the number of employees able to work in the office at any given time, as well as the specific departments that need to be onsite at the same time to complete their work should be considered, otherwise businesses may encounter the risk of not having enough capacity to host employees as needed. A great way to streamline the management of both employees and facilities is through software like Hybrid from Autonomous.ai, which has capabilities to map out offices, make rooms and desks available for booking, assign desks, optimize space and schedules, as well as set safe capacities to ensure OSHA regulations are followed.
While any transition comes with inherent challenges, preparation is the key to success. As the world moves forward with reopening, business leaders should consider which working arrangements will suit their company and employees best now, then work to pull together the framework for a smooth transition. By thoroughly determining business needs, ensuring aspects like organization and workspaces are covered, as well as ensuring all technological infrastructure is in place, businesses of any size can shift to a hybrid working model with as little disruption as possible.