'The future we envision for work allows for infinite virtual workspaces that will unlock social and economic opportunities for people, regardless of barriers like physical location. It will take time to get there, and we continue to build toward this.' – Andrew Bosworth, VP Facebook Reality Labs
2020 changed the world of work for good. And there's no going back now.
Indeed, 83 percent of workers would prefer a hybrid working model that allows them to work from home 25 percent of the week. Thankfully, many employers are willing to accommodate this in-person and home office compromise.
But before your organisation can make the permanent shift to hybrid working, you'll first need to prepare your toolkit and workforce.
1. Make the most of Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 allows your business to support both on-site and remote work. Some 365 capabilities that help with this hybrid working environment include:
- Access to applications and files. No matter where your workers are, they can access the cloud-based services in your Microsoft subscription.
- Secure sign-on. Security is a top priority for businesses across industries. Of course, remote work poses its own challenges in this area. Fortunately, your Microsoft 365 stack comes with a plethora of built-in security tools that'll help keep your information (and teams) safe.
- Device management. Control device security, implement security policies and manage app usage from one central cloud portal.
- Cloud scaling and shrinking. Accommodate your growing (or shrinking) remote needs easily and cost-effectively.
- Seamless service. Microsoft 365 boasts an availability rate of 99.99 percent, meaning your hybrid working teams can keep working reliably no matter where they are.
Of course, Microsoft 365's benefits go beyond the technical 'back end' side of things.
With Microsoft's productive suite of tools, you can also strengthen your hybrid working policy with:
- Video conferencing and chat functions. Tools such as Microsoft Teams allow you to maintain close-knit communication while your teams are remote.
- Shared workspaces and document collaboration. The wonders of collaborative software enable your teams to work on projects together, productively, no matter where they're based.
- Automated workflows. Avoid tedious paperwork and streamline your admin, HR or data entry processes with simple Microsoft workflows.
2. Consider office capacity
We realise that it's not safe (or practical) for your business to bring everyone back into the office all at once. In a hybrid working model, you may actually prefer to have the office at reduced capacity anyway.
So, to help remedy this issue, the Chalkline team created a 'Return to Office' Power App. It's a simple, intuitive office booking application that's designed with hybrid work in mind.
Ultimately, this app allows employees to pre-book time slots on a shared calendar. This way, they can see when your office (or offices) have the capacity to accommodate them.
Capacity limits are set by an admin. So, if the headcount is at a limit, the app will reject staff booking requests.
3. Embed hybrid working into your culture
It's clear employees favour a hybrid working model. But, if incorporated ineffectively, these hybrid models can become 'toxic'.
To ensure you foster a hybrid working culture that's beneficial for your company goals, customers, employees and overall wellbeing, you'll need to put the right foundations in place.
This means creating and maintaining a hybrid work culture that includes:
- Hybrid working policies. This involves setting employee expectations, including how often they can work from home each week.
- Technology best practices. What tools and platforms will you use to communicate with your workforces?
- Ongoing training. Ensure you equip your team with the security and software training they need to work safely and productively.
Get a handle on hybrid working
Now that employees have had a taste of home-working bliss, there's no going back to office-only working.
Hybrid working is a brilliant compromise. In the right hands, it offers security, productivity and efficiency when handled correctly.
We hope the three tips we've shared with you go a long way to shaping your hybrid strategy both this year and in the future. And if you need it, we're always happy to lend you some advice.