The onset of the pandemic has revolutionized the way organizations are functioning. With offices sitting empty and households buzzing with the noise of back-to-back meetings and calls, what “normal” looks like has certainly taken a complete turn.
Companies and employees are looking at the start of what could be the new normal for times to come. One that would involve moving towards “hybrid workplaces”.
What is a hybrid workplace?
Even though lockdowns and government restrictions start subsiding, getting people back to work would be a slow process. A recent survey by Gartner has revealed, “41% of employees are more likely to work remotely at least some of the time post-pandemic”.
This means organizations should get ready to adopt a hybrid workplace model in which employees will be given the flexibility to either work from the office or remotely. It could also mean that some part of the workforce works at the office while the rest of the workers work from home.
As working from home becomes the new norm, companies must be prepared for a hybrid workforce model that would juggle between remote work and working from the office post pandemic.
Working in the new normal – Key Considerations and Essentials
While the work environment becomes a “hybrid” of office-centric work moving in close tandem with remote work, the biggest concerns for companies are
- How should we re-engineer our operating models to ensure work gets done?
- How to ensure remote worker productivity?
- How to empower remote workers with the same experiences or better ones than those at the workplace?
- How to optimize the work-allocation and work-execution processes?
- How to improve communication and collaboration between office and remote workers?
A hybrid workplace poses its own set of challenges. How an organization evolves and adapts to this change will decide the success or failure of its ventures.
Below, we highlight a few key considerations and essentials that organizations must focus on in order to function smoothly in the hybrid setup –
1. Communication – Organized communication is the backbone of a hybrid workplace. Allocating work, checking on the progress, deliberating on projects, and much more require continuous communication. Moreover, coordination between various departments is essential for smooth running.
In order to achieve effective communication, leaders need to come up with strategies and adopt digital technologies that can break through the physical barriers as employees work remotely.
2. Culture – Organizations take pride in the culture they have developed over the years. A deep-rooted culture is the foundation of every organization. The question is: “How can an organization reinforce its culture and inculcate a sense of ‘the company cares for you’, especially when employees are working from different locations?”
The answer lies in making small efforts every day to keep the employees engaged in every possible manner. Team leaders should initiate conference calls to not only discuss work-related matters but also to share success stories or just involve the group in recreational activities. Every employee has had a different experience while working remotely, in terms of responsibilities or simply their living situation. Inclusion is necessary to encourage employees to raise their concerns.
3. Fostering innovation – Innovation is a complex process, one that involves intense discussion and collaborative brainstorming to come up with the most creative solutions. It requires human to human connection to deal with conflicting ideas. Employees are able to achieve this effectively in an office setup, but working it out in a hybrid environment requires the right systems in place for proper communication.
4. Information Accessibility With An Efficient Search Tool
Employees need a centralized search tool to access all the information relevant to their role, responsibilities, interests, geographical location, etc. Switching between different applications continuously leads to a drop in productivity. This becomes even more critical If a majority of your workforce is working remotely. Since it’s difficult for remote workers to get direct access to information from colleagues, they’ll be dependent on a search engine to find the needed resources they need to get their work done.
The Need To Adopt Digital
Given that employees shall operate from various locations, be it their home or office, employers need to ensure powerful digital workplace tools are in place for seamless communication and collaboration. These tools build corporate agility and ensure positive employee experience at every stage.
Unlike siloed remote working tools, modern intranets act as a core unified digital platform that provide employees access to relevant information and gives them a sense of belonging. They centralize company-wide knowledge and hence boost productivity by reducing the time spent on finding information from various sources.
Mesh 3.0 is the world’s first AI-powered Autonomous SharePoint Intranet that brings together the best of the Microsoft AI technologies (Office Graph, Azure, LUIS).
Mesh uses modern intranet features to boost internal communication, collaboration, and employee engagement. These include –
- Application integration – Access everyday applications like Office 365, SAP, Workday, ServiceNow etc. on a single user interface.
- Personalization – Personalized content recommendations based on the users’ profile, interactions, teams, interests, etc.
- Smart content repository – AI-enabled solution that creates a smart content repository with auto-tagging, uncluttered information, and powerful auto search.
- Communication and collaboration – Mesh enables top-down and bottom-up communications. Core collaboration and social features like blogs, groups conferencing, project management tools, document sharing tools are available in a unified interface.
- Idea management – SharePoint based idea management tool for employees to collaborate and come up with ideas, solutions to business challenges. Gamification based idea capturing adds to the fun quotient.
- Cognitive enterprise search – A unified search engine with which users can find information across all applications
Mesh empowers organizations to centralize remote working processes and deliver the right content at the right time to the right people.
Hybrid workplaces are here to stay for the foreseeable future and organizations must take necessary measures to mould their strategy according to the new ways of working. Organizations need to expand their vision beyond physical workplaces. Instead of implementing multiple siloed remote working tools, they need to ensure that a single powerful, scalable, and flexible digital workplace platform is implemented to improve internal communication, drive productivity, maximize collaboration and strengthen company culture.
If you’d like to learn more about Mesh, please feel free to get in touch with one of our AI and digital workplace consultants for a personalized demo.