As the COVID-19 pandemic hit us, the world went into lockdown, and the business sector had to experiment with a whole new work environment. Leading to remote working style and WFH mode became the new normal.
Some organizations’ work just cannot fit in a 100% remote work policy, so the solution was a sort of balance between the two – the ‘hybrid workplace model’. In this frame, employees can perform their tasks from the office, and also work from their homes. This sparked off redesigning of office spaces based on the number of people at the office and capacity of the space, under social distancing policies.
In fact, the future of business seems to be ‘hybrid’ work – combining office and remote work. Many employers seem to be have embraced a hybrid work model for the post-COVID world – with many planning for local employees to come into the office on scheduled days while allowing some individuals to stay entirely ‘remote’.
How can businessleaders and entrepreneurs ensure an equitable, positive experience for all?
- Focus on productivity, not efficiency
Traditionally, employers wanted to have the full workforce present at the office, guaranteeing hours worked, which would maximize efficiency. The hybrid model allows us to redefine our measurement of performance.
Now, with some employees working remotely, it becomes important to clearly depict people directly responsible for different projects, and have an understanding of how much they can realistically achieve in a day. So, the focus for management is – improving productivity, supporting teammates with the resources they need and arranging projects in a clear workflow.
- Reduced operation costs
With a reduced number of employees at the office, employers find that they need less office space. So, a hybrid model lead to savings on rent and reduced office supplies and other overheads.
The hybrid model also means that employees are spending less time and money on commuting. This really proved to be great news for those unable to find affordable accommodation close to the office, in big cities.
- Redefining collaboration
The earlier format of office activities took a new turn. Employees no longer need to be in the same meeting room to brainstorm or collaborate. Now meetings are virtual. Everyone uses some video call software. Companies provide user-friendly intranet systems which highlight targeted announcements, social posts, quick updates and sign-off features that promote synergy amongst scattered employees; and it still gives that feeling of everyone being in the same place and working together!
- Employee prioritization
We’ve experienced virtual meetings, virtual lunches, parties. And now with some people at the office, on measured time frames, we see greater work-life integration with the hybrid work model. Working away from the office demands flexibility and trust from management. Some employers have also supplied employees with portable or customized work fittings like standing desks, orthopaedic furniture to break the monotony and routine at home.
it was clearly seen that 2020 was a difficult and transformative year. But that’s not the end. The effects of the pandemic will be felt for years to come. The past year has proven that many, if not most, office jobs can be done from home – and often, more productively. As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, the business world has an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine itself. But undoubtedly, we must be intentional and equitable with how we choose to rebuild.