Since the inception of Covid and the workforce’s forced dislocation, we have had to rethink how we work and live in the future. The challenges presented by covid have resulted in businesses conjuring up new company initiatives and embracing new technologies while maintaining employee safety and work productivity levels. As a result, the home office has become our new norm, and our surrender to this new work method will be vital for the future of work and business continuity.
The common sentiment since covid, amongst employees, is that they would like to divide their working week between physical attendance in the workplace and working from home in the future. As a result, people have cut down dramatically on time travelling, commuting to work in the big cities, and no longer have the burden of exorbitant childcare fees and a far better work-life balance. It is clear to see the benefits that this has presented.
Conversely, this has presented a problem for business owners and managers, counterbalancing the workforce’s needs and aspirations with business needs and objectives. With such a dislocated workforce, how can a company control its morale, employee engagement, and culture while managing the hybrid system?
We anticipate a hybrid workplace where there might be core office days each month or week where workers are expected to attend the office to ensure no cultural disconnect within the team. The pandemic has presented a necessity to overcome these challenges and introduce a new way of operating, challenging the uncertainty head-on, and becoming more agile, resilient and collaborative.
Working remotely is not a reinvention of the wheel, and location irrelevancy is the future of work. The methods and tools for remote working have been available for numerous years. For example, video conferencing software and applications have been around for several years. Still, as a centralised workforce, such technologies were not required to communicate internally, so proficiency was not necessary. Now that we must embrace Zoom, Skype and the Microsoft Teams technologies, we see the cost and time benefits of their use for companies.
An inability to maintain supervision of a centralised workforce also raises its trust issues. Whether employees are fully productive, working as they should, taking too many breaks, etc. Weekly group meetings can maintain staff engagement and morale and allow a business to gauge its workforce productivity.
For this new hybrid system to work successfully, any such trust issues will have to be surmounted and new ways of measuring productivity and employee performance. Work from home policies will need to be formulated for the future hybrid workplace, but these policies and agreements will be a wait-and-see approach. From what we can see so far, these trust issues and the embracement of technology have been an overwhelming success, and the argument for this hybrid method of future working has been copper-fastened.