The word ‘Flexibility’ took a new meaning in the workplace when COVID-19 happened. While businesses navigated the hurdles of keeping their workers safe, the need for remote work persists. Hybrid work environments became more abundant and continue to be a large part of employers’ offerings moving forward.
Remote work used to be limited to freelancers and virtual assistants. However, it has now become a household model of operation. With the introduction and administration of COVID vaccines, business executives saw an opportunity to swing back into operations with a little bit of restraint. Thus, hybrid offices became a thing.
According to a survey, while 48% of workers desire to work remotely, 54% favor the hybrid work model – where they can share their workdays between the office and home. Global Workplace Analytics attests 82% of American employees want to work from the comfort of their homes at least once weekly.
This raises many concerns – not just for the workers but for senior management of the business. In our previous article, we discussed how delayed office returns could lower expenses for businesses. We also reviewed some of the benefits to consider for remote workers.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to hybrid workspaces. We will explore some of the factors, the balancing needed, and costs to consider in setting up one.
As a business executive, you need to recognize that employee preferences play a significant role in their performance for the business. That is why it is the first to consider when setting up a hybrid work environment.
Consider the following scenario between Workers A and B:
Worker A is an experienced employee who spends a minimum of 90 minutes before getting to work every weekday. While A is married with kids, the home is often deserted during the day as kids and spouses will be off to school and work, respectively. By default, Worker A feels they would be more productive working from home. Thus, A might opt to visit the office a few times weekly.
However, worker B is in an entry role and resides a stone’s throw from the office. B shares an apartment with noisy roommates. B is quite aware that the noise might hinder their production. As such, B would prefer working at the physical office where they can be mentored and perform their tasks seamlessly.
As a business executive, you should identify your workers’ backgrounds and preferences and communicate accordingly to department heads and HR managers.
Another factor you need to consider in setting up a hybrid work environment is how your employees perform their tasks. Before the remote and hybrid work era, the collaboration between different departments was cohesive and smooth. With a hybrid workplace now in the picture, coordination between departments has gotten more complex.
This presents an opportunity to change workflow management in a hybrid work environment. Instead of replicating the lengthy work processes, you should remove redundant practices and procedures.
For instance, the procurement team in any department deals with a lot of paperwork. From vendor management, invoicing, contract approvals to purchase requisitions, employees spend a lot of time reviewing and approving documents.
They should not have to deal with the same practice in a hybrid work setup. You should think about automating some processes to limit errors and save time.
When considering a hybrid model for operations, you should examine the employees across all departments. Due to the nature of their jobs, customer support and IT workers can conduct their jobs remotely. However, other employees in other departments can be shortlisted for remote work.
When only certain workers get to experience remote work, it feels unfair to workers who are left out. This leads to increased burnout, low productivity, and minimal loyalty.
You should consider fairness and inclusivity across the board when implementing hybrid work.
Learning and Development
Before implementing a hybrid work environment, you should examine the possibility of your workers developing themselves. Employees are on the lookout for opportunities to experience growth.
According to a report, 87% of millennials support employee learning and development are essential to them when applying for roles. Thus, you should offer training and online certification courses that make them better or more skilled employees.
Another thing you need to eliminate is proximity bias. It is a situation where only employees close to managers and supervisors get to experience career growth or get access to training.
Remote Workstation Support
While setting up a hybrid work environment, you need to cater to the needs of your remote workers. They need to be productive while working from the comforts of their homes. For that to happen, they need the best work tools.
This means you should consider supporting your employees with ergonomic chairs, internet subscriptions, and the latest software and hardware to conduct their tasks faster and better.
Your staff will have fewer turnovers and weariness if all of these are available. They’ll feel appreciated, which will strengthen their commitment.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed how many employees and employers view work and the importance of physically going into an office. Having multiple options for your employees can improve their productivity, but it can make you as an employer look more attractive to potential talent. A more flexible or hybrid work environment can be good for both the worker and the business owner. Should you have any questions about how your business can adapt, do not hesitate to reach out.
Expense To Profit is a leading expense reduction consultancy firm dedicated to helping businesses lower expenses and boost revenue. Reach out to us to see how we can help your business with iron-clad strategies for expense reduction.
Published by Marc Freedman
Marc currently serves as our Chief Cost Evaluator, expertly advising our client management team on how to help you successfully achieve your business and financial growth goals. A respected mentor to all he consults with, he is an avid collaborator and contributor to the spend consultant community, guiding thought leaders to formulate, design, and install the best operational solutions available to their clients.