The global pandemic which ravaged the world last year transformed how we carried out our businesses. While we can not ignore the negative impacts COVID reflected on most businesses, it also fostered some positive outcomes. The Post-COVID return to the office will see these changes implemented.
For one, the possibility of remote working used to be discussed in hushed tones. The possibility was always there but used for very specific roles or as a last resort pre-COVID. Remote work were job descriptions relegated to virtual assistants and freelancers. But as COVID festered, some companies began to see the need to transform their physical workspaces to hybrid offices.
It was a huge success as employees were keeping safe and working from the comfort of their homes. Employers, on the other hand, were satisfied with the process—as it would mean their operations would continue. And let us not forget fewer expenses and operational costs.
Now with the introduction and administration of COVID vaccines, we can now return to physical offices. But will it be business as usual?
From all indications, remote working is the new normal with employees opting for more flexibility. What does this mean for employers with physical offices?
According to a survey by the American Institute of CPAs, 20% of corporate executives are planning to reduce office space. More so, larger businesses are currently on the move to cut down mounting expenses from rent.
Noticeably, companies situated in major cities across the US—Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York are seeing the need to build and maintain a hybrid office.
This begs the question:
What are Hybrid Offices?
Hybrid offices encompass employers who work in the office with others working remotely. Ordinarily, this would have been impossible to accomplish. But with the aid of the internet and cloud technology, it has become a reality.
A hybrid workplace is a flexible model implemented for workers who would have to work in the office, those who would prefer working from their homes, and those who would visit the premises occasionally to do their jobs.
This often requires remote workers to set up their own ‘home office’ and stack it up with equipment to aid their work. Evidently, this leaves large physical office spaces unattended, the reason why business execs are now opting for smaller, more efficient spaces.
According to a report by Xerox, 50% of businesses the world over now have plans for remote working in their policies this year. Even the World Economic Forum has recommended a 30% occupancy for offices that have reopened. These occurrences are mere indications that in a Post-COVID return to the office hybrid models are the future of work.
How to Implement A Hybrid Model for Your Business
Creating a hybrid workplace for your workforce is now essential, especially in uncertain times. But how do you pull it off?
1. Define Which Employees Remote Working Applies To
First things first: you have to define which workers this is applicable for. There are essential responsibilities that might require some of your workforces to remain on your office premises. The employees in charge of those roles should not be working remotely.
Review your workforce and critically analyze positions that can be done remotely and others that can not.
2. Set Guidelines for Flexibility
In setting up a hybrid workplace, you should set expectations and guidelines for flexibility.
Are your employees going to work remotely for some days and appear at the office? Do you want your HR manager to determine what works best? Will there be virtual or in-person meetings? How many work hours should remote workers put in?
You should put all of this into consideration and draft a detailed set of guidelines for your workers to follow. Your business can then easily implement these guidelines put in place for the Post-COVID return if needed in the future.
3. Determine How Your Remote Workers Will Communicate
The next step to take is to determine how your remote workers will seamlessly communicate from the comfort of their homes.
Would they need to take their office equipment home? Do they have to set up and install a particular software on their remote computers? What software will team members communicate with?
You need to ensure your remote workers are aware of the tools that will be used.
4. Focus on Cybersecurity
According to a statistic, a total of 1001 cyber-attacks occurred in the US last year with over 155 million people affected by data exposure. There is no better time to strengthen the cybersecurity of your business than the present.
Your remote workforce needs to be aware of the safety protocols in place to protect your business from data breaches.
5. Reduce Your Office Space
If most of your workforce would be working remotely, there is no really no point renting large office spaces. You should opt for a smaller, compact space that will sufficiently contain all the equipment and tools your in-house staff will need.
Hybrid offices are the new normal now. You should ditch your large office space and rent a smaller space while ensuring that your remote workers can efficiently carry out their jobs with fewer hitches.
The Post-COVID return to the office will see positive changes for employers and employees. The change in office usage can mean large savings for a business as we discussed in a previous post How to Manage New Post-COVID Business Expenses. Reach out to us today to find out how you can become profitable again or more profitable in a Post-COVID world.
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.