Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, very few people were able to work from home or other remote locations. Once the pandemic started, however, millions of people were forced to work remotely, and companies found that they could still remain very productive in many cases. While most people can now return to working on-site, a large percentage of them do not want to.
A competitive job market has incentivized many companies to be more flexible when it comes to work locations than they may have been in the past. Some businesses are allowing their employees to continue to work from home, and many more are offering a hybrid work model. This is where employees come into the office some days but work from home others. The exact breakdown of when they work from home and when they come to the office will depend on the specific requirements of their job and other factors.
If you want to offer your employees a hybrid work model option, it is important to make sure you have everything in place to ensure it will be a success. Read about the various tools, technologies, and tips that you can follow to ensure your employees not only have the benefit of a hybrid work model but will also remain productive.
Tools to Make Your Hybrid Work Model a Success
Having the right tools in place at your company, and at each individual’s home, is critical for a successful hybrid work model. There are many different ways that a company can set up this type of working arrangement for success. The following are some great tools to consider setting up for your business.
- Laptops Over Desktop PCs – Buying your employees a laptop instead of a PC is a great move for hybrid environments. This will let them continue to work on the same system whether they are in the office or at home. It also allows you to better manage security, productivity, and much more.
- Effective Communication Tools – Communication between teams and employees is a big challenge for hybrid work environments. Setting up communication tools such as Microsoft Teams, WebEx, or any number of other things is important. Make sure employees can communicate via text applications, email, voice, and video conferencing so they can choose the right option for each situation.
- Collaboration Tools – When team members can’t sit down in the same room to collaborate, it can make getting projects done more difficult. Provide them with digital collaboration tools to better coordinate their work. There are dozens of options including things like Monday.com, Trello, and more.
For more ideas to entice employees, peruse our piece on benefits to offer remote workers or eye this article on how best to support them.
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Technologies that Power the Hybrid Work Model
Technology is what really makes a hybrid work model possible, so you will want to make sure that you are investing in the right technologies to make it a success. The following are some of the most important types of technologies
- Cloud Based Applications – Moving to cloud-based applications instead of apps that are housed internally will offer many advantages. This lets your team work together on projects much more effectively since everyone can access the systems from anywhere, they are working from.
- Digital Security – Having employees who work from home can make your digital security strategy much more difficult. Investing in technologies such as VPN services, secured routers, antivirus software, and other related things will help your company to minimize the risk of some type of data breach. Read more about remote workforce security.
- Artificial Intelligence – Using modern AI solutions will help you to fill in many gaps that may be present in a hybrid work environment. For example, you can have AI bots offer first level customer or technical support. You can also use AI to help coordinate meetings, monitor productivity, and much more.
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Tips for Keeping Employees Productive in a Hybrid Work Model
While companies have learned a lot about remote and hybrid work recently, it is still very much a new frontier. Learning about what other companies are doing and following suit is a great way to ensure your company is able to work as effectively as possible. The following are some great tips to help you move in the right direction.
- Learn to Make Virtual Meetings Productive – Meetings are always a challenge, and this is especially true in a hybrid work environment. Training managers and others on how to make virtual meetings more effective and productive is absolutely critical.
- Bring People Together in Person – People often work very different schedules when in a hybrid work environment. Requiring everyone to come into the office once a week, or even once a month, can be very beneficial. As great as the tools for remote work are today, there really is no substitute for in-person interactions.
- Trial and Error – Remember, there is no one size fits all solution for how a hybrid work model should work. Don’t be afraid to try new things and see what works. There is nothing wrong with attempting something and then backing off of it or modifying it if it doesn’t work. With a focus on continuous improvement, your company will be able to successfully navigate the challenging world of hybrid work environments.
It’s important to understand what you can expect with your remote workforce, and if you find it advantageous, you’ll also need to know how to support permanently remote employees.
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Create Your Hybrid Work Environment
Whether your employees are all in the office, all at home, or are already following a hybrid work schedule, it is important to do everything you can to set them up for success. The tools, technologies, and tips listed in this article are a great place to start. Keep in mind, however, that it is not exclusively the responsibility of the company (or the owner) to promote a successful hybrid work environment.
The employees should also be helping to come up with ideas for how things can be improved. They are often the ones that are most directly impacted by moving to a hybrid schedule, and they will know what they need in order to succeed. Talking to employees as individuals, as well as in a group, to get ideas on what they need to be successful in this modern work model will help ensure everyone gets the most out of this that they can.
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