In response to economies reopening beginning the second half of 2021, businesses in Canada and the world over have started to shift from remote to hybrid work. But because hybrid working is relatively new and has never been done on such a wide scale, there are still no hard-and-fast rules on how to go about it.
Having strict processes wasn't a big concern during the early implementation of hybrid work, as businesses then only wanted to get things done. But because the hybrid work model is expected to stay for good, leaders must start standardizing processes, setting benchmarks, and preparing for the needs of a permanently hybrid workforce.
Like any work model, hybrid work has challenges that evolve over time. In 2022, businesses that implement hybrid work should focus on the following to ensure peak productivity and profitability.
Defining success in the hybrid workplace
The beginning of the year is the perfect time to define and set metrics for success in a hybrid workplace. Every business has unique goals, so your definition of success must stem from what your organization wants to achieve by implementing a hybrid work setup. Some companies will have more traditional measures of success, such as variables relating to annual profit or customer satisfaction. Yet some organizations would consider zero employee turnover as the perfect encapsulation of a job well done.
Re-examine your company vision, values, and culture so you can articulate what success in the hybrid era means for your business. Then, by setting standards that measure your definition of success, you can create a better hybrid work strategy that will allow you to hit your targets.
Distinguishing between flexible and hybrid work
Understanding the difference between flexible work and hybrid work is important for both employees and employers. The two concepts are interrelated, but they are not interchangeable. Hybrid working refers to the practice of splitting time between working in an office and from home or a remote location; flexible working comprises models of work that offer more freedom on when and how employees do their tasks.
A hybrid work environment may not be flexible because it has fixed times for clocking in and out of work. Conversely, a non-remote and non-hybrid work setup may be flexible in that it allows for non-traditional workweeks or even split shifts.
Employers should consider both hybridity and flexibility when they write policies so that employees know exactly what to expect out of their working arrangement. For instance, allowing employees the freedom to choose their days off but being firm on what days they should come to the office allows them better control over balancing their professional responsibilities with their personal lives.
Empowering employees with IT tools, skills, and knowledge
This year, businesses should focus on raising their employee’s tech skills and knowledge. It’s critical more than ever for employees to have a solid understanding of their technological needs, as well as what specific tools are available to them, so that they can leverage IT to improve productivity and collaboration.
What’s more, security will remain a big challenge as long as there are employees who work remotely. So, for hybrid work connections to be both productive and secure, management must ensure that employees understand how information is shared, used, and protected regardless of where they are working. It will definitely be a challenge for businesses to create a hybrid work environment where employee tech-savviness and cybersecurity awareness are a given.
Related article: Here’s how to enhance cybersecurity for remote workers
Addressing work-life imbalance
When employees have work-life balance, they are able to perform better at their jobs. However, implementing policies that promote work-life balance remains one of the most challenging things management has to address in a hybrid work setup.
More than offering flexible times, employers must be deliberate in introducing policies that encourage healthier lifestyles. One of the best ways to do this is by providing opportunities for employees to disconnect from work. For instance, companies can offer incentives such as free classes or gym memberships for employees who take all of their vacation days, thus promoting healthy habits while preventing overworking.
By encouraging healthier lifestyles among its workers, businesses can also demonstrate their commitment to maintaining high standards of service.
Clarifying definitions, setting standards, and utilizing the best technologies are crucial in the age of hybrid work. If you need help in any of these areas, XBASE Technologies has your back. We offer professional services and expert technology support that will empower you to implement a hybrid setup that works. Send us a message today.