Local company Merlin Office Equipment shares some insight into how to to adapt your business model to accommodate a flexible working arrangement.
It’s highly unlikely that you haven’t heard the terms “hybrid workplace” and “hybrid office” mentioned at least a few times of late, as it’s one of the greatest effects the coronavirus pandemic is having on the way businesses operate. If you’re interested in finding out more or are considering adopting this type of business model, here are some tips from our team.
What is hybrid working?
Hybrid working is a fancy way of saying that a company’s employees have the option to work flexibly in terms of location. Rather than a 100% remote working model, where staff always work from home, hybrid working combines home working with the more traditional approach.
Alternatively, it could be that some employees always work in your commercial premises whilst others are based at home every day. Either way, it combines the two formats in a way that suits the changing needs of both your business and its people.
What are the benefits of a hybrid workplace?
Many companies that back in 2019 would never have considered hybrid working are now reaping the benefits of allowing greater levels of flexibility, such as:
- Increased productivity – staff can shape their environments to be more conducive to the delivery of exceptional work.
- Higher levels of wellbeing – all kinds of elements contribute to employee happiness, such as being closer to family members and pets, working in quieter surroundings, not having to commute, and the inherent trust demonstrated by a company that allows home working.
- Lower costs – aside from staff saving money on travel, your business will most likely enjoy reduced costs for everything from utilities and staff expenses to stationery and catering supplies.
- The ability to recruit more widely – with hybrid working, there’s no limit to who you can employ, which significantly widens your talent pool and makes your business more competitive.
Use the right technology
The key to effective hybrid working is giving your staff all of the tools they need to remain productive and connected. Chances are you’ll have many of these in place already, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, Office 365, and project management software like Monday.com, Basecamp and Slack.
Hosted desktops (also called virtual desktops) are another fantastic addition to any kind of business, even those that work entirely within their commercial premises. The technology gives each team member access to their usual desktop, files, folders, software, emails and so on, with the difference being that they can use any hardware in any location without having to worry about security breaches. This enables hybrid working as well as the implementing of a Bring Your Own Device policy, which will reduce company costs even further.
By training employees in the best way to use these tools and ensuring everyone has access to the same software suite, you can increase efficiency across the board.
Stay in touch
If there’s one worry that you may still have regarding hybrid working, it’s probably the risk of staff not being in contact with one another. This is a problem that’s very easy to solve, as putting in place communication tools such as video conferencing software and instant messenger systems will keep everyone in the loop.
We suggest checking in with staff who are working remotely as part of a structured schedule. For instance, a bit of digital facetime for Monday morning briefings and Friday afternoon check-ins will help individuals to remain in touch with the wider team.
Perhaps even more crucially, make it clear that employees can contact the management team whenever they need to, plus virtual coffee breaks are an excellent way to stay social even when some staff are working from home.
Upgrade your office
Hybrid working doesn’t mean neglecting your commercial premises – quite the opposite, as staff will take even greater enjoyment from your offices when they’re on site.
Merlin Office Equipment creates positive workplace environments that ensure your staff are comfortable, happy and productive. To find out more about how we can design office layouts that perfectly suit your exact requirements and increase workflow, get in touch on 01482 301000.