Following the seismic and unprecedented changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to our everyday lives, the emergence of new ways of working can arguably be seen as an inevitable adjustment to an unexpected, yet profound shift in the status quo. The implementation of work from home (WFH) schemes to fight against the spread of the virus was a crash test for the industry to prove its ability to maintain business continuity and exercise its agile and adaptable muscles. Concurrently, let’s not understate the monumental contributions made by employees. They were required to alter their ‘normal’ ways of working almost overnight and managed to overcome, in many cases, lack of designated in-house workspaces, internet connectivity problems, home-schooled children and other home disruptions, the deprivation of interpersonal relationships with colleagues and clients and an immediate rebalancing between their professional and personal lives.
Since the initial shake-up of the first wave in early 2020, the tremendous success of the vaccine rollout has rejuvenated hope and has made the concept of herd immunity visible on the horizon. At the same time, although perhaps less probable, several gloomy predictions foresee the emergence of third waves, the spread of Covid variants immune to vaccinations and further lockdowns in the near future. In turn, this means that it’s high time for business to reflect back on the last one and a half years of operating in a decentralised, remote fashion to point out lessons learnt and to come up with long-term arrangements instituting a dynamic, accessible and synergetic hybrid working environment.
But what considerations should this hybrid environment incorporate? Since numbers never lie, let’s study some key statistics:
It turns out that sending everyone to work from home permanently is not as attractive in practice as it is in theory, even for employees! As the world-renowned Greek philosopher Aristotle once said: "we humans are social creatures." From that perspective, it is no surprise that many employees, who spend the largest proportion of their active days at work, start feeling isolated when the closest interaction they can have with their colleagues and clients is to unmute their microphones and activate their cameras on computer screens. On the other hand, cost savings and increased convenience for employees in terms of transportation are undoubtably concrete justifications for implementing a hybrid solution. Furthermore, cost savings can also be seen from the side of the employer as well: for some, home working has been so successful, they’re considering replacing redundant disaster recovery sites with home working and renting out huge offices at the heart of metropolitan cities in favour of smaller spaces. And if they get it right, they will save millions in the process!
So what is the solution here? Strike a balance!
However, a balanced solution unescapably depends on each individual organisation’s structure, culture and operating model. When the right steps are taken, hybrid working presents the opportunity to attract the best talent, reduce monetary and environmental costs, improve the wellbeing of employees and increase company-wide productivity levels. In contrast, a poorly organised hybrid workspace can demoralise staff, dissatisfy clients, erode your position in the market and downgrade your company’s value and reputation.
So how can TORI help?
TORI can support your organisation to take this bold step into the future ensuring that your people’s performance, clients’ contentment and business operations are not only maintained but are also enriched as a result. We will analyse your operating model to capitalise on your pre-existing strengths while building, from the ground up, capabilities that are crucial in the post-pandemic landscape.
We will be launching our Future of Work Campaign soon which will introduce:
- Our Collaboration Maturity Assessment to understand how collaboration applications drive different behaviours and work preferences, identify savings from repurposing video rooms, and the delivery of a roadmap and action plan required to design and develop a permanent hybrid working capability
- Our Hybrid Working Design services to calculate property savings derived from some percentage of employees working from home permanently. It also calculates the investment required in the office and home working environments aligned to policy and Covid-19 posture. This service delivers a detailed hybrid working design from in-office and remote working user experiences, to vendor selection and process and IT service management design
- Our Employee Experience Design services for an independent review of existing and planned in-office employee experiences, technology and process reviews of systems required for the testing, tracing and tracking of employees and visitors. This service also provides advice and guidance on how to create architectures for participation for continuous consultation and feedback from employees who are integral to the design process