Prepare your Business for OOO flexibility – the key to hybrid working
The traditional working model has changed. Even pre-pandemic, many businesses were in discussion about how their working environment needed to change to support the cultural shift towards greater agility. But now as the country begins, tentatively, to ease its way out of pandemic, the switch to a “fully agile operating system” is gaining momentum.
The global pandemic has massively disrupted the UK’s economic model and traditional workplace system. Organisations are questioning the long-held assumption that cities should exist around a central business district, with large inflows of people arriving in the morning and leaving in the evening. But here is the glitch – people thrive on personal relationships and the social interactions that occur in the shared physical office space. While many individuals have been surprised by their effectiveness working from home, many employers and employees alike still want to return to the office.
There seems little likelihood of a full return to “business as usual”. Indeed, such a move would mean missing the opportunity to learn from the advantages and challenges we have experienced over the last year or more. So what is required is to create a flexible, blended environment where both in-office and remote work can harmoniously co-exist.
We need to rethink workplaces so we can easily and frictionlessly adapt to any temporary restrictions and/or potential localised lockdowns in the future. This means embracing flexible furniture solutions, changeable floor layouts and circulation paths. It means private video conferencing spaces and more open and virtually connected collaboration spaces that blur the boundaries between remote staff and their in-office colleagues. Hygiene will also feature, and this means washable fabrics, bleachable surfaces, and less texture. With the increasing likeliness of permanent changes, it is time to evaluate the wide-ranging effects in other areas such as the socio-economic impact, for example, employers will need to ensure all employees have equal opportunities to advance professionally.
Without physical ‘water-cooler conversations’, opportunities for remote workers to pick up information in passing are more limited. So it will become increasingly important for managers and their teams to share appropriate updates or learnings from meetings and projects. Communication systems will need to transform to rise to these new challenges, while also being mindful of information overload.
Next there is the question of the physical infrastructure for remote workers. In-office workers normally receive one to two monitors, desks, ergonomic chairs, desk phones, ability to raid the stationery cupboard etc. Parity in office furniture is paramount, as it allows remote workers to feel as valued and connected with their team resulting in increased retention, engagement and productivity.
The common theme linking further development of hybrid working systems is business communications, both broadband networks and telecoms, in the office and at home. It can be difficult to assess your business needs with regards to remote working. So it makes sense to gain an independent audit of your current broadband, telephony requirements and your longer term needs. This is where we can help. Start the conversation today by calling our High Performance Networks team on 028 9053 8411. We’ll help you develop a solution that’s right for your business and your team.