Hybrid Working - Where Does Your Organisation Stand?
Every business is now faced with a whole new situation – the return to the office, or partial return in most cases; the approach to which can vary vastly.
Author: James Palmer
When the pandemic hit, there was a desperate need from organisations to ensure that their businesses could remain operational whilst keeping their employees safe. What ensued was an often frantic and poorly thought through remote working arrangements, with a backdrop of uncertainty around just how long it would last and without due consideration given to how it would really work. The focus was on just "keeping the lights on" – which is a phrase that took on a whole new meaning over the past 15 months!
However, regardless of the journey to get to this point, every business is now faced with a whole new situation – the return to the office, or partial return in most cases. The approach to which can vary vastly:
- JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon said in April that the investment bank will require "significantly" less office space in the coming years, needing just 60 seats per 100 people. Similarly, HSBC bosses said at the end of April that they plan to move to a hybrid model of working. Whereas Goldman Sachs has told its UK bankers they need to be making plans to return to the office on 21 June and Barclays boss Jes Staley had insisted that home working is "not sustainable" for large financial institutions.
- Some of the more modern organisations have also taken quite diverse stances on their working models, but with a general trend towards the hybrid model. Google recently told employees they were expected to "live within commuting distance" of offices and that although flexible working would be more common than before, people will still have to come into the office. Twitter have qualified their statement from last year when Jack Dorsey said "Twitter employees can now work from home forever", to add an "if" ... "if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home". Virtually all Silicon Valley tech firms have now said that they are committed to "flexible" or "hybrid" working.
So, how can you build an effective “flexible” or “hybrid” working environment?
You want to make sure remote employees, wherever they may be located, have the same simple, secure and reliable network access they get at work:
You need to allow your staff to connect with your network wherever they are and whenever they need. A flexible working pattern may mean that employees could have changed their working pattern to fit around other commitments; the school run, a round of golf… and will want to log on to work at times unfamiliar to the traditional 9-5. Depending on location policy and face-to-face needs, staff may be in other countries accessing the network in a very different timezone but will want the same level of connectivity.
All employers, if they weren't already and regardless of their shape and size, should be taking extra care in the manner in which they are treating their workers. There is likely to be high levels of anxiety amongst many workers looking to return to office. However, from an effective workforce point of view, the traditional office with its meeting rooms and break out areas, plus the opportunities for both informal and formal interaction still holds an important part of working life. To balance the needs of employer and employee, businesses need to explore all of the tools available to them to ensure that their teams can be effective regardless of location, but also supported and included whatever their location choice might be.
Safe and Secure
When your staff are in the office, you have a duty to ensure they are safe. An employer must not expose their employees to any unreasonable risk of injury to their physical and mental health. This includes risks arising from unsuitable or poorly planned workspaces. This common law extends to remote workers too and covers things such as:
- Musculoskeletal injuries arising out of poorly set up workstations at home.
- Lifting injuries owing to reduced staffing/untrained staff managing the supply of products.
- Anxiety or depression arising out of poorly managed workloads at home, or in the office where managers and mentors may only be in attendance a few days a week.
- Increased risk of exposure to COVID due to poorly managed office environments.
Similarly, you will want to ensure your systems and network is adequately protected from cyber attacks, right up to the edge.
Right Tools for the Job
At Hardware, we have a whole host of tools that will ensure your organization can operate as smoothly as possible through these changing times, regardless of what office model you land on.
Hybrid Office Solutions Available from Hardware
Whether it's a home office, or an enterprise organisation, Hardware have solutions for you. From micro-networks to fully-fledged data centres we have the equipment and expertise to help you specify and implement effective, secure and cost-effective set-ups tailored to your needs.
If you are looking for support please get in touch.
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