The Covid-19 global pandemic has caused many changes to ripple throughout the workplace. Some of these changes have been more challenging than others, and some changes have (with hindsight) been for the better. In fact, a year on from the days when ‘pandemic’ was first murmured throughout the workplace, it is now a brilliant time to reflect and think ahead. It is also a poignant time to ask ourselves, ‘Should we adopt a ‘Hybrid Workplace’? Below we will explore more.
What positive changes have you seen in your business?
The pandemic caused a lot of uncertainty, and times have certainly been testing for many. However, many reported positive changes within the workplace and their general work environment. Many employees and employers were suddenly thrust into the trials and tribulations of homeworking, whilst many also had to juggle home schooling too.
Has home working really been that bad? Many employers have seen an increase in the productivity levels of their team. Employees rose to the challenge and did so commendably, showcasing just how capable teams can be when remote working. It enabled workers to work more flexibly to better suit the needs of their families alongside work commitments. Flexible working patterns come hand-in-hand with a happier, more satisfied workforce.
Remote working has also sparked creativity and problem-solving skills within teams. Many have had to adapt, pivot and find new ways to go about their work. This innovation will prove invaluable as time goes on.
How viable is remote working in the long term?
Many businesses have seen the undeniable proof that their teams can work effectively from a distance. Over the past year, communication tools and business software have proven invaluable and many have felt grateful for how incredible technology can be in enabling us all to work remotely with relative ease.
Whether you use Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet, we have been spoilt for choice. Each business has had to find the software to meet their demands and then equip and upskill their team accordingly. That can often be the hardest part of adapting to remote working, and it’s already been accomplished. Therefore, everything is set up for remote working in the long run.
Office costs have been cut drastically, with some businesses even closing their physical premises for the foreseeable future. This reduction in costs can then be used wisely elsewhere within the business.
With the tools and software in place, and a reduction in costs, it is almost time to consider whether remote working should continue. In fact, could more businesses attempt to adopt a hybrid workplace in future?
The ongoing health and safety concerns
The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination is likely to take some time, and unfortunately the long-term situation is still unclear. A lot of businesses have spent the last several months ensuring that their workplace is Covid secure (which still matters as the vaccine doesn’t guarantee 100% efficacy). The long-term elimination of Covid-19 concerns may never be achieved. In the meantime, a hybrid workplace offers a choice.
Some employees may be vulnerable and may still prefer to work in their own home. Others may have found that they have enjoyed the flexibility of working from home to suit their own individual, or family needs. Some of your team may have found that they’re more productive or driven at home, some less distracted. Whereas others may have really struggled to adapt to remote working and will jump at the chance to be back in the office environment again.
Where does your business stand?
It’s important to take some time to reflect and focus on how your business has found the past year. Consider what positives (and negatives) you can take from the whole experience. Perhaps you’ve discovered that flexible working has suited your team, or that morale is in need of a boost. Maybe you want to combine the two types of working. One thing the pandemic has taught us is that we, as humans, are versatile. Perhaps we can utilise this knowledge to embrace an adaptable approach to working long term.
What are your thoughts on a hybrid workplace? Have you found that certain elements of remote working have gone well? Have certain parts of it not worked well?