In today's times, adapting to change is key. Thus it only makes sense to consider a hybrid work model to help employees make the best of the current situations.
According to a McKinsey report, since March 2020, nearly 40% of the European workforce has switched to working from home. It was a massive increase since the percentage of remote workers in previous years was no more than 15%. The report also said the COVID-19 pandemic opened the gates for a hybrid work model and made it possible, and became the most popular work model in 2021.
Nowadays, most employees are willing to find a new job if their employer won't offer them a remote work option for at least a part of a work month. That's why many companies have decided to introduce this innovative approach.
However, to ensure that it won't harm the organization's efficiency, an easy start would be choosing the suitable software and tools to enable good communication and information flow across the organization.
In this article, we outline important considerations for business owners and management to enable them to pick the right tools to ensure smooth sailing hybrid work operations.
What is hybrid work?
Hybrid work is a model which includes both working from home and the workplace. There's no official definition of hybrid work. Yet, it's possible to divide it based on the frequency of working from home and office.
It's possible to distinguish four types of hybrid work:
- Office-centric - In this approach, employees spend more time working in the office. Remote work is allowed, but people are encouraged to work in the company's space.
- Remote-centric - It's the opposite of the previous one; employees can spend most of the work-week remote (for example, Monday to Wednesday), and they're encouraged to work from home.
- Balanced - In this model, employees spend the same amount of time working from home and the office. Employers have no preferences about the place of work being remote or in-office.
- Casual - This approach is the most flexible of all; employees can work from home or office and decide when they come to the workplace based on their personal preferences.
Each company can set its own rules about hybrid work. There's no restriction on how many days in a row one can work from home, so every organization can choose the solution that works best for them.
How to implement a hybrid work model
Switching to a new work model needs a lot of planning. Many factors should be considered, like:
- Designing new workflows,
- Taking care of employees' mental health,
- Providing team-building meetings,
- Setting rules and policies of hybrid approach,
- Designating communication channels for different issues and projects,
- Remodeling the project management system,
- Gathering feedback,
- Documenting employees' presence and performance.
Many things need to be appropriately planned so the company's efficiency stays the same or improves after switching to a hybrid work model. Then, once you execute the plan, it's easy to see what tools will be needed to maintain different workflows.
Essential tools for organizing hybrid work in 2022
To ensure that every factor is well covered, it's crucial to choose the right softwares to facilitate hybrid work. In addition, the selected tech stack needs to encompass employee needs and provide tools to make working from different locations smooth and effective.
1. Hot desking tools
Introducing hybrid work to the company means that when some employees work remotely, some office space stays empty. Therefore, organizations often decide to reduce office space. This can help save money and give employees a place to sit and work in the office. But it's necessary to have a tool to help organize in-office shifts and ensure no commotion or chaos occurs.
That's why it's good to have a hot-desking software. The software helps book the desk for the day in the office in advance. Managing the availability of workstations by the dedicated tool ensures immediate information flow. It also minimizes errors that may occur when using spreadsheets. It also prevents a situation when an employee in the office has nowhere to sit.
2. Attendance and absence management tools
Another vital matter is attendance tracking. When employees work remotely, it's hard to tell if they're working. So to make sure they start their shift, it's good to have software that makes attendance management easy, especially for member states of the EU where tracking employees' work hours is mandatory.
Attendance tracking software allows for easy planning of the week and choosing the dates of remote work. When using it, it's easy to provide employees with the necessary information about who will be working from the office on a given day. It also ensures that all the data is valid, and all the new information is automatically added to the company's calendar so everyone can be up to date.
3. Communication tools
It is necessary to make communication as efficient as possible to stay connected, informed, and well-organized. Therefore, choosing the right communication channels for different matters is essential. The selected tool then becomes the equivalent of in-office conversations.
When choosing communication tools, it's essential to focus on software tailored for your business requirements. Also, ensure the selected tools comply with security rules and have the required features to help optimize daily work.
4. Motivation and talent management tools
Setting up cyclical team-building meetings with games and other fun activities will help people feel good in their work community. It will also prevent them from feeling alone. For this you could make scheduling collaborative instead of a nuisance by using an adequate meeting scheduling tool. Or you can use an efficient team-building software that helps with employees' well-being. It is also an excellent help for HR specialists to build a bond with the employees despite the distance.
Apart from a team-building tool, it's also good to provide a platform where people can see their progress and achievements. Work gamification is a trend rising in popularity to make employees more involved, motivated, and goal-oriented.
In addition, making sure everyone feels that they are recognized for their work is key to fostering employee motivation while working remotely. Since things don't happen spontaneously at a distance, finding those moments to recognize good work and employee achievements is more complex. Employee engagement tools, such as Nailted, help you automate these processes, to ensure that no one feels their work goes unnoticed and keep your employees motivated over time.
5. Spend management software
No matter how good your workflows and operations are, in the end, it comes down to how well you manage your finances to grow your business. Therefore, it is essential to track business expenses not just for tax compliance but also to understand your financial health and plan future milestones.
Remote companies need a mechanism to track, verify, process, and store all business expenses that could be coming in from employees scattered across the world. A spend management software automates all of this for everyone - employees, Finance teams, and Admins.
Fyle allows employees to track receipts from daily apps like Slack, G-Suite, and Office 365. Its robust business rules engine checks each entry and records all actions in a detailed digital audit trail to keep your business in a state of constant compliance. Further, Fyle facilitates direct feeds from your chosen corporate credit card provider to give you real-time visibility and control of all card spend.
It also has tight-knit integrations with popular accounting software like NetSuite, QuickBooks, Sage Intacct, and Xero to make spend management a fully automated process.
6. Project management tools
You'd need to provide the right project management tool to help your employees collaborate on projects. Many tech companies usually use one project management software across the board, whether from the office or home.
Project management softwares help control the project, its progress, people responsible for different tasks, and any other changes connected to the projects. It is also an easy way for all stakeholders to know critical takeaways from each project. This makes it a highly convenient way for managers to supervise their subordinate's work. It's also great for maintaining the company's information flow.
7. Visitor management tools
When a company adopts a hybrid work model, keeping track of visitors and employees that enter the office or facility on any given day can become exponentially more difficult. Yet the need remains for many companies to keep accurate records of who is in the building, when they arrived, who they visited, and when they left.
A visitor management system can easily streamline this process in a more formal way than a Slack channel or a paper log book. Guests and employees alike can digitally sign in, and the system keeps track of everyone who enters your building or your office, whether they be customers, delivery persons, job applicants, contractors, or consultants.
A hybrid work organization is a challenge that can bring many benefits if implemented correctly. Choosing the right tools, organizing the office space, and developing new rules and company culture help businesses achieve better results. They also help automate routine tasks and maximize productivity while providing people with adequate time to rest.