What Can You Do to Help Employees Transition to Hybrid Work?


Tech Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for IT pros

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

For employees who've spent most of their working life in traditional environments, hybrid arrangements can be challenging to adapt to.

Article 6 Minutes
What Can You Do to Help Employees Transition to Hybrid Work?
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Hybrid work is a growing trend within organizations worldwide as a result of COVID-19 and the rise of remote working. Most companies understand the benefits of flexible work conditions, and plenty have realized that their employees prefer this way of working.

Despite the appreciation that many employees have for hybrid work and its improvements to workplace culture and morale, it does have its downsides. As hybrid work usually means combining in-office and remote employees, employers need to find the best way to manage both ways of working.

Bringing together office and remote workers is paramount

Firstly, organizations must prepare office spaces to enable meetings that smoothly unite both office and remote workers. This technology is likely to evolve rapidly, so consistent investments to update this technology must be made.

Within hybrid offices, remote and office workers often have differential access to information. For example, data such as internal job opportunities may more easily circulate informally in the office than through any remote means. Similarly, projects within the company must be explicitly communicated via channels that put all workers on equal ground, no matter their location. Managers need to ensure that they use non-ambiguous communication channels available to both sides (emails, teams, hybrid meetings).

This need for consistency means remote work tools are more critical than ever. Luckily for companies stepping into the hybrid work sphere globally, we’re more capable of achieving success in this than ever, with billions of dollars of venture capital funding going into this category of software and tech.

Employees need to be comfortable with new technology and asynchronous communication

Many employees will have been thrown into the deep end and forced to quickly learn how to use new software and technology. However, not everyone is entirely competent in all technologies that enable hybrid working, and further training may be necessary to transition staff successfully.

You can have as many high-end comms tools as you have the budget for, but this investment will be lost on your employees without the correct training. This is why facilitating education is one of the essential roles senior IT DMs must play to help employees transition in a meaningful and beneficial way.

Successful hybrid work requires a tailored approach and skill set. It’s vital to get your entire team comfortable with asynchronous communication - a form of communication that doesn't require immediate responses and synchronous communication, which happens in real-time, such as in-person chats and video conferences.

You need your team to be able to communicate asynchronously so that remote workers are always "in the know”. Instead of immediately running every decision by them, you can send a detailed message that they can review at the time of their choosing.

What are the steps that you can take to help employees transition successfully?

1. Streamline legacy systems

Technology that your employees rely on will influence their whole experience. With many businesses now planning to modernize and invest in IT infrastructure, reviewing and upgrading legacy systems is crucial to encourage productivity and innovative mindsets while simultaneously making your business more agile. Doing so will also help save costs and optimize efficiencies, allowing further investment into new technologies.

2. Taking a cloud-based approach

Cloud technology has been integral to companies surviving the pandemic. Many businesses were already well versed in working in cloud-based spaces, but it’s evolved to become an essential part of the workplace. With data stored in an online server, access to everything employees need to do their job is possible, no matter where they’re based. This provides the best possible user experience as it facilitates an easy transition between office and home, with no reliance on any core location. An example of this would be hosted virtual desktops (HVDs), which allow users to access the desktop environment they usually work from any device with an internet connection.

3. Keep colleagues connected

Communication and collaboration are two elements of office life that remote working struggles to match. However, there are plenty of apps and tools that can help bridge this disparity. It's essential to consider the new hybrid working environment's impact on your communications systems and modernize them accordingly. Many businesses have upgraded to VoIP phone systems in recent years, and this was an excellent move as they’re entirely suited for remote working. It offers all of the functionality of traditional telephony with the perk of providing employees with the flexibility to work anywhere.

Microsoft Teams is an example of one of the most-used collaboration tools since businesses began to work from home, with new features constantly being added to improve user experience. It’s a highly functional tool allowing messages, calls and video conferences with colleagues instantly. It also allows real-time editing and sharing of documents, provides preset slide decks and allows third-party app integration. Tools such as this aren’t one-size-fits-all, so find one that fills your organization’s needs and utilize it to its full extent.

4. Up your cybersecurity

Cybercriminals have taken advantage of the pandemic, leading to increased cyberattacks, with the switch to working from home only adding to businesses' vulnerability. Employees are less diligent about vital security protocols, with networks and personal devices being used in ways they aren’t designed for. User awareness training is essential as your employees are your main line of defense against cybercrime. Educating them on topics such as password best practices, suspicious links and the signs of impersonation attacks can make a world of difference to their confidence and vigilance when it comes to keeping your business and their data secure.

5. Invest, invest, invest

To achieve smooth and productive workflows, you must:

  • Make sure you have up-to-date tools for your employees to utilize.
  • Find a video conferencing solution that's simple to operate and fits your budget, and use it regularly.
  • Project management tools allow transparency within the company. Specific features to look for include in-app commenting, due dates and the ability to assign tasks to particular team members. Investigate these tools to see which fits your needs and workflow.
  • A messaging app makes it easy for your team to communicate quickly, find previous messages without searching through lengthy email threads and leave conversations when they're no longer required to participate.
  • This is why tools like Dropbox and Google Drive are vital to hybrid-remote setups, with document distribution being no longer as simple as handing a member of staff paper from the printer.

Within each of these categories, the market is flooded with solutions. Find one that not only fulfills your company's needs, but also allows you to train up staff quickly for guaranteed success.

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