A New Era of Hybrid Productivity
In recent years, the workplace concept has undergone a profound transformation, with most UK offices embracing some form of hybrid work model. The ongoing debate surrounding the pros and cons of hybrid, remote, and office-exclusive work continues to be a hot topic for employers and employees. Many employees favour the hybrid working model for its enhanced flexibility, improved work-life balance, and reduced commute times. According to research 77% of Gen Zs and 75% of millennials would consider looking for a new job if their employer asked them to work on-site full-time. Despite several high-profile employers, such as Amazon, Apple, Disney, Starbucks, and JP Morgan voicing their concerns about the productivity of remote workers, Gartner predicts that by the end of the year, 39% of global knowledge workers will work in a hybrid model.
Regardless of how the balance between the office, home, and hybrid working eventually plays out, one thing remains evident: driving both productivity and an enjoyable employee experience is crucial for growth and staff retention. For this reason, making smart tech investments that facilitate collaboration, enhance security, and foster a sense of inclusivity is fundamental to the success of hybrid working. Below, our Head of Modern Workplace explores 4 workplace pillars that are fundamental to a the success of the hybrid working model.
1. The Hybrid Work Model: Boosting Productivity
For a hybrid work model to thrive, it must prioritise productivity, employee satisfaction and security. For this reason, employers are looking to maximise their previous modern workplace investments in collaboration platforms by unlocking the latest productivity and security features. For instance, tools like Teams Phone, an add-on to Microsoft Teams, helps to facilitate seamless communication across locations, enhancing cost-efficiency and fostering ongoing productivity.
For an added layer of safety and data security, Teams Premium provides an additional layer of data protection to hybrid working. It offers a range of features like Sensitivity Labels, Watermarking, and End-To-End Encryption, ensuring that sensitive information is kept safe and secure during collaboration.
The introduction of generative AI tools such as Microsoft Copilot promises to boost secure productivity even further for remote and hybrid workforces. According to McKinsey, generative AI could add trillions of dollars in value to the global economy. By seamlessly integrating AI into information-sharing systems, employees gain the ability to quickly access vital resources, significantly reducing the time traditionally spent searching for documents or awaiting responses from colleagues. This not only fosters self-sufficiency but also upholds a robust sense of connectivity within the organisation.
But before introducing AI-driven productivity tools like Microsoft Co-pilot, companies must implement effective governance and processes for their internal data to safeguard against risks associated with inaccurate information or sensitive information getting into the wrong hands. A readiness assessment can ensure effective governance and data management while preparing both systems and people to fully embrace the transformative potential of AI in the workplace.
2. The Hybrid Work Model: Fostering Connectivity
In a hybrid work environment, seamless connectivity between the office and remote locations is paramount. We’ve grown accustomed to conducting virtual meetings when all participants use the same tools. However, when some of the team is in the office while others dial in remotely, the process becomes less straightforward. and can hinder collaboration.
Smart meeting rooms are therefore an important investment for businesses looking to offer optimised hybrid working. These intelligent spaces integrate hardware and software to create a productive meeting experience for participants, whether they are joining the meeting from the office or remotely.
Using tools, software, enterprise applications, and intelligent speakers to record and take notes during meetings can further enhance the hybrid meeting experience. Effectively linked together, this can create a seamless working environment and eliminate the risk of those staying out of the office falling behind.
3. The Hybrid Work Model: Securing the Hybrid Workplace
Shifting to remote and hybrid working in the cloud, opened up new avenues for data theft. To safeguard staff and data, a comprehensive safety strategy is vital, beginning with employee training. Given that 52% of businesses identify employees as their biggest IT security weakness, ongoing education about emerging risks is crucial.
Effective cyber defence must evolve with the ever-changing landscape. Regular penetration testing, red teaming exercises, and what-if simulations are essential to ensure cyber security strategies remain effective. Regular audits and cyber security assessments are essential to confirm their effectiveness. Organisations must also validate the security of service providers, suppliers, and partners, as supply chain vulnerabilities can lead to significant cyber breaches.
4. The Hybrid Work Model: Culture
One of the great casualties of the shift to a hybrid working model has been workplace culture and the communities among workers. While office culture was arguably due an overhaul pre-pandemic, there are concerns that remote working leaves some staff excluded and missing the key social element of work. Employee well-being and job satisfaction are also more difficult to track in a hybrid team. This is where behavioural analytics tools can play a key role, by analysing behavioural patterns to understand employee activity and help ensure remote working is enjoyable and sustainable for everyone.
When these tools are combined with data sources, such as networks and smart meeting rooms, coupled with device data it provides business leaders with a better understanding of the employee experience. This kind of data intelligence is especially important when it comes to productivity roadblocks caused by poor technology experience. Using advanced software IT teams can not only stop technical issues before they become problems but also better understand what individual users need, leading to consistent improvements.
From here, it’s possible to evaluate the employee experience and understand if anyone does not feel included, and why. In addition to being separated by geography, some social groups are more at risk of becoming isolated than others, and business leaders must take extra steps to ensure that everyone feels invested. Technology plays an essential role in this. Armed with the right tools and data, leaders can take effective steps to include, and help all employees to be productive in the hybrid working model.
Conclusion – The Future of Work
A successful hybrid work model relies on continuous assessment and adjustment. Key factors like security and connectivity are vital, and employee input should guide ongoing improvements. In terms of productivity, AI-driven assistants are poised to free up creativity and innovation by delegating routine tasks to AI helpers. Looking ahead, 5G technology is set to transform the digital workplace once more, offering real-time data and augmented or virtual reality possibilities. This reinforces the hybrid work model’s role in the future of work.
Elton Nitschke, Head of Modern Workplace