For business leaders, now is the time to prepare for the workplace of tomorrow. When the dust settles from 2020 the stark reality is that there will be an irreversible move to hybrid working structures. But what does a hybrid structure really entail? Are we as leaders ready to face into the new challenges; ensuring the right balance for our businesses, and importantly, our people?
A recent IoD (Institute of Directors) survey of approximately 1,000 companies found 74% said they will continue to offer remote or working from home options, with more than 50% saying their organisation intended to reduce their long-term use of physical workspaces. This demonstrates a real commitment to making the hybrid approach the standard.
Other reports show 90% of employees would like to continue with some element of working from home and over 40% of organisations recorded an upturn in productivity from their remote employees.
So, it’s all good, right!?
As we venture into a hybrid model, one of the biggest challenges will be keeping our employees aligned to our employer brand and culture. In fact, the question should really be, does that need to change to realign with the new reality? Most people chose who they want to work for – and more importantly stay with – based on culture, management style and that sense of belonging. Is the previous culture still fit for purpose?
At a team level, how do those which were once co-located maintain and develop their sense of “teamship”? Managers will need to be equipped with the training and tools to keep their teams working as one, so that people can learn informally from each other, see where they slot into the wider team and feel that true sense of belonging. That can be hard to do with people working separately. And, for new team members there is the added complexity of coming in cold to an established team.
The adoption of online communication tools skyrocketed during lockdown, and they have served us well, but they’ll never be able to fully replace physical interactions. The hybrid model needs to consider where and when physical meetups can take place. There were plenty of companies successfully living the hybrid model prior to Coronavirus – they are worth looking at.
All of this also impacts on how we continue to build strong client relationships. How do you keep your propositions personal in a more virtual world when an increasing number of touchpoints are digital? The key will be getting the right blend of online and in-person interactions. Utilising informal meeting spaces inside and outside of offices will allow those physical connections and relationships to grow.
As we plan for 2021, not only do we need a specific strategy for hybrid working, we also need to overlay it’s impact on all aspects of our business to include our organisational structure, our people and their training & development, sales & marketing, client development & retention, our technology, property plans and everything in between.
Simone Lockhart, Taranata Group Commercial Director
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This article first appeared in The Herald Scotland, Business HQ supplement.
The information contained in this article does not constitute business advice and should not be acted on as such. This content is based on our understanding in November 2020. Taranata Group are not liable for the information contained on any third-party websites linked to this article.