Challenges emerging with the hybrid remote/in-office experience
The sudden shift to a distributed workforce at the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 created much uncertainty for businesses and organizations of all sizes. However, by the beginning of 2021, it became clear that this experiment of remote work would be a permanent change in many locations. Despite a somewhat frantic start to remote work, a year later, a majority of workers are now embracing the idea of working from home post-pandemic, while many organizations are making this a reality.
Enterprises in a number of industry sectors, including software, information/media, and even insurance, have gradually announced they will offer a permanent remote option to their employees and staff. Some organizations are granting their employees options that include fully remote work or a hybrid (a combination of in-person and remote) option.
Among enterprise firms leading the way with permanent remote options are HubSpot, InfoSys, Google, Atlassian, Nationwide Insurance, and Dropbox. Countless smaller firms have offered their employees similar options. Knowledge workers, such as writers and engineers, are more likely to be working remotely on a permanent basis. In a recent report on the change of the nature of work, Gartner projected that by the end of 2024, 60% of all employees will have the option to work remotely.
But the transition to permanent remote work may not always be smooth. Several common challenges are emerging as companies transition to a hybrid workforce. A recent study on the switch to a hybrid work environment from Canva, the visual communications platform, reveals several top concerns among hybrid employees who will not always be in person in their office, in the areas of:
According to an article in Computer Weekly, the Canva study reveals that “the vast majority of the workforce currently think collaboration between remote and in-office colleagues is a challenge (78%).” The study showed that a majority of the workforce think that in order to transition to a successful hybrid workforce model, organizations will require new and improved technologies for effective virtual collaboration.
Although many organizations did ramp up their digital transformation efforts in 2020 due to the drastic change of work and consumer demand, technology solutions will have to expand to accommodate the hybrid workforce model.
Future of work will rely on digital tools
In order to meet their objectives with a hybrid workforce, organizations will have to prepare by planning and implementing policies, procedures, and tools. While a considerable focus will undoubtedly be productivity, HR leaders also emphasize highlighting the culture of the organization and how it needs to be preserved. A move to hybrid or permanent remote will involve some level of culture change. Introducing high-quality digital tools that provide robust solutions for collaboration, communication, productivity, and security will be a substantial part of a successful move to a culture that fully encompasses a hybrid workforce model.
Expectations of employees have changed dramatically over the last 15 months, and organizations will need to invest in high-quality tools to help provide an optimal employee experience. Today’s workers want the same experience from work tools and devices as they have from their personal devices. Companies will need to provide their employees with highly secure tools and solutions that will protect the organization’s systems and data, as well as the privacy and data of their employees and customers.
An article from CIO.com about improving the employee experience stated that, “In order to offer a good employee experience, the right technology is crucial. Employees need tools to work efficiently and productively anytime, anywhere, and under any circumstances. The pandemic couldn’t have made this any clearer.”
Meanwhile, Gartner recently predicted that in 2021, “PC and tablet shipments will exceed 500 million units for the first time in history – a direct reflection of demand from an increasingly hybrid workforce. Money will also be poured into virtual collaboration tools, the cloud and security processes such as zero-trust network access.”
Digital collaboration for hybrid workplace success
Optimal digital tools for the hybrid worker must be flexible and secure, and will typically include various hardware and other devices, including laptops, PCs, tablets, and additional monitors. Hybrid teams will need versatile and high-quality tools that are suitable for various types of work and collaboration. Organizations will have to set up guidelines and criteria and then select tools that meet them.
In order to create a successful hybrid workforce, digital tools will need to suit both synchronous and asynchronous demands and modes. In addition, organizations must ensure that these collaboration tools become a strong part of the company’s culture so that all team members are involved and no one feels left out, left behind, or deprived of an opportunity.
An optimal digital toolset to achieve collaboration and communication between hybrid teams includes:
- Video conferencing software – HD quality video and audio
- Messaging and chat features
- Corporate branded platforms for document and media sharing and collaborative work
- Project planning and tracking
- Shared calendars and scheduling
Lumicademy’s Platform for Today’s Hybrid Workplace
Lumicademy’s powerful video conferencing platform and next generation collaboration tools meet the demands of today’s hybrid and remote teams, no matter where they are located. The security-focused platform protects data, content, and privacy of all parties.
The platform includes a complete toolset to help hybrid teams effectively communicate and collaborate across various devices, from PCs to tablets and smartphones. Lumicademy also integrates additional communication tools such as Slack and Zapier. Lumicademy’s flexible solution works for one-on-one or group meetings, as well as training, and onboarding sessions.
To learn how Lumicademy can help your organization create a successful hybrid workplace, click here.