With hybrid working widely agreed to be the future of modern productivity, what advice should businesses be aware of when implementing it?
More and more businesses are looking to adopt hybrid working to become more successful as businesses. Business leaders across the world have been heralding hybrid work as the future of business, and there is plenty of evidence to support the idea that it drives productivity in most businesses that implement with care and consideration. We discussed this with a London-based managed service provider, TechQuarters. As well as providing IT support North London businesses rely on, they have helped a number of clients transition to hybrid working since 2020. We asked them about the advice they recommend, and this is what they said.
- Change Management
Any business looking to implement hybrid working should treat it as a program of change – therefore, they should also be focusing on change management. Planning how hybrid working will be implemented must not be rushed. Change management for hybrid working should take into account every single aspect of the business that will be impacted – this includes, first and foremost, people; but it should also take into account behavior, company policies, office space, and technologies.
- Avoid Rigid Structures
It may be tempting for businesses to instigate a company-wide structure for hybrid working. For example, three days in the office, two days at home, etc. The trouble is that every employee is different – they have different preferences, different productivity cycles, different home environments, different stressors and different motivators. The reason hybrid working has so much potential to drive business success is because it allows businesses to accommodate the needs of every individual – so this must not be overshadowed by the desire to enforce structures for simplicity.
- Prioritise Productivity
The goal of hybrid working is always to maximise productivity, therefore productivity should be closely monitored and prioritised. Businesses should ensure to provide solutions to facilitate productive hybrid work – such as Office 365 solutions. It can also help for businesses to monitor and compare the work efficiencies of employees at home, versus at the office – a common tool for this is the Leesman® index.
- Collect & Analyse Company Data
There are a huge number of data points pertaining to business – or, more specifically, office – performance. They include, for example, how many hours a week are spent in meetings; how much time is spent on specific tasks or workflows; even how quiet the office is on average is a data point that is worth considering when making the transition to hybrid working.
- Open a Dialogue with Staff
Following the collection of quantifiable data, as above, businesses should also be collecting the type of data that cannot be strictly quantified – in other words, one needs to speak to the staff and see how they feel. Every employee is slightly different, and collective every employee’s viewpoint gives businesses the best chance of creating a successful hybrid work environment where everyone’s needs are fulfilled.
- Outcome-based Performance Management
How the company approaches performance management will be one of the biggest changes to happen when implementing hybrid working. Typically, businesses measure inputs, which is easy to do when everyone is in the office. With hybrid working, a more productive way of managing and assessing performance is to focus on output, or the outcomes of individual’s effort.
- Help Leaders Adopt the Change
Another major factor on the success of hybrid working in an organisation will be leaders. Leaders drive change through role modelling, but they may also inhibit change if they struggle to shift their perspectives and/or behaviour. It is natural to expect this, as many leaders have spent years (decades, even) how to perform in office environments. TechQuarters told us that, in their time providing IT support for Estate Agents who were in the process of adopting hybrid work, successful change management was invariably driven by seniors, executives, and department heads, etc.