There has been a lot of speculation about when we’ll return to “normal,” and, when we do, what that will look like. Values and ideas have shifted a lot. Remote work has become imperative for so many businesses. Experts have predicted that, even when we can, we won’t go back to “the office” as we once knew it.
Others suggest we’re just as eager to ditch the era of home-as-office-and-everything-else. We’re pushing to go back to the office, they think, because we want to keep our homes free for leisure time. We need separate spaces.
It’s left a lot of people asking, “What does the future workplace look like?” In the short-term, it’s likely to be a mix of both remote and on-site work.
Why Hybrid Workforces Will Be the New Norm
For the moment, hybrid workforces will likely be “the norm” for many businesses. There are a few reasons for this. First, social distancing rules will limit the size of the on-site teams. Some businesses may have downsized their space to cut costs. Still others will continue to offer remote work for certain positions or part-time to allow team members to make the most of both environments.
Remote work does have some benefits. When people have more control over their schedule, they tend to be more productive. Cutting out lengthy commutes gives workers more work-life balance, improving their concentration and productivity. Of course, being in the office still has plenty of benefits as well.
Longer-term, it’s likely that remote work will stay for at least two reasons. One, it can be seen as a cost-saving mechanism. You may be able to operate a smaller office or remove office overhead entirely by switching to remote teams. That can save on rent or present the opportunity to rent out portions of a building you own.
The other reason is because of the remote work benefits mentioned above. Being able to work remotely even two days a week saves commute time, allowing team members to wrap up their days early. Split-shifts and other flexible scheduling ideas go hand-in-hand with this.
How to Get Ready for the Hybrid Workplace
The next question most employers have is why they should be thinking about this now. Should you bother putting structures and policies in place to support a hybrid on-site/remote team when the lockdown situation is uncertain?
The answer is yes. If you don’t already have this structure in place, it will be difficult to move to it when restrictions are lifted. Putting it in place now lets you move back and forth between hybrid workplaces and fully remote with more ease. If you’d already done some preparation for this last year, you may want to revisit the structure now.
Policies, procedures, and technology may all need to be reviewed as you prepare for this new workplace arrangement.
Management Styles and Technology
Two areas of concern are your management styles and technology. Some management styles just do not translate to the remote workspace. Likewise, what works remotely may not be the best for on-site teams.
Micromanagement is not productive in either workspace, but it can be tempting. Review your practices and procedures to ensure you’re not encouraging micromanagement of your teams.
Technology can help you manage a hybrid workforce seamlessly. Since everyone is using the same system, you have a central databank of information. You could use this to keep tabs on remote team productivity and individual workers as they move between on-site and remote work. You can also use it to gather general trends, help team members track progress towards goals, and more.
Get the Technology You Need for the Future Workplace
It’s time to start planning for the future workplace, and there’s no better place to start than with your technology. If you aren’t already using an HRIS, get in touch with our team to discover what one could do for your business.