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A look at hybrid working


 min read

August 2022

The future workplace

The Hybrid workplace and meeting equity are just two of the phrases that are used to describe the future of work in the post-COVID era. Except, we aren’t quite there yet, are we?

Depending on where you are in the world, you might be enjoying the newfound freedom of returning to the office or you still might be locked up home - Melbourne, Australia is as we speak suffering 253 days in lockdown!

The issue facing most of us is that there are so many interpretations to hybrid working… Is it working in the office with colleagues to collaborate and catch up a couple of times a week, or is working almost entirely remotely and only venturing into the office when necessary?

As for meeting equity, the last 18 months have tipped the balance as we have adapted to seeing our colleagues up close and personal on Zoom, Teams or WebEx. Now moving back into a workplace that isn’t equipped with pan, tilt, zoom cameras or high-quality microphones and speakers means that those who are joining the meeting ‘in-person’ are at a disadvantage to those joining remotely. For others, this phrase describes balancing the experience for users, so it is ubiquitous, regardless of location.

Whatever your perception of hybrid working might be, one thing is certain, it’s here to stay. In a recent Microsoft Work Trend survey 73% of employees said that they wanted remote working to be a permanent option while 67% of people surveyed said they wanted more opportunities for in- person work and collaboration. So, we want the best of both worlds.

Here are our top 3 tips when it comes to hybrid working:

1. Think about what hybrid working means within your organisation

And create a strategy that supports it. Consider how often you want to ask people to come into the office and what you are looking for them to do once they are there. Check in on your employees and understand what they want when it comes to flexible working and ensure that you consider the burn out of ‘back-to-back’ video calls. You could think about running fun activities in the office every week, encourage team members to have time away from their laptop every day or even setting a 45 min limit for meetings so that people have scheduled time in between meetings to grab a snack.

2. Invest in solutions that can maximise output, wherever your teams are working

Microsoft recently reported that 42% of employees say they lack essential office equipment at home with one in 10 stating that they don’t have an adequate internet connection, yet over 46% say their employers does not help them with remote work expenses. Employers need to ensure that their teams can deliver the same levels of productivity, whether they are working from the office or remotely, and this means investing in the home office set up. Web cameras, wireless speakerphones or headsets and additional monitors enhance the user experience and dramatically improve remote working environments. Consider what your remote work technology start-up package could be and ensure that everyone is well equipped to work from wherever they want.

3. Rethink your office space

The days of rows of desks in an open plan office are gone. Organisations need to rethink their office layout in relation to how people will work in the office moving forward. People will need a reason to commute to the office, so make your space compelling enough for people to want to visit. There needs to be more emphasis on break out areas for impromptu meetings and opportunities for people to collaborate. Meeting rooms will also need to be video enabled with solutions that are intuitive and easy to use.

So, what does hybrid working really mean? To us here at Urben, it’s about creating environments that enable people to feel effective wherever and whenever they want to work. It’s about enabling people to focus on the work they do, not the place where they work.