By: Sam Tayan, Head of MENA at Zoom
The world of work is changing. Organizations have traditionally followed one of two work models: in-office, where everyone is in the office every day, or remote, where employees work in off-site locations, such as their homes.
However, recent global events have forced organizations to rethink how and where they work. With recent advances in technology, organizations are considering a hybrid work model in which employees are given a choice to work in the office, remotely, or a mixture of both. In fact, about 70% of organizations in the UAE have adopted the hybrid working model due to the onset of the global pandemic. Supporting both in-office and remote workers will be critical to the success of organizations as they return to the office.
Why is the Hybrid Work Model So Popular?
There are several benefits that a hybrid work model can offer organizations. A hybrid work model gives employees more flexibility as they can work from anywhere, whether that’s in the office, at home, or at the airport before a business trip. Moreover, the hybrid approach allows employees to experience a better work-life balance. Giving employees the ability to choose when (or if) they want to come into the office gives them more time to coordinate their personal lives, reducing their stress, and giving them more time to take care of themselves and their families. On the other hand, this model can also enable employers to recruit the best talent by giving them access to a wider pool of candidates who live outside their state or country.
However, if a hybrid work model isn’t implemented and managed properly, it can create challenges across the organization. These include:
Lack of equity between in-office and remote employees: In-person connection is arguably more powerful than digital connection. Remote employees may feel excluded during virtual meetings if they aren’t given the same opportunities to participate as their in-office counterparts.
Team-building challenges: In the past, organizations have created team cohesion by hosting team-building events such as team dinners or sports outings. However, it may be challenging to build that cohesiveness when work-from-anywhere employees cannot attend in person.
Increased reliance on technology: As your teams become more dispersed, they will increasingly rely on technology to communicate, and if employees aren’t adequately trained on how to use those solutions, it can create significant barriers to effective communication.
Best Practices for Hybrid Work
Organizations and their employees must work together closely to create a compelling hybrid work environment. Here are some of the best practices for organizations looking to implement a hybrid work model:
Maintain constant connection with your teams: Working with dispersed teams requires constant communication and collaboration. It is important to leverage effective solutions such as a workplace messaging application or business phone solution to ensure you can connect effortlessly with your co-workers. Hosting virtual team-building events also helps cement relationships between team members, even if they have never met in person.
Ensure consistency across your workplace solutions: Using a disparate collection of apps and programs makes it difficult for your hybrid workforce to know which solution to use in different situations, creates friction in the user experience, and can be difficult and expensive to manage. Your employees can enjoy a frictionless experience by implementing a unified communications solution where their phone, chat, webinar, and video meeting communications can all be found on the same platform.
Create an infrastructure for organization-wide communication: The ability to reach your hybrid workforce and stakeholders all at once is essential in emergencies or for communicating company news. Leveraging an effective video communications solution that can scale to support large events and meetings makes it easy to host these meetings and issue organization-wide communications in a more personalized and direct way.
Provide solutions that give all employees the same capabilities: With some of your employees in the office and others working remotely, you should provide them with the solutions they need to create an enterprise-grade communications experience, regardless of where they are. By delivering solutions that allow your teams to collaborate digitally, create a distraction-free environment, and have the same capabilities as in-office workers, you can help ensure that your teams are productive and successful, no matter where they choose to work from.
Overall, businesses have seen the potential to operate better than before as hybrid work solutions provide a win-win for businesses and their employees. Organizations that empower talent to be productive from anywhere and provide the secure, safe, and private means to collaborate with confidence will create environments where we can do our best work.