With the recent easing of restrictions, businesses must now adapt to yet another new normal and think about the return to the office. Hybrid working – where employees work partly on site and partly from home – seems the de facto choice for many companies. But what does that mean from an IT strategy and technology perspective?
If you’ve already read our recent whitepaper on flexible working (which you can download for free here), you’ll know 47 of 50 of the UK’s biggest employers told a BBC survey they would either be encouraging staff to work from home two or three days a week or keeping hybrid working under review.
There’s no doubt that COVID-19 accelerated the steady rise of remote working, but the pandemic hit as climate change was high on the agenda – with many people already keen to minimise car journeys to avoid traffic jams and reduce their carbon footprint.
Now, with some firms having experienced remote working for the first time and learned new lessons, it appears many are planning to reap the rewards of having fewer staff on their premises at any one time while also reintroducing their employees to water cooler conversations (and just in time for Euro 2020, too).
But for hybrid working to be a success in your organisation, having the right IT strategies, policies and tools in place is absolutely essential. Practical considerations necessitate some form of return to the office for many companies, yet it’s not simply a case of reopening the doors and carrying on as you did before; it’s time to review your current environment and ensure it’s fit for purpose.
So what do you need to think about? Let’s look at two key areas…
One of the reasons for hybrid working’s popularity is it helps employers keep their employees safe while conforming with government guidance around social distancing.
Instead of ushering 100% of their workforce back into the office, many businesses are instead scheduling rotas or using booking systems to manage capacity, and hot desking is typically at the centre of these plans. Is your office already set up for hot desking, or do you need to reconfigure the layout?
Another consideration should be your meeting rooms, or more specifically how to make the most of them. After months of Zoom calls and “am I on mute?” frustrations, you can enable your staff to have proper, productive meetings on site – and the right technology could make the experience that much better.
Kitting out a room with professional-quality equipment can make for better, clearer communication between your teams. Designing a smart office or virtual meeting rooms that allow people to book slots is also a sure way to modernise your premises and simplify day to day work in a COVID-safe manner.
The last thing you want is for users to be frantically copying files onto their hard drives while in the office so they can work with them from home later in the week. Today’s employees expect to be able to access what they need immediately, at any time – and it can only help them do a better job.
Security wise, it’s always a good time to upskill your users on how to keep your company data safe. A study of UK home workers found that one in five had received no training on cybersecurity, so the rise of hybrid working arguably necessitates greater investment in this area.
Which brings us neatly onto providing technical support to your employees. If a user is encountering issues, you don’t want them to have to wait until they are next in the office for them to speak to the right department.
Providing the same level of troubleshooting support to your remote workers and your office-based employees will maintain productivity, so now is the ideal time to review your current support provision and consider getting external help if needed.
From HR to device management, there’s so much to think about when it comes to returning to the office or adopting hybrid working.
Our recent whitepaper covers all you need to know, with tips on everything from how to attract new recruits to which notebooks are best suited for use both at home and in the office.
You can download it for free here, or arrange a chat to discuss your own plans and challenges with one of our friendly experts below.
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