Hybrid Work Models Are Here to Stay - How to Make It Work for You
The last 18+ months of the pandemic have completely changed the way companies conduct business. Most businesses had onsite models before COVID-19. Then, work from home models became the norm globally as everyone went into lockdown for security reasons.

It’s apparent that after the work-from-home experience, most offices are not planning to go back to the way things were. Instead, they’ll be settling into a new adjusted mix of the two models.

80% of Canadians that shifted to telecommuting during the pandemic say they would like to continue working from home at least half of the time.

The future looks to be hybrid, a mixture of both in-office and remote work. This means that IT environments have to adjust and adapt. Now that companies are settling into their new version of “normal,” it’s time to be more efficient and effective in how you deploy a hybrid work environment.

Adjusting to a Successful Hybrid Work Environment 

Build a Strong Virtual Community

When your employees are no longer located in the same physical space all the time, it’s important to build a strong virtual community where they can connect, find each other, and collaborate.

This means using a robust team messaging platform or work hub, such as Microsoft Teams. These cloud-based work communities give people a place to “check-in” when they begin work and keep them connected throughout the day.

Some of the ways these platforms help your hybrid team:

  • Provide a way to collaborate on documents in real-time
  • Enable chat, audio, and video calls
  • Make it easy to see if someone is at lunch or away from their desk
  • Keep conversations channeled for organization
  • Can be used on any device 
  • Act as a centralized resource for documents and links
  • Allow companies to easily deploy data security protections

Rely More on Task Management Apps, Less On Daily Meetings

When your entire team is located in the same place, it’s easier to have regular meetings to keep everyone on track. These might include impromptu gatherings in the breakroom, for example.

When your team is spread out in different locations, you want to rely more on task management applications as a way of virtually checking in and keeping everyone on the same page.

The last thing you want to do is have some employees feeling excluded because they’re not in the office and miss out on an important update because it happened in an informal meeting. Using a task management app allows you to keep everyone accountable and informed.

Ensure Employees Receive the Same IT Support Wherever They Are

It is critical to your IT security and employee productivity that you provide consistent IT support to your team no matter where they’re working from. 

With today’s remote technology this is easy to do because IT providers like Data First Solutions can connect virtually to your employees’ devices to provide ongoing maintenance as well as on-demand support.

Treat Employees Equally Whether They’re Full-time Remote, Part-time Remote, or Full-time Office

One thing that you need to be very aware of is to treat your employees equally no matter what their hybrid work schedule looks like.

For example, don’t provide additional training opportunities for your in-office team that you don’t also provide to your remote team.

Even things as simple as celebrating birthdays by purchasing a cake for the team to share in the office can alienate remote workers and make them feel they’re being treated differently. Something a company could do to fix this is to change how birthdays are celebrated, and instead, send a cookie basket and do a video call to commemorate the occasion.

Provide a Structure for Your Hybrid Options

A hybrid working environment can mean a mix of full-time office employees, full-time remote employees, and/or workers that work from home part of the time and the office the rest.

To have a more successful hybrid environment, you should define what your working structures look like and how much flexibility they have. For example, do you allow employees to choose their own hours? Or are they required to work the same hours whether they’re at home or office?

Putting together a clear framework of expectations and policies will help you and your employees adapt more successfully to a hybrid working world.

Get Everyone Together for Team Building from Time to Time

If your hybrid model means that some employees are working from home full-time, then it’s important to maintain your connections and corporate culture by having in-person team-building events from time to time.

Getting everyone together occasionally builds a sense of team and helps everyone feel more connected even if they’re working miles away from each other.

Get Help Putting the Tools in Place to Power a Great Hybrid Environment

The first thing you need for a successful hybrid environment is a great technology foundation. Data First Solutions can help your Toronto area business make the adjustments needed to keep everyone productive, connected, and secure.

Contact us today to book a free assessment. Call 416-412-0576 or book your assessment online.