Enhancing Employee Productivity in Hybrid Offices
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How could businesses reorganize their hybrid office spaces to increase productivity? What will the future workplace — both in the office and at home — look like? We know it won't be the same as it was before the epidemic.
You must follow best practices while returning to work after the COVID epidemic to survive and flourish in the post-pandemic environment.
According to our Hybrid Future Surveys, two-thirds to three-quarters of employers plan to operate mostly on a hybrid schedule after the epidemic is over. Naturally, this only applies to workers who can perform some work from home.
According to surveys conducted during the epidemic, two-thirds (1, 2) of US employees work remotely on occasion, and over half work remotely full-time, making this the vast majority of all workers.
According to poll answers, more big businesses than smaller companies plan to embrace hybrid models. That implies that the vast majority of workers who are able to work remotely will be able to do so.
Several businesses' answers were backed up by public remarks. Following the epidemic, several major corporations declared a permanent hybrid strategy of 2-4 days of remote work.
Citigroup, Ford, Microsoft, Siemens, Salesforce, Target, and many more are among them. Large corporations have chosen to allow the majority of its presently remote workers to work from home on a permanent basis. Insurance company Nationwide, internet behemoth Facebook, and big pharmaceutical Novartis are among the tiny but significant group.
The majority of employees will come to work a couple of days each week to do collaborative activities. They will work on separate chores the remainder of the day, mainly at home or abroad if they so choose.
Depending on various variables, some workers in the hybrid-first model will be completely remote. One is their own tastes. According to a number of studies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) approximately a fifth of all workers desire a permanent and completely remote schedule after the epidemic.
Two-thirds, on the other hand, prefer a blended timetable. Only a tiny percentage of the population chooses full-time office employment.
The desire of an employee to work entirely from home is essential but inadequate. The person must show success in doing their duties, both individually and as part of a collaborative team.
Because they do not need intensive and systematic cooperation with others, certain jobs are well-suited to full-time remote work. Accountants, contact center employees, and other professionals may be on the list.
In other instances, a team may determine that its members will be able to fully collaborate while working remotely. They'll use videoconferencing and collaborative tools to complete integrative assignments.
They'll only come to the workplace for a team-building retreat once or twice a quarter.
A hybrid-first approach with some remote alternatives was chosen by the 12 companies I assisted in creating and executing their plan for returning to the office and their post-pandemic mode of cooperation. Based on these consulting projects and conversations with 61 executives from these businesses about their experiences in these transitions, I've identified recommended practices for changing workplaces below.
Individual work will not be the main purpose of the office in the future, as it was before the epidemic. Instead, the bulk of the workers will use the workplace as a common area for collaboration and team-building events. They will work on their own projects at home, where individuals are more productive.
Some employees will be forced to work alone in the workplace. If you come to perform a collaborative project with a group, though, it will almost never take the whole day. Employees may find working at the office more convenient than working from home.
Alternatively, they may take pauses from their joint efforts to catch up on individual duties.
They may come to the workplace to utilize specialist equipment that they don't have at home, such as business copiers. They may also come in if the city is carrying out noisy work outside their flat. A tiny percentage of people who wish to work full-time in an office environment may opt to do so.
Nonetheless, the office will mainly be used for collaborative tasks. Typical workplaces now devote 80 percent of their area to personal usage and 20 percent to communal space. It's time to make a shift.
You'll also need to modify your workers' home office spaces. Because they spend the majority of their time working for you in that area, it becomes your duty. It's essential to make that environment as conducive to productive, pleasant, and stress-free work as possible.
Reduce the amount of money you spend on real estate
You may save money on real estate and associated in-office services and goods by using a hybrid approach. The fewer often you have employees coming in, the less space you'll need. When choosing what type of hybrid schedule to establish for your employees after the epidemic, keep this in mind.
To catch up and connect, it may be good to visit each other more often. Consider the following, however: Companies for which I provided consulting services devised different scenarios for office space use based on how often their workers came in for work.
They discovered that by having workers come to work three days a week, they may save 20-30% on their expenses compared to before the epidemic. That's a significant savings.
They may save 60-70 percent of their expenses if their workers come in just once a week, which is a far better bargain.
See if you can get your team leaders to come in on a more regular basis. Request that they change their working approach so that they can fit all of their cooperation into one day. Some of the companies with which I worked implemented a 10-hour workday in the workplace once a week.
Meanwhile, they enjoyed shorter days at home for the remainder of the workweek.
Of course, there's no need to push it. Some groups have a real need for more intense cooperation. However, don't overlook the long-term cost savings of working from home rather than the office.
Reimagine your hybrid workplace
Begin modifying your workplace space by anticipating how it will be used. Each team leader should specify how often and on which days of the week they expect workers to come in. Encourage some weekday shifts, especially if there are too many plans on one day and not enough on others.
One method is to have team leaders rate their favorite days of the week on a scale of one to five. Then, using an algorithm, allocate teams to different days such that preference satisfaction is maximized. It will allow you to save money on office space.
Also, poll your employees to see how many of them intend to come in on days when they aren't needed. Remember that some of your workers like to work in groups or have difficult home office arrangements, and they may opt to come in even if the rest of their team remains at home.
Determine your space requirements for large gatherings separately. These may be anything from quarterly getaways to large-scale in-person training sessions. If this isn't possible, you may always hire additional places.
Make preparations to reduce your real estate footprint as a result. Consider renting out a portion of your office space to a coworking space.
As a result, the dangers of having too much or too little room will be reduced. Because some teams will most likely alter their ideas as they adapt to hybrid work, there is a lot of variation.
After that, you'll want to change the arrangement of your workplace. In the hybrid approach, in-office work will be considerably more focused on direct team communication.
It entails collaborating with other team members with whom you can immediately seek clarity or provide advice.
Most individual cubicles and offices should be eliminated. Only use them at any level for team leaders who need private places for sensitive discussions, as well as anybody else who requires such spaces.
In most instances, you'll need to make changes to your office space and equipment to make hot-desking possible. Allow workers to utilize laptops instead of desktops unless your business needs it or there are other compelling reasons.
Upgrade your video equipment in common areas to make meetings more convenient for individuals who will be videoconferencing from their homes.
After all, some members of the team may choose to work from home on a permanent basis. In other instances, videoconferencing will be required for cross-functional teams that do not arrive on the same days.
Four-fifths of the businesses I assisted in returning to the workplace opted to save money on renovations for pandemic preparedness. How? They either required all workers to get vaccinated or only allowed inoculated staff to return to work.
To limit your responsibility to a minimum, follow current OSHA standards for pandemic measures. Nonetheless, the renovation expenditures are primarily aimed at improving employee safety and reducing the danger of COVID-19 spreading.
Given CDC recommendations that allow fully vaccinated individuals to congregate inside, restricting your workplace to immunized employees exclusively can reduce COVID-19 risks and employee concern.
One-fifth of the businesses that opted to let unvaccinated employees in the workplace did so after spending money on extensive renovation and regular cleaning in accordance with OSHA standards. Installing commercial HEPA filters, physical barriers, hygiene stations, and supplying PPE were all part of this approach.
Funding for the Offices of the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister's Office
With the hybrid-first approach, your workers' home offices are now a permanent arrangement for your business. You must guarantee that you are assisting them in avoiding scenarios that far too many people still encounter.
These include, but are not limited to, utilizing their dining table as an office, using 5-year-old computers, and having the most basic internet plan with no backup alternatives.
To solve this issue, you must create a distinct budget for your workers. That means setting aside money for a pleasant and well-equipped home office.
If they don't have a suitable place in their home or feel unable to work successfully without people around them, it may entail paying for their membership at a coworking space.
You could consider giving them with hotspot plans to reduce the danger of internet outages or slowdowns. You may handle possible problems by allocating funds and encouraging workers to adopt different risk-reduction measures from the comfort of their own homes. Keep in mind that their house is now a component of your business.
You share some of the risk management responsibilities, such as risk reduction and backup preparation. Incorporate them into your business continuity and enterprise risk management plans.
Most workers should be able to make the move to a home office with a $3,000 initial investment and a $2,000 yearly maintenance expenditure. Working parents with small children should budget at least $500 per year to cover the costs of parenting while working remotely.
In order for teams to make the transition effectively after a pandemic, the workplace will need to be redesigned. When it comes to working with hybrid teams, employers should understand about and consider their workers' preferences.
This implies that every company strategy should include the need to handle office and home workplaces. As a result, to create a mutually fulfilling workplace reality, leaders should evaluate study findings objectively and utilize insights intelligently.