Angela Ferguson shares six key considerations to ensure successful Hybrid working for your people.
There have been countless heated discussions and news stories circulating about the importance of workers returning to their CBD offices for a minimum of three days a week. This comes as many business owners are feeling the pressure from local governments and stakeholders to help bring a resurgence back to our city life and also increase workplace productivity levels.
The hybrid work week has and will continue to be a contentious topic, with many experts advocating for the essential need for a communal and collaborative workplace. Adam Ferrier, the Founder of Creative Agency Thinkerbell even went as far as to say that if we continue to work from home, we will “begin to become less human, less conscious and less able.” However, on the other hand, many employers have also reported positive changes to their workplace culture and environment, including now being able to have access to talent from all across the world, whilst enjoying more freedom and autonomy and cutting down on unnecessary time spent commuting and hosting extended meetings.
Regardless of where you sit on the discussion, every employer will at some point in the future need to determine where they stand and how to effectively manage the Hybrid workplace. If that’s you, here are six key considerations to ensure success.
1. Examine culture and sentiment – why do you want people back in the office?
In your workplace, are there genuine, meaningful reasons to bring people back together, such as improved collaboration or team brainstorming? Are you going to see increased connection and engagement by doing so? The current workplace post pandemic is less about ‘command and control’ and more about creating an experience of work that is empowering and authentic for the individual and teams.
2. Keep an eye out – what are your biggest competitors or fellow industry members doing?
Consider, what others are doing and how are they navigating the return to office? What are they offering their people in terms of flexibility and opportunities to design their own hybrid workplace experience. By examining this, you can consider what is attractive to staff and what is most likely to retain them for the long term.
3. Are you willing to curate the experience – what are people getting from being in the office that they aren’t getting from home?
We often look at what is appealing about working from home, but why not flip the switch and see what is most attractive about the office? Is it social connection, networking, access to better or different amenities or facilities? The office should be different from home and offer something extra to people. There are positive aspects to both, how leaders design the experience should take advantage of the combined benefits to create an effective hybrid workplace.
4. Review the working environment – does my workplace support effective hybrid working?
In this return-to-office life, does the workplace still support new behaviours and new ways of hybrid working? What are the acoustics like now that people are undertaking video calls from their desks more than ever before? Are there too many desks in the open plan and not enough quiet spaces? Are more tech-enabled collaboration walls or rooms needed? Legacy (pre-covid) workspace will need to be re-engineered quickly to accommodate new ways of working and ensure the office is somewhere that people can work as efficiently and effectively as they do at home.
5. Leadership and learning – are my staff still learning and growing?
It’s no secret that many young workers are advocating for a return to the office, as there is more opportunity to receive mentoring from their experienced peers. But getting the hybrid blend right will be critical to ensuring that tacit knowledge is shared and that there is the opportunity for everyone across the organization to learn from each other, not just the junior team members. This will ensure you are able establish greater longevity of your teams’ expertise and experience.
6. Wellbeing and Office Ergonomics – how do we blend the WFH experience into a workplace experience?
Working from home has elevated the variety of ergonomic options available, people can freely work in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings at home. In the hybrid workplace, you need to ensure that your staff have the same level of office flexibility to move around to suit their working styles. It is also important to ensure they can access the same benefits of home, such as a well-equipped kitchen, comfortable less formal seating, and access to natural light and fresh air.
At Future X Collective we’ve always believed that people are the product of their environment … it has been our experience for more than 20 years of strategizing and designing workplaces that the better environment you create for people – then the better their experience of work is, and in turn the happier and healthier they are. The simple tips we have provided can go a long way towards supporting a staff’s expectation in a hybrid workplace.
To learn more about how we can help you create a supportive environment for your people, contact one of our workplace strategy experts today.