For more than a year, media sources have been referring to “The World’s Largest Work-From-Home Experiment” and how it may have permanently changed the concept of how work is done. That is very likely true in a broad sense, but the reports of the demise of “the office as the beating heart of most businesses” are perhaps overblown. The balance that many organizations are facing as we (hopefully) progress toward some sense of normalcy is the belief in the necessity of the physical office as a core of operations countered with the desire by many employees to maintain flexibility in where and how they work. There are benefits and drawbacks of both in-office and fully remote work, so adoption of a flex or hybrid office structure can often prove beneficial.
Preparing to move to a hybrid office model requires planning and adaptability. What are the security requirements and policies companies need to put in place? What type of office infrastructure should businesses put in place to get ready for the future of work? What are the equipment and tools needed to support it? These are important questions to answer, and while there are no “one size fits all” strategies, there are definite steps to be taken that can help you to successfully transition your business to a hybrid office model.
A. Outline a hybrid office policy
Not all employees or positions are always a good fit to work remotely. By putting a policy in place, managers can ensure that employees follow the proper guidelines to make it easier for all involved.
- Clearly define who policies apply to: Identify who can/should work remotely.
- Set expectations and guidelines for when employees can be remote and when they are to be working on-premise: Are you planning to rotate workgroups in the office? What type of meetings are preferred in person? Will individual managers make the decision based on need?
- Communicate how employees will work from home: You need to identify what equipment is necessary to meet obligations. Are staff required to be responsible for company-provided equipment to and from the office, or will there be remote access? What apps will be used?
- Security, security, security: The digital age has made all of us more susceptible to hackers and malicious actors. No security plan is perfect, but some is better than none. Outline those policies and enforce them.
B. Configure the office space to meet your goals
Are you able to modify your existing space? If staff is going to be in person for less time weekly or monthly, perhaps not as much desk space is necessary. Open meeting rooms may be used more frequently, but with fewer staff. If you have had limited experience managing remote teams, allow them to get comfortable with new policies and technologies that enable collaboration and communication.
C. Invest in the right tools and technology to support your team
What are the tools you need in place to allow your team to work remotely, productively, and securely? Do you need to purchase additional computers and devices? Are additional licenses necessary for various software suites, and are they usable everywhere? If you’re using VPN or other remote access protocols, have you made sure that users are able to access successfully prior to expecting log-in? Are additional collaboration, communication, monitoring, and management tools necessary?
Ultimately, defining your policies can help to avoid issues down the road. The process can be daunting, but utilizing a partner who is experienced in the hybrid office can make all the difference in the world. They will know what to look for and the questions to ask to ensure that you develop a complete strategy and will help you deploy those solutions. Contact Wellforce today to get started. The future is hybrid. Wellforce makes hybrid work.