Ever since employees were forced to work from home during the pandemic, business leaders have been left to ponder over pivoting to a hybrid workplace.

According to the World Economic Forum, employees feel hybrid working will provide them with a better “work-life balance, greater schedule control and less stress.”

A distributed workforce makes sense for some companies. There are cost savings for both employees and employers and a flexible schedule is a bonus for employees with young families.

However, a hybrid working model throws up more problems than benefits. Collaboration and productivity can be disrupted, adapting to hybrid schedules and workloads are taxing and managing a distributed workforce is challenging.

A study performed by Grant Thornton paints a real-life picture. Researchers tracked 300 SMEs, 88% of which adopted hybrid working during the pandemic. Only 64% said it was working well.

The follow-up after Covid restrictions were lifted, revealed that only 51% of the 88% continued working hybrid. The 13% that backtracked said things had “gone downhill”.

So if you are thinking of pivoting to a hybrid work model, here are a few tips to increase your chances of getting it right. After all, more than half the companies that were forced into working from home have made the hybrid model a success.

Develop an Online Company Culture

Team managers need to find effective ways of communicating with remote workers whilst still bringing teams together. Some of the most effective strategies have been to develop an online culture by keeping teammates connected through messenger apps and organising virtual get-togethers; quizzes, games, and morning meetings.

Whilst some people may feel that virtual meetings are not productive, encouraging your teams to take 17-minute breaks every 52 minutes makes them more productive.

Communication Technology in Hybrid Workplaces

Successful hybrid models leverage cloud technologies. The latest cloud tools such as Microsoft 365 give employees the opportunity to communicate and collaborate from remote locations.

Cloud storage facilities can be accessed from any location on any device. This gives remote workers the flexibility and the autonomy they crave to work to their own schedule.

Multiple people can also work on the same document in real-time or host presentations from remote locations through screen-sharingProductivity suites offer a raft of advanced features that aid collaboration.

Implement Security Solutions

Remote working can potentially increase the risk of a data breach. However, there are effective strategies IT security teams can embrace to significantly lower the risk.

Endpoint security solutions and virtual desktops add extra layers of security to your business network. These tools prevent unauthorised devices from accessing your system in real time whilst still providing employees with a secure environment to get on with their job.

It’s also a good idea to provide your employees with reputable anti-virus software and invest in patch management services. This ensures that security patches released by tech companies are updated across all devices on your network.

Finally, provide your staff with cybersecurity awareness training. If people know where threats come from and how to identify them, there is far less risk of downloading malicious malware.

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