computer users - digital safety (pic by JISC)

When the pandemic took over the UK in March of 2022, many businesses were told to close their office doors and start working remotely.

This system of remote work was kept in place for a good few months, until businesses got permission to open their office doors once again.

While some businesses jumped at the opportunity for office work again, others were more cautious and turned to the hybrid model of work instead.

The hybrid model of work dictates that employees spend part of their time working from the office and the rest of the time they are working from home.

Hybrid working provides people with a good balance as it gives the opportunity to still keep the comforts of remote work, while also getting the social aspect of office life back.

The hybrid model of work has proven to be quite popular among UK businesses, as statistics show that more than half of UK workers would consider quitting if their job axed hybrid working.

This is a powerful statistic, and it demonstrates just how much the business world has changed due to the pandemic.

So, with hybrid working clearly here to stay, it is important to find ways to ensure it is efficient for your business.

Within this article, we will discuss tips and tricks to ensure efficiency with your hybrid workers.

Ensure Everyone Has Access To The Same Resources
One important thing you need to do to make the hybrid work model effective for your business is to ensure everyone has access to the same resources and speedy internet from a choice of services such as xfinity internet and similar.

If your business deals with confidential information, or your employees will need to run software frequently, then it would be good to buy work laptops for your employees.

Often, someone’s personal laptop will not be up to scratch when it comes to running certain software or keeping information confidential, so it would be beneficial for the company to provide laptops that can do the work properly.

It will save a lot of hassle in the long run as you won’t face the problem of slow-running laptops or a potential privacy breach.

Employees will have full access to software or helpful tools when working remotely when working from the office, so you must ensure they have the same access.

Luckily, most tools or helpful software are available online, so you just need to ensure your employees know what tools they can access from home and if they need a certain login to access it.

One helpful tool that is accessible online is this online JPG converter by Adobe, which makes is super simple to convert a JPG to a PDF.

While it may seem obvious that you can access this anywhere, it would still be handy to make a list of helpful online tools, so your employees know what they can use to help them work from home.

It could be that as a business you have paid for a subscription to certain software, so be sure your list has details of all the login details they will need to access particular software and online tools.

Check-In With Your Employees
Checking-in with your employees should really go without saying, but perhaps it is even more important in the age of Covid and the hybrid work lifestyle.

The pandemic has had long-lasting effects on everyone, so it is important that you regularly check-in with your employees and ensure that their mental wellbeing isn’t low.

Of course, the pressures of working can get to people, but if you do not regularly check in with your employees, you may miss something serious.

It could be a good idea to have weekly or monthly meetings that are just about catching up with each other, instead of being work focused.

Additionally, if your team feels comfortable, you could arrange for an in-person get together so everyone can socialise in person instead of behind a computer screen.

Even though hybrid work allows employees to be in the office for some days, you may find that your employees still experience loneliness when they are working from home.

In a working environment, it can be difficult for workers to express their feelings, so perhaps you could set up an anonymous questionnaire or feedback form so your employees can freely express their feelings without potentially being identified.

Once you get the feedback, you can start putting things into place to improve your employee’s experience.

Have Open Lines Of Communication
Good communication is a huge part of what makes hybrid work so successful.

Even when working from a physical office space with co-workers, good communication creates efficient work between employees.

This means that with your hybrid workers you must ensure that there is a clear communication model set out and that everyone sticks to it.

When working remotely, workers have the potential to feel left out or isolated, so having open lines of communication can prevent that from happening.

If everyone knows that communication is open, then they will be less likely to feel distant or isolated from their employees.

Open lines of communication when dealing with hybrid workers means you must have some sort of communication channel that everyone can access from wherever they are.

Thankfully, working in 2022 means that there is such a vast range of communicative apps that can work for businesses.

It would be good to choose a communicative platform that offers instant messaging.

When working remotely, you cannot just go over to someone’s desk and ask a question, so you need a channel that allows you to be direct and ask instant questions.

Additionally, having some sort of instant messaging platform will mean that employees can still have some social life with their co-workers as they can chat with them throughout the day.

Update The Office Space
The final thing you can do to make the hybrid model efficient for your business is to update the office space.

Before the pandemic hit, it is likely your employees were working in the office full-time which means they would have gotten used to the space and may have overlooked some things that needed updating.

Additionally, with employees being there five days a week, it makes it difficult for any refurbishment to be done as there are always people in the space.

Now with hybrid work being introduced, you will likely have a couple of days a week where there is no one working in the office, which gives you the perfect opportunity to refresh the space for your employees.

When updating the office space, one important thing you will still need to consider is covid restrictions.

Simple things like hand sanitiser stations around the office, or free masks available can go a long way in making your employees feel safe when working in the office.

Furthermore, in order for your employees to feel ready for the office life again, you need to ensure that the space is welcoming.

Changes like houseplants and a splash of colour are both good options when it comes to updating the office space and they can make the space feel calming and welcoming.

It could also be a good idea to ask your employees what aspects of the office they would want to change and use that to help guide you through the refurbishment process.

(Image by JISC, creative commons)

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