The world has changed in ways many of us never tought possible before March of 2020. For many businesses, the pandemic raised big questions about when, where, and how to work. With very little time to spare, businesses had to deal with evolving their operations to accommodate work from home.
As the world continues to change, one thing is very clear: traditional workplaces will become the exception. Employees have adopted online conferencing for effective collaboration and organisation. Communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams and organisational tools such as Connectwise have allowed many businesses to adapt to restrictions and changing workforce expectations.
Big companies such as Canva or the Spanish fashion design Desigual are adapting to a flexible work system that facilitates mobility. In fact some companies such as WordPress have been operating on a fully distributed model for over a decade.
However with this new flexibility comes concerns. A big question looming over small businesses is ‘how do we maintain culture and keep our employees connected?’
How to balance flexibility and connection?
According to a study carried out by the Mc Kinsey company, “between 20 and 25 percent of the workforce in advanced economies could work from home between three and five days a week. This represents four to five times more remote work than before the pandemic. The experience of the pandemic and 100% remote work has shown that productivity does not have to be affected. When being surveyed by their companies, many employees opt for a hybrid model that allows them to be able to work from home but also be able to be present in the offices. This translates into flexible work that allows the worker’s personal life to be reconciled while maintaining the social bond and synergies with their co-workers.”
Brisbane marketing agency Liquid Interactive implemented such a strategy to great success, as outlined in Dave’s post. The office became optional, and employees were able to choose their workplace based on what they needed to get done and how they wanted to do it. What’s more, they’re keeping this model indefinitely because it’s working so well.
Flexibility: ensuring flexibility for your team to work in the way that they feel most productive, whether that’s predominantly at home, in an office, or a mix of both.
Connection: offer your employees all necessary tools and technology so that they can have the flexibility they are looking for. Empowering them to collaborate while having the space to connect.
Building your business with a hybrid work environment
Switching to a hybrid working model requires effort. Here are some tips to make your adaptation easier:
1. Provide a safe and productive environment
It is important your staff can work just as easily whether online or in person. The most important factor here are the tools you use to organise your team, or, if you’re a small business who has not previously used an office management tool like Monday.com or Connectwise. Make sure that your employees can access a good connection when they work from home. It’s also important to offer quality equipment such as microphones, headphones, and webcams.
2. Maintain group activity
Video calls are already part of our day-to-day. Organising a small informal chat even between screens will help your employees relax and engage with video calling sessions. Take notes and offer a summary so that people who weren’t in the video feel included in the process. This is especially important when some people are on premises and others are remote.
3. Integrate remote work
There are many tools that will allow you to control your work remotely. The great advantage of having Microsoft Teams is that you will have an integrated system for public as well as internal calling and communication. It will be like having your office in your pocket, which is what we’re all about here at Cloud Voice Solutions.
4. Plan some office activities each season
Synergies are super important, and it is essential that you maintain them. Uplift your team with activities or interactive meetings so that everyone sees the great opportunity to attend in person. Or, if it’s not possible to invite people in due to restrictions, move them online. Liquid Interactive moved their annual Wild Moose Chase to the digital world with some extra effort.
5. Build a work family
Flexibility doesn’t need to mean a loss of culture. Create a philosophy that allows your team to always feel connected to your brand. Internal branding is a relatively new field in marketing but you can use some of the basics of branding to start crafting your culture more deliberately.
Your people are the key to your success and it is important that you keep front of mind. Anything you can do to remind people they are important to you is a bonus. Anything from biscuits and coffee to a well timed day off can show you are invested. In this crazy gig economy, many people want to feel this kind of family connection. Not to mention that we are often separated from our actual families due to travel restrictions.
The future of work is an exciting one, and we’re looking forward to providing more updates as we embark on this journey.
All our phone and communication systems are designed to empower flexible and remote work. Get in touch with us today to talk about what you need to improve your business resilience and communication.