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Hybrid Working and Workplace Resource Hub
Explore our hub to find all the resources you’ll need to prepare you for hybrid working.
Hybrid working has become a familiar term over the last few years, with the recent pandemic simply accelerating businesses’ need to find new ways to stay in operation. Technology, in particular, has played a big part in helping companies and employees transition to this new model of working, with tools and software enabling effective communication and collaboration at a distance.
Employees appear to have embraced the concept of splitting their time between the office and working remotely, with 77% saying they prefer working on this basis. Employers, too, seem to be on board with the trend of flexible working, with many predicting the downsizing of office spaces and a move towards smaller, more flexible workspaces.
By changing to a hybrid mode of working, both employers and workers can benefit. From lower overheads to fewer lengthy commutes, a better work-life balance is on the horizon.
What is Hybrid Working?
Hybrid working is a way of working in two locations, in an office and a non-office location. While there are several hybrid working models, the common theme is offering more freedom around when and where to work. This means that employees can fit their work around their lives rather than structure their weekdays around hours in an office.
What is a Hybrid workplace?
A hybrid workplace is any workplace that merges the elements of remote and office working hence offering the best of both worlds in terms of structure and sociability, along with independence and flexibility.
Ideally, a hybrid workplace should offer the best of both worlds: structure and sociability, along with independence and flexibility.
The hybrid workplace could involve designating certain days for in-office meetings and remote days for work that involves individual focus. Employees could be physically present for team-building exercises or training sessions, while certain work aspects are better completed at home.
How Does a Hybrid Workforce Operate?
There are a number of ways in which employers could manage a hybrid workforce. The hybrid model means there’s a combination of remote work and office work happening simultaneously. Both parties will be collaborating at any given time, and employees are often given the choice to work in the office for a number of days, and remotely for the rest of the time.
In essence, how to manage this depends on the space available at the in-office location, and what makes sense in terms of productivity and employee engagement. Some may want to operate a rota system, with those that work in the office having a set timetable in place so office managers can oversee desk space.
The Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Workplace Model
When it comes to hybrid working, it’s important to consider both the employer’s and the employee’s point of view. Here are some of the chief benefits both can enjoy:
In a well-structured and streamlined hybrid work environment, there’s every potential for improving employee productivity. By offering staff the opportunity to create a better work-life balance, they will enjoy more job satisfaction and be happier. Happy staff make for motivated staff. The benefits of increased wellbeing and health are other aspects that will have a positive effect on productivity.
In a hybrid working model, companies can expect to see significant cost savings, for example, in office real estate rental (especially in expensive areas like London) and utility bills. Employees, too, will see decreased costs with the hefty expense of daily commuting reduced.
Extensive talent pools
Companies can cast their net wider and recruit the most talented people, regardless of their geographic location, in adopting hybrid working. This also helps people living farther afield who would not previously have been considered for roles.
Remote working can be highly efficient, especially given the wide range of business communication software and tools to help enable this. However, it can’t replace social interactions’ spontaneity—e.g. after a meeting or at lunch or networking events. Under a hybrid model, employees can still take advantage of some face-to-face meetings, helping them address personal issues.
Work-life balance can be greatly enhanced with a hybrid approach. By allowing staff to work more flexibly to acknowledge childcare commitments, companies can build stronger relationships with them.
Hybrid working is an opportunity to help the planet reduce the carbon footprint and boost green credentials.
The disadvantages of hybrid working will vary depending on the type of organisation involved. Here are some potential pitfalls.
The client experience can fall short under a hybrid model because some clients see face-to-face meetings as 100% the way forward, for example, in the banking or legal sector, where personal contact is the preferred method of communication. This is because when dealing with sensitive issues, people need to feel confident they can trust a company, and that’s something that’s often reinforced by body language. Even a video call can’t always replicate this psychological advantage as yet.
In a physical office environment, a co-working camaraderie is built up over time, with social interactions and the sharing of ideas boosted by team members’ physical presence sitting just a few feet away. Isolation can lead to poor decision-making, so this could be an issue to watch out for.
Keep hybrid team members connected!
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How to Implement a Hybrid Workplace Model
Setting up Hybrid Model Workplace
The coronavirus crisis has necessitated big changes in the workplace, and organisations of all types are taking steps to set up a hybrid workplace model. To do so, companies need to ensure they not only have the right technology in place but the right mindset.
The Definitive Guide to Hybrid Working: What it is & Why Your Business Should Adopt it
Traditional working practices are being replaced by more flexible models like hybrid work. Employees increasingly expect this flexibility and employers need to integrate it into their long term plans.
All the Pros and Cons of Hybrid Working & What They Mean for Your Business
Before developing a hybrid structure in your organisation, weigh the pros and cons. While hybrid working cuts cost and improves productivity, it requires a change in management styles and culture.
The Ultimate Guide to Remote & Hybrid Work Etiquette
There are clear benefits to adopting a hybrid working model. However, this new approach comes with a new set of guidelines. New approaches to communication and collaboration are required, for example.
10 Ways to Keep a Good Work Life Balance When Hybrid Working
Hybrid working is a great model for achieving a good work-life balance, but it’s not a given. Businesses can help ensure employees get the right mix of work-based activities compared to personal ones.
The Top 25 Remote Work Statistics & What This Means for Hybrid Working
The move towards remote and hybrid working has left some employers struggling to catch up. These remote work statistics give an idea of the impact of remote working on businesses and employees.
The Ultimate Guide to Hybrid Working & Flexible Work Arrangements
Flexitime and hybrid working models are norm in many organisations today. The aim is to empower employees to work smarter during working hours. This guide helps businesses find the best arrangements.
10 Best Online Workspaces and How They Can be Used to Support a Hybrid Workforce
A virtual centralised environment is key to providing the best hybrid working model. Workspaces should offer easy app integration and should be cost-effective and accessible from everywhere.
Hybrid working Case Studies
Pre-pandemic, RingCentral’s cloud telephony solutions helped companies in all sectors achieve increased efficiency and productivity. Post-pandemic, it’s anticipated that by adopting RingCentral’s VoIP and other business communications software, businesses will be better positioned to enable effective collaboration between remote employees whilst offering clients and customers a higher level of customer service.
As SaaS company TechnologyOne grew to cover 14 locations across six countries, its phone system couldn't keep up. The phone service wasn't even connected with its call centre. Installing RingCentral MVP made communication among employees simpler and made it easier to stay connected over distance.Read the Case Study
Accountants MHA MacIntyre Hudson needed to carry out in-person meetings whilst being available to clients when on the road. However, staff were tied to their desks by an old phone system. Switching to RingCentral cloud communications meant accountants could communicate with anyone from anywhere.Read the Case Study
In RingCentral, financial services provider OptimumCredit found a communications system that could scale with the company's fast growth, provide absolute reliability, and support secure data capture and call recording.Read the Case Study
Why Choose RingCentral as Your Hybrid Workplace Business Partner?
RingCentral is a 2020 Gartner UCaaS Magic Quadrant Leader, recognised for innovation and vision in cloud-based communications. Download the report by clicking the button below.
Hybrid Workplace Best Practices
As many of us shifted to remote and hybrid work as a result of social distancing measures in the past year or so, we’ve had to offer a flexible workplace solution that works for everyone and upholds productivity and efficiency among disparate teams. Here are some of the ways in which you can ensure your new hybrid working model works for you and your entire team:
1. Make sure you have employee buy-in first
It’s important to set the foundations, and set expectations first, before launching into a whole new way of working. Communicate the value of effective remote and hybrid workplace models and how this will work for your business. Be sure to open the floor for any questions your workers may have.
2. Invest in better, more flexible tech
Productivity will rely on the efficacy of your tech stack. It’s important to make sure your entire workforce benefits from cloud-based, cloud communications software that enable them to connect, communicate and conduct their day-to-day tasks from any device, wherever they choose to work. Likewise, consider any hardware your workers may need such as monitors, headsets and microphones to facilitate smoother video meetings, and generally streamline the workflow.
3. Cultivate a nurturing Hybrid workplace culture
Ensure your employees don’t feel neglected, and that you create a space for voices to be heard in a more virtual version of the workplace. Consistently conduct check-ins, allow an open platform for feedback, and continue to focus on employee experience, career development and education to ensure you maintain a fair, nurturing and engaging culture.
Tools and Technology
Intelligent Tools: The secret sauce to a successful hybrid workplace
In this new hybrid age, the acceleration of digital technology is unprecedented. New ways of managing people and of enabling asynchronous communication are required so that employees can engage with and be at their most productive, whether they’re in the office or out and about.
Each company must work out the best collaboration tools collaboration solutions to help drive success. A collaboration solution is a communication software that facilitates cloud communications and collaborations through features such as video conferencing and calls, emails, audio calling, and file sharing.
It’s important to get the tech right if you’re looking for a cloud communications solution. Built for the anywhere worker, unified business communications solutions such as RingCentral help you stay connected with secure and reliable meetings – wherever you choose to work.
Whether you deliver webinars for internal training, customer communications, or all-hands meetings and AGMs, having a webinar solution enables you to easily access your webinars and online events, record online sessions, and gain insights on engagement.
One of the most impactful technologies of the last few years is video calling technology. It’s been specially aligned with the development of remote-work and hybrid work arrangements, with teams becoming more and more dispersed.
On video calls, users can communicate face-to-face, enabling communication on a more personal level. A video calling app will benefit hybrid teams large and small – so long as the solution was reliable, with strong connectivity.
Also known as VoIP (voice over internet protocol) or internet telephony, an internet phone is rooted on the internet. Instead of using a landline, users make calls using Wi-Fi or another form of internet connection.
This enables users to make and take calls on a mobile phone or laptop no matter where they happen to be working, provided there’s a stable internet connection. Combining the high call quality of a landline with a range of services, such as testing and video calling, VoIP offers the best of both worlds.
Team collaboration software will offer a seamless way for employees to communicate without switching through multiple apps or spending time downloading different platforms. A good all-in-one solution should enable users to use instant messaging, fax, conference call, video call, and host online meetings and conference calls – with just one click from a single platform.
As a small business, it’s essential to find a way to reduce costs while growing the company. One way is by leveraging the best business communication tools. Since a lot of business is conducted by phone, it makes sense to invest in small business VoIP because this option is cost-effective and reliable.
VoIP allows smaller companies to compete on a level footing with enterprise-level businesses. VoIP calls take place over the internet rather than using a landline and offer a host of useful features, including video calling, messaging, and call routing.
Enterprise-level companies require the highest grade of communications, with always-on reliability along with the ability to connect teams anywhere, at any time. It’s essential to select tools that undergo independent verification around security, compliance, and privacy controls.
A robust business communications software should also support customers at multiple global locations and integrate with existing applications and third-party solutions.
Online screen sharing now plays a key role in our working lives, enabling teams to hold more effective, collaborative meetings, provide training, and present and annotate documents in real-time.
Screen sharing tools allow multiple users to view a desktop screen, making it an ideal feature for holding both internal meetings and live virtual events.
The Impact of Hybrid Work on Company Culture
Retaining a healthy company culture in a hybrid workplace is a key challenge for those looking to adopt this model. For many senior leadership teams, potentially damaging the on-site company culture they have built and worked hard on is a major concern and many believe culture is best cultivated in a physical workspace. But with the right tech, buy-in from your workforce, and the right tactics in place to mitigate isolation, a remote workplace culture can be a great success.
With hybrid working in place, you can significantly improve your workplace culture, and enable individual employees to feel valued, heard, and engaged. That’s because having faith in your employees to find their optimum work routing has a motivating impact on your teams. Giving staff the freedom to get deep work, or high-focus tasks done in the peace and quiet of their own environment will mean they feel more in control and more engaged when they’re in the office too.
Top Questions to Ask When Considering a Hybrid Workplace
While remote and hybrid working can significantly improve the lifestyle of your individual employees, isn’t for everyone. Some company operations and cultures lend themselves to a simple switch to remote working, but for others there are challenges and logistical considerations before taking the plunge to work in a hybrid way full time. Here are some of the key questions you might want to consider:
Could you implement more outcome-focused management styles?
It’s fair to say, micromanagement doesn’t work well in a remote workforce, so being confident that your managers could adopt a more trusting, outcome-focused approach to their team’s productivity is pretty crucial.
What do your workers want?
Before launching into a new way of working for the long term, it’s important to gauge the general attitude towards remote work, to make sure you give everyone a fair chance to perform and produce their best work. Could you conduct an employee survey to check what would keep your teams engaged, and how you could underpin a remote workplace culture?
Is everyone equipped for effective remote work?
While some may benefit from grand home offices or sufficient space in their home environment, others might feel pressured to work in an unsuitable setting. If some of your workers are carrying out their daily tasks in cramped and noisy shared accommodation, from their sofa or a corner of their bedroom, it might be worth considering an allowance for an alternative. Perhaps subsidise co-working, suggest hot-desking, or better still, and turn the existing office space into a flexible workplace hub or collaboration space, so that no one feels ill-equipped for concentration, or dynamic teamwork.
Why Does Cybersecurity Matter in the Hybrid Work Environment
The rise of remote working has had an adverse impact on the amount of cybercrime. Hybrid working just like remote working requires a software that supports integrated communications meaning all messages are interlinked. With cyber threats happening more frequently, and becoming increasingly costly, it’s important to have security at front of mind when implementing a hybrid workplace strategy. With workers accessing public networks, on devices that are used in their personal lives, the attack surface for hackers had broadened massively. That means, the onus is on businesses to ensure that their workers, customers and private data are all kept safe in a vulnerable virtual working world.
Educating staff on the perils of hybrid working is crucial. Likewise, using solutions with robust security features such as end-to-end encryption should be a must.
Is Hybrid Working the Solution for the Future of Work?
The COVID-19 pandemic and introduction of lockdowns around the world have accelerated a change in the way we’ll work from now on. It’s likely that meeting rooms packed with people will not be on the horizon again, and nor will the traditional workdays of 9-5. Many businesses are considering downsizing their office spaces to allow for more flexibility in terms of how and where staff work.
As well as changes to the physical space in which we work, there’s also been a shift in the mindset of employees, whose expectations and priorities now revolve far more around creating a good work-life balance. Some remote workers will be keen on co-working in-house along with a partial return to the office. Others will be keener to work from home as much as possible.
The reality could lie somewhere in the middle, with hybrid working models becoming the new normal. The office may become the ‘hub’ that keeps staff connected, while remote work arrangements could become best practice for individual employees for work that requires more focus.
Whatever form of hybrid working is adopted, it’s essential that everyone from CEO down should embrace it.
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