The pandemic changed business forever, and we’re only beginning to see that and understand it. It could be several years before companies truly realize the revolution that Covid-19 began. While all the deaths and suffering are undoubtedly awful, it’s fascinating to see this one silver lining play out.
Before the pandemic, many niches and companies resisted remote work as much as they could. There was this prevailing theory that if employees worked from home, they would not get as much done during the days, or they would produce inferior-quality work. However, the technology existed for a remote work model, and it was growing more difficult to sell employees on working from a central location.
The pandemic showed that remote work was possible, and many employees are reluctant to go back. Some of them are quitting if their bosses demand they start commuting again. This showdown between management and workforce accomplishes nothing, but who’s going to blink first?
What some companies don’t realize is that there’s another option besides exclusively remote work and none at all. That is the hybrid workplace, a model that’s becoming more popular as vaccines are widespread and this public health crisis dies down. Let’s discuss hybrid workplaces and why both workers and company owners might view them as the optimal compromise.
What Precisely is the Hybrid Workplace?
As more businesses start reopening their office spaces for the first time in many months, lots of workers dread this transition. They enjoyed getting up later, avoiding traffic to and from work, and they could take a quick break to eat lunch with a spouse or partner. Is it any wonder they came to love remote work in the past year-and-a-half?
The hybrid workplace may be the perfect solution to the issue of them returning to the office full-time. In this model, the employees can stay at home and work remotely for some of the time, but on other days, they must come into the office.
This splits the difference between what workers and company owners want. The employees can do much of their work from home, but if the owner wants them to come to the office for in-person meetings a couple of days per week, they should have no problems doing that. The average hybrid workplace solution might be for the employee to work from home three or four days per week and go into the office like they used to one or two days out of every five.
How Does This Help Companies?
The biggest way this helps companies is that they can close many satellite offices they might have felt like they needed in the past. If a company rented several brick-and-mortar locations within a single city or geographic region, they might allow the lease to lapse on some of them and retain a single one. That’s going to save them money which they can allocate to other areas or projects as they see fit.
Worker satisfaction is the other way the hybrid workplace model helps companies. If a boss stubbornly insists that they’re going to forget about remote work and go rigidly back to the way things were, they might struggle to fill critical company positions. If a worker knows that a competing company will let them work from home at least part of the time, why would they allow their current boss to treat them that way?
Technology Can Drive This Initiative
What some workers might not immediately realize, though, is that it’s technology, and IT, specifically, that’s driving this change. If the tech did not exist that allowed them to work from home, they couldn’t do so.
That’s what different about this new era and what came before. Only now, when decentralized technology such as adaptable software suites exist, can workers sit at their home computer and communicate with their coworkers, executing their tasks without having to come into the office to do it.
The fact remains that some companies still have work where they need their employees to come into the office on certain occasions. They might have security concerns that remote work cannot address.
That’s a relative rarity, though. With the advent of new tech such as domainless enterprises, very few companies will ever need their employees to work from a central location again.
The Future Has Arrived
Now, you have workers who can use devices that are not located within an office building. They can use their laptops, desktops, or tablets to do the same work in their own homes. If an employee has an issue, they can get IT department help without being in the same building.
New workers also don’t need to configure their desktops and laptops onsite. The cloud allows them to purchase a device and set it up at their home, and they can access virtually the same resources there that they previously could in a central location.
Network maintenance and oversight will still be necessary if this new hybrid model is going to work. In a way, this means that IT is more vital now than it has ever been before.
If a company owner decides they want to make their employees happy and retain them, that probably means going to the hybrid model. To make it work, though, they need to get the best IT professionals who they know can handle the vital task of system setup and maintenance. If the IT department is not up to the job, security lapses can occur, and proprietary secrets can leak.
If a company wants to do this, they’ll need their IT department to look at things like bandwidth requirements, VPNs, cloud usage, servers, networks, and more. The main point everyone should keep in mind is that technological solutions exist now if companies are only willing to look for them.
The smartest bosses should be willing to work with their employees in this new world. If they stick to outdated methodologies, they’ll have difficulty finding anyone to work for them.