In 2020, the world went into lockdown and work culture as we knew it had to change overnight. Over 2 years later and we are now staring down the next big shift for businesses – the return to the office.
Unlike the move to remote working, very few businesses are trying to get their entire workforce back in-office immediately. Whether they let their old leases lapse, their employees have all moved away, or management preference for remote working, the push to work from the office is shaping up to be a more gradual change.
Gradual or swift, there are those who adapted to the “new normal” of working from home (or wherever they are in the world), and the idea of going back to the old normal of long commutes and bad office coffee is unappealing. Potentially more than 40% of workers would quit their jobs before returning to the office.
In response, many companies are adopting a mixed approach. Dubbed “Hybrid Working”, this model seeks to offer a compromise that satisfies both those keen to go back to the office, and those who want to stay at home.
What will Hybrid Working look like in the Philippines?
A spectrum of hybrid working options exists between the two positions of “stay home” and “come back”, and what approach a particular organisation decides on is likely to depend on their industry, their service officering, and maybe most importantly their company culture. These approaches include:
- Traditional – Everyone is back at the office.
- Distributed – Similar to traditional, but some employees are at a central office and others distributed into satellite offices.
- True Hybrid – Some employees work at the office, and some work remotely.
- Synchronized Hybrid – Employees can work remotely, but are expected to come in on set days or for set periods (eg: everyone comes into the office on Mondays).
- Activity based Hybrid – As above, but rather than fixed times employees come into the office for set activities (eg: client meetings)
- Remote – Everyone works remotely
While some businesses will be able to continue to succeed with a pure remote working approach, it is very likely that the majority of workplaces will be switching to some form of hybrid working or another over the next year.
These hybrid approaches offer flexibility to employees, while also providing the appropriate structure and resources to keep people productive, motivated and performing at a high level.
However this all assumes that the office is actually set up in a way to actually encourage productivity and improve employee morale. After 2 years of remote work, some offices are looking pretty out of shape.
So how can you make sure your office is ready to get your business back in action?
Get your processes back online
Working from the office is a different experience than working remotely, and your employees need to be ready to make that change. While your remote-working processes might be fine, if no one knows how to use the office printer, or how to dial out, or what the password is for the office wifi, there is going to be problems.
These are just the first steps to getting your processes back online. If your business is adopting a hybrid model, then you’ll need new processes for how employees communicate across in-office and remote teams, where information and resources are stored, and even which work areas are accessible to which people.
Getting these processes up and running before you return to the office is a great way to make the transition to hybrid working as smooth as possible. It also gives you time to experiment and gather feedback from your employees on what works for them and what doesn’t.
Ensure your office network is up to speed
Now that your processes are online, it’s time to make sure your network is up to the task. With remote work, the network requirements of a company are spread out amongst multiple households, and there was likely no need for a dedicated office line.
As more people return to working from the office, your network load is concentrated in one building, and you will definitely require an enterprise internet connection to keep all your systems operational.
Talking to an expert business ISP about your office internet needs is paramount in making the transition to in-office working. They can ensure you have the appropriate bandwidth, uptime, and internet speeds suitable for your business, and make interacting between in-office and remote teams a breeze.
Make sure your office is properly stocked
We might like to think of the modern office as being all-business, all the time, but not much gets done if employees can’t find pens to take notes, or space in the fridge to store their lunch, or proper toiletries in the bathrooms.
A well stocked office is one that contains all the things that the people who work there might need during the 8+ hours they’ll be in the building. Whether that’s tools they need to do their job, basic supplies likes pens or notebooks, miscellaneous items like spare batteries, kitchenware like cups, plates and cutlery, and even cleaning supplies.
These little conveniences are easy to overlook, but they can make the biggest difference in promoting employee morale and making sure the office is a productive space.
Keep it cool for your employees and your devices
Speaking of productive spaces, nothing drains the batteries on both your devices and your team members faster than excessive heat! High temperatures have a noticeable impact not just on productivity, but whether or not people even turn up to work. A one-degree increase in temperature can cause a 5% increase in absenteeism.
To be successful with a hybrid working model requires getting your employees to want to return to the office, and that means making sure the office temperature is well controlled to create an inviting atmosphere.
But it’s not just people that are affected by hot weather. Digital devices, especially those connected to the internet, are also highly susceptible to heat. Stay tuned for more articles on how to beat the heat and protect your devices this summer.
Is your business switching to hybrid working? What steps are you taking to make this change effective? Let us know how you’re making the office attractive again on social media and follow RISE on Facebook and LinkedIn.