The Hybrid Workplace! Is it the New Future?

Hybrid Workplace

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The organizational skills of employees help them adapt to changing times. Technological disruptions, demographic shifts, changing work cultures, and travel are factors of change. Most of the organizations embraced these changes seamlessly and relentlessly. But the pandemic-induced isolation was a change that was unexpected by an entire globe, including the hybrid workplace. 

Corporates, leadership, and the workforce made a phenomenal transition to a remote workplace model. Without exacerbating the anxiety related to workflow-management teams, collaborated virtually and adjusted the new truth and change in record time. 

The number of people who want to work remotely or in a hybrid workplace has increased post-pandemic. A hybrid model is not a makeshift-temporary adjustment. As organizations are grappling with the change, they have acknowledged that they need to make necessary changes to incorporate a hybrid workplace and be future-ready. 

Response To The Change

Globally corporates are adjusting to the change in the workplace model by leveraging technology and AI-driven solutions. However, technological advancements and individual skills are important but can only complement the ability and will of an employee to endure the barriers to any change.

The mandate for any change that influences a large section of the workforce is support and empathy from the leadership. A skilled workforce delivers only when they can adjust and reskill if required. 

As per the World Economic Forum (WEF), 42% of the core skills required for a job will change. It also means that companies have to invest in reskilling their workforce to succeed in the future. 

Enabling Future-Ready Workforces

Organizations that realize the importance of adjusting to change do well in the future. Post-pandemic, several studies conducted by independent consultants and labor statistics reports, pointed to a single focal point as a solution to most issues – A Hybrid Workplace model that is an influx of change that is accepted by a majority of the workforce. 

The corporate world is flexing hiring strategies to accommodate a future-ready workforce that is not limited to people, location, nature of work, and technology. Let’s examine a few steps that help in building a future-ready workforce

  • Establish an efficient hybrid workplace model that enriches the employee experience
  • Be open to using technology and automation so that the human workforce can have elevated roles that exhibit capabilities like engaging with customers. 
  • Hire contract workers and freelancers for jobs that can be delegated to temporary workers. 
  • Use analytics to determine positions that need direct employees, the jobs that are cumbersome and need to be automated, and the kind that need a temporary workforce that can freelance. 
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Let us discuss the above steps in detail to understand what it calls for in a real-time situation:

Establishing A Hybrid Workplace

As employees are counting on working in a hybrid workplace model as it entails the ability to work in a remote location on a few days of the week, organizations have to prepare for a seamless transition to equate the employee experience with the traditional model. 

For a smooth experience and fewer hiccups, organizations should follow certain steps:

1. Talk To Workforce

The hybrid model can establish as a free-will model or a split-week model. The aspects to be considered here, are determined by the requirement of workflow management and the opinion of the workforce. 

If the goals of a team are achieved by reporting in person, by all the members on specific days, then the split-week model is an ideal option for the hybrid model. But if the whole or part of the workforce can choose the days they would like to work remotely and days when they will come to a regular office, then a free-will hybrid model will be a good option. 

2. Enhance Employee Experience

In a traditional in-person model, managers can see more of their teams. They can gauge them for signs exhibited by cognitive behavior and talk to them if required. But in a remote or hybrid model, managers have limitations of sight. Virtual meetings bridge the gap but not the whole of it. It is the primary reason for managers to increase their channels of communication. 

They need to keep asking their employees for their views and assess how they are feeling; when they work in isolation. 

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Leverage Technology

AI-driven solutions, machine learning with third-party API integration, and semantics that pre-empt the end users’ requirements are great tools if used efficiently to automate the repetitive process and increase the accuracy of the result. 

Temporary Workforce

If a job can be performed from any location and there are highly skilled freelancers or contract workers looking for temporary assignments, then consider hiring them. A hybrid workforce encompasses both temporary and permanent employees. Freelancers work efficiently and don’t add to the costs of employee benefits plans which are essential costs to a company. 

Take Data-Driven Decisions

To understand what roles can be automated, the extent of the automation required to increase the value of the customer experience, the number of employees necessary for direct roles, and the percentage of jobs to be contracted, an organization needs to look into its data. 

Analytics focuses on the capabilities and skills necessary to support new workplace models. A deeper understanding of semantics stimulates an integrated hybrid workforce as a strategic managerial decision that helps develop and nurture the right culture. Judicious deployment of the workforce for a given job and the required skill sets are determined through analytics. 

Conclusion

To sum it up, the transition to a hybrid workplace model is the new normal. It may not be possible to take all the decisions related to establishing a hybrid model in advance. It will be a trial and error of sorts before your organization can zero in on the optimum balance.

As reiterated earlier, a good practice is to ask the employees; what support they need to feel socially included and yet maintain their work-life balance and focus on productivity. 

If approached in the right manner, a hybrid workplace model can help an organization access talent and lower costs while prioritizing the employees.

Hybrid workplace article and permission to publish here provided by Mariana Wilona. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on September 9, 2022.

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