Hybrid work is the new corporate buzzword. Renowned for its ability to empower employees and create a more diverse, energised workforce, many companies are considering hybrid work and weighing up the pros and cons of this new wave of work.
Discover the greatest challenges of the hybrid working model to see if it’s something your organisation should adopt.
What Is the Hybrid Working Model? Diving Deeper Into Combined Working
Just in case you’re the only person who hasn’t heard of the hybrid working model, here’s a quick rundown. Hybrid working takes traditional office work and the blossoming trend of remote working and combines them to create a best of both worlds scenario. The promise to keep company culture alive and please employees with enough grace to work from home a few times per week will tempt two in five employers by 2023.
The change is widespread, with many companies heading towards hybrid now or checking it out for the future.
Yet, even if you're familiar with hybrid working — so much so that you’re considering introducing a hybrid working model to your company — the movement can come across as a little complex. Sure, the hybrid working model is easy enough to understand, but then there are all these off-shoots of hybrid models like the at-will model, the split week model, the shift work model and the week by week model, to name a few.
All attempt to add some structure to this more flexible working style, creating rules around working from home and in the office, so hybrid doesn’t feel like a free-for-all.
As we’re still in the testing phase of hybrid, there’s no clear winner or indication as to which approach is most effective — or indeed if we should head towards hybrid work at all. However, most organisations are leaning towards shift work and split week models for their definite balance between home and office environments.
Hybrid is here in all shapes and sizes. But it doesn’t mean switching to the hybrid way of working is easy or that it doesn’t come with its own unique challenges.
4 Key Challenges of the Hybrid Working Model
The hybrid working model is an excellent idea, but in practice, it poses some problems. Some are software-based and others rely on people to help manage the major transition.
1. Assessing Employee Productivity
Some early data shows that hybrid working improves employee satisfaction and wellbeing, but it might not always be best for increasing efficiency or encouraging productivity throughout your team.
A lack of structure in hybrid working and increased distractions out of office can mean that for some employees, it’s hard to find focus and tick off as many tasks as when in the traditional way of working. Organisations will need to assess productivity in the short and long term. Will there be expected dips in the early stages of adopting hybrid? And will they peter out as people get used to this new way of working?
2. Need for Stronger HR Support
In the interim, and perhaps in the future, teams will require stronger HR support as they get settled into their new routine. From drawing up contractual changes to creating home-based risk assessments, HR will need to navigate this new world and account for out of office changes.
The list is long for HR managers and can contain anything from frequent check-ins with employees to filming explainer videos to use new software adopted to help hybrid. This could completely revolutionise the role of HR and call for more seniority or staff members to support this change as human resources become an even more centralised function in taking care of the workforce.
3. Governing Change With Technology
Perhaps the steepest hurdle for organisations to overcome is solution design. Which software will fit the bill? How invasive should your IT infrastructure be? And does it have the right security defences to support a distanced team?
Governing change with technology requires research into the right fit. Looking at platforms like Microsoft Viva, which is powered by Microsoft 365 to slot neatly into your existing ecosystem versus entirely new offerings that have emerged since the hybrid boom will take up much of your time before you can even announce hybrid to your organisation. You’ll also need to take a close look at a platform’s features, deciding if access to online training is a top priority or if insights are higher on your agenda.
4. Dealing With Data Risks
Then there are the external considerations of the hybrid working model. Before you get too caught up in how it'll impact your bottom line or affect your employees, you’ll need to do a bit more research into how sensitive data can be put at risk by taking things remote.
In all likelihood, this means investing more into cyber security and keeping a closer eye on compliance. After all, we all know the dire consequences of data breaches and failing to follow legislation such as GDPR. Organisations seriously considering the hybrid working model will also need to give equal attention to their cloud security to ensure it’s up to the task.
How to Get Hybrid Working Right: Protecting You, Your Team and Your Data
There’s no exact science behind hybrid working...yet. With the hybrid working model in its infancy, organisations need to trial and error many elements of combined work to see what sticks.
However, cloud security is something we do know a lot about, including its essential role in helping distanced teams as they store and share critical data across a shared network. As one of the only certainties in the new world of hybrid work, cyber security is a great place to start when planning your transition. Check where you stand with cyber security by requesting an expert IT assessment.
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