Hybrid Working: How to Ensure Your Workforce is Ready for a New Normal

Simon Wright

Why technology AND people are at the heart of the global business bounce-back

Hybrid Working: How to Ensure Your Workforce is Ready for a New Normal

All set for the big return to the office?  

Are your people prepared to embrace the new post-pandemic hybrid working model? 

For many organisations, the answers to both those questions are: ‘Well…kind of!’ 

In stark contrast to the shocking start to global Covid 19 lockdowns almost 18 long months ago, the redesign of how (and where) we work has been a slower, more measured process. 

It seems most organisations are working towards a model which will see employees continuing to work from home for at least half the week. 

But returning to the office for any number of days – although hugely welcomed by the majority – can’t simply be a case of picking up where they left off. 

There will be a new format and a new rhythm to adapt to: with tools, technology and a safe working environment right at the top of any new priority list. 

The HR teams of smarter organisations have already begun to ensure their workforces are supported. 

And it seems the challenges of reopening CAN be matched by the opportunities for reinvention. 

“We all have a responsibility to help employees set their boundaries and get them up to speed in the new reality,” says Wouter Dolle, Director of HR & Facilities at global value-for-money digital accessories provider Trust International. 

“We need to facilitate them as effectively as possible.” 

In March 2020, Trust quickly responded to the lockdowns announced in many of the countries in which it is located. 

As the one-stop brand for digital lifestyle and workplace accessories, it made sure all of its employees (and customers) were able to work remotely, with all the necessary tools, technology, and budget to create a suitable home working environment. 

Now it is working hard to ensure those same people can meet safely at the office once again. 

“Our employees are ambitious, passionate, and committed with a flexible mindset,” says Dolle. 

“We trust them to do their job independently. But that doesn’t mean it has all been easy during lockdown. 

“Whilst employees have been able to adapt to the working from home format, social interaction and collaboration with colleagues are also very important for employee health and well-being. 

“Therefore, it’s now essential that employers and HR teams enable that to happen safely. 

‘Our ICT team has equipped meeting rooms with our own IRIS video conferencing equipment that is a huge asset to the hybrid working model. It has great image resolution and a wide-angle view that offers a full-body display of every person in the meeting room without them having to sit shoulder-to-shoulder. 

“This way, Trust staff and clients have the freedom to work together optimally, while maintaining a safe distance from one another. 

“We will continue to keep 1.5 meters distance from each other in every space and in everything we do and, whilst face masks are no longer mandatory in the Netherlands, we do offer them to anyone who prefers to use them. 

“We’re also allowing external visitors such as customers and recruitment candidates to the office again.” 

Crucially, any effective hybrid model should give employees an opportunity to structure their own working week around their individual functions and responsibilities. 

“It’s not very useful to commute all the way to the office and sit in a room on your own to catch up on your email or administration,” says Dolle. 

“Some tasks are more suitable to be performed from home, combined with digital meetings. Others, meanwhile, might require a face-to-face or hybrid work experience. 

“I strongly believe in employees taking initiative, and it is our role to encourage and facilitate them in doing so. Ultimately, it’s a two-way conversation between managers and employees to find the right balance in any hybrid model.” 

 For HR teams everywhere, the challenges ARE significant. 

Some employees will be hesitant to return to the office because they are fearful of the health implications. 

Others may have overworked themselves during lockdown and risk burnout.  

Then there is the business of recruitment. 

Although many organisations proved it is possible to select and recruit candidates online, recruiters will want to conduct job interviews face-to-face. 

But if the applicant feels ill on the day of the interview will they call to reschedule, or will they come in regardless because they are eager to secure the role? 

“There are many potential issues that HR departments needs to consider,” says Dolle. 

“But as the global re-opening gathers pace, I believe the HR profession will be an exciting one in which to be working. 

“Getting through the pandemic has of course been helped hugely by technology. But, for all organisations, the success of their post-pandemic era will also depend very much on people, the organizational strategy and culture, and the way both organization and employees adapt to new situations” 

To learn how Trust’s huge range of value-for-money tech accessories can help support YOUR business’s post-pandemic return, visit www.trust.com.

 


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