How a Hybrid Work Model is Taking Shape Amid Virus Flareups
- The pandemic has changed the concept of the workplace
- As the coronavirus continue to reemerge, going back to the pre-pandemic workplace does not seem likely
- Organizations are left with no alternative but to introduce new work arrangements
Since the onset of the pandemic, most enterprises have adopted a work-from-home arrangement. Surprisingly, the arrangement has worked out well in most cases, given many employees have witnessed increased productivity and a better work-life balance.
This has prompted several organizations to assess the feasibility of a remote work model in the long term. Such a model can save on the exorbitant leases on office space, while giving employees flexibility.
However, not every organization can continue working remotely for a prolonged period.
Now, with new variants of the coronavirus emerging in different regions, business leaders are again standing at crossroads.
Should they continue working from home or adopt a different strategy? What should their gameplan be?
Business leaders are considering hybrid working options
One such form is the social hub model, where the office acts like a meeting space. Employees come to the office when they must collaborate, meet and socialize and then return home to continue the work. DropBox has migrated to this model and is using its offices as meeting spaces.
Another mode is an activity-based workplace, where employees work from office but do not have a dedicated workspace. Instead, there are shared desks and workstations, and employees move between workspaces – be it meeting room or lounge or open seating area. This reduces the number of desks needed for employees, which in turn helps the employer cut down on infrastructure expenses and provide employees a flexible working arrangement.
It is quite certain that we are nowhere close to going back to where we had left it: a centralized workplace as it was before the pandemic.
Enterprises are increasingly becoming decentralized. They are considering opening small satellite offices in different locations around a city’s suburb. In these offices, fewer employees can work, ensuring safety and flexibility while allowing in-person interaction with colleagues.
Some businesses, such as technology companies, are considering working in a full virtual mode indefinitely. This would allow them to save from a smaller real estate footprint while giving employees the liberty to work from their comfort zone.
Technologies and services facilitating the hybrid work model
Back-to-office technology solutions like “hot desk” or “hoteling” are increasingly gaining traction. Hoteling has become popular in the Silicon Valley, and there are software solutions that allow online reservations for rooms and desks, and management of workplace, facility, real estate and maintenance. Demand for solutions such as OfficeTogether, Spacewell, Officely and Envoy is growing by the day.
The other area that bigger enterprises are looking at is how to address hardware-related challenges. With new people joining and existing people facing issues with their devices, companies are partnering with providers who can take care of all the hardware-related issues and ensure employees can work from home seamlessly. Services can range from zero-touch provisioning of devices to delivering ready devices to employee homes and providing in situ service and maintenance. Several major enterprises are partnering with end-to-end device-as-a-service providers in case they choose to continue working remotely.
Collaboration and communication technologies are, of course, top priority even now. With part of the teams working from office and part working remotely, collaboration tools and sophisticated security systems would be crucial to bring them together.
The way ahead…
Companies are assessing different possibilities to find a work arrangement that can best meet business requirement and benefit employees at the same time. For varied reasons, most people want to continue working from home and keep the flexibility.
In this scenario, business leaders may have to find balance in a hybrid work arrangement to retain talent and keep productivity levels intact.
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