Hybrid working is no longer a fad. It is something that people in the employment market look for, after it has been found to be a way of working which meets the needs of employees up and down the country. In a Gallup poll conducted last year, the results of which were reported in Forbes magazine, eight out of ten people surveyed said they were working in a hybrid environment, dividing their time between the office and other locations. The number of global knowledge workers working in a hybrid pattern is also on the rise, currently standing at 39% up from 37% in 2022.
Despite its popularity, the criticism of some forms of remote work is growing louder, owing to the perceived reduction in productivity that critics think it engenders. However, the approach of two days on-site and three spent working from elsewhere is one that has even been backed up by Stamford professor Nicholas Bloom who even cites an increase in productivity as one of the benefits of a hybrid arrangement.
Covid-19 changed everything, as 96% of HR leaders are more concerned about their employees’ wellbeing now than they were before the virus swept the globe. With the pre-pandemic rule book thrown out of the window, the question remains of how to successfully meet the needs of the hybrid employee. Many companies were forced into the arrangement in 2020, meaning they rushed through developments without proper and adequate planning. The hybrid pattern now holds such a degree of permanence on the working landscape that ways of successfully handling it must be explored if a company is to remain relevant to potential employees. After all, 87% of HR leaders say that employees now expect a personalised work experience that suits their unique needs – including hybrid working. Where to start?
Getting started is easy
In today’s landscape, in which work is combined with family commitments at home, a broad view of how much employees work, with whom they work and on what they work is key to helping them complete their work how and when is most convenient and productive for them.
An adaptive digital workplace is an important part of this cycle of engagement of hybrid workers, right from the point of onboarding. The entrance of these pieces of software into the market has been impressive; by 2025, more than 50% of IT organisations worldwide will use digital employee experience to prioritise and measure the success of digital initiatives, up from less than 5% just two years ago.
All the facets of joining a new company and learning its processes that were previously done in person can now be done remotely. It’s a process that has been revolutionised by using such a single log-on system which contains all the apps and programs a person needs to complete their job in one consistent user interface.
From the moment of onboarding, the employee experience is only going to get better as new starters learn more about how to complete their daily tasks with such a powerful tool in their hands. Elements of the workplace come together in a seamless blend to stimulate productivity and keep employees engaged. Processes are streamlined, which is important when new software needs to be adopted and rolled out. With extraneous factors now removed from workflows, they are transformed.
Optimisation of the employee experience
The consistent, high-quality user experience of the digital workplace helps an employee maximise their daily interactions with the Microsoft 365 suite. With everything they need being so easy to find, distractions are blocked and the adoption of important tools is swift.
Knowledge and document management are also vital components of the workplace. SharePoint and OneDrive unite with the file server of the company using the adaptive digital tool and display them all in the same interface, so there is no room for ambiguity or wondering how to access their files. The knowledge silos which can prevail in traditional networks, as users find the data they need and then keep its location to themselves, are eliminated. Centralised storage lets everyone find what they want, when they want it.
Unlocking the issue of security
It scarcely needs to be said that cybercrime is on the rise, but the statistics surrounding this most urgent of issues are nonetheless shocking. Out of every million internet users in the UK, 4783 were victims of cybercrime in 2022, which is the highest proportion in the world.
The modern, cloud-based zero-trust network access (ZTNA) allows for secure access to all apps, regardless of the device on which they are being used. It allows the user to work how best suits them, reducing the burden of device management.
The same approach prevents network level attacks which helps it meet the need of the distributed workforce. It’s a modern view of security which keeps all apps and data protected while at the same time fuelling productivity. The lack of secure, cost-effective and reliable remote access to enterprise apps in the distributed environment can be crucial to decision-makers when deciding working patterns; enabling it in an adaptive digital workplace is a clear indicator that hybrid working is possible, boosting your company’s attractiveness to potential employees.
Elevating the existing
Every workplace needs a hub, whether it’s a kettle in the kitchen or a watercooler in a physical office, or a tool which gathers remote members together. In the digital world, the intranet has often played this role, but their one-way streets in terms of information flow is proving problematic as hybrid employees demand more.
Adaptive digital workplaces have collaboration at their heart, which means that the boundaries between intranets and the people using them are coming down. The information that is shared on them becomes part of work rather than a separate issue when it is housed in the workplace’s interface rather than on an entirely different and unrelated entity. It connects everyone and everyone has a voice.
The shift in the future of work
As Generation Z enters and settles into the workforce, demand for hybrid working is expected to further increase by 30% by 2030. It is therefore understandable that the modernisation of infrastructure is the primary concern of more than two-thirds of organisations. The professional market is fluid, as more than half of organisations employ borderless technology talent, a number that has doubled in the last three years. Continued use of adaptive technology will continue delivering this.
Niggling doubts about hybrid remain, as 41% of HR leaders believe that hybrid has a negative impact on employee performance. However, it appears that asynchronous collaboration is almost as effective as its synchronous counterpart, meaning that collaboration is the key in whichever form this may take. So it’s important to strike a balance of different ways of working together, at the same time and at different times, to realise the full potential of an employee. The adaptive digital workplace supports and optimises hybrid teams, leading to better performance, greater efficiency and happier, more satisfied employees.