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How to prevent productivity and collaboration declines in hybrid working

Article by Holly Grogan, Chief People Officer - Appspace

Keeping the hybrid workplace model alive can be challenging in today’s post-pandemic world. The remote and hybrid work strategies from three years ago no longer empower organizations to be flexible or productive. In some cases, these strategies hamper engagement by lacking continuity and focus on employee-wellbeing. 

Appspace’s 2023 workplace experience trends and insights report shows that 35% of hybrid employees struggle with feeling connected and engaged. At the same time, 29% say using outdated tools takes days or even longer to receive important information. Additionally, 70% of hybrid employees responded that they waste time transitioning between the office and remote work locations. These are several of the ongoing issues organizations mention when trying to limit work-anywhere policies and instruct employees to come into the office more. 

So what is the best way to address these challenges? How can businesses prevent technology burnout while improving employee adoption? How can they optimize the flexibility employees experienced in the early days of the pandemic and achieve the best business outcomes?

For starters, most organizations should accept there’s no going back to pre-2020 work models. Giving up on flexible work environments is not the solution. The reality is many employees prefer remote or hybrid options, and eliminating flexibility will cause companies to lose talent. It’s time for business leaders to acknowledge that a large percentage of the workforce will remain remote or hybrid. And instead of trying to change the workforce, business leaders must continue to reimagine how their companies can address and adopt new avenues to increase productivity and collaboration. 

Businesses can turn to technologies that empower employees to stay connected to their work and colleagues. Here are two ways technology can reverse the productivity and collaboration declines in hybrid workspaces. 

Smash The Silos and Make Resources Available
Companies implementing separate and disjointed tools hinder employee collaboration. 

When these apps, tools, and hardware for workplace management and workplace communication are not integrated into one unified solution, it becomes challenging for employees to stay productive while context switching—changing our mental control settings when moving between unrelated tasks. 

App overload is becoming increasingly more common in the workplace, with one survey stating that the average knowledge worker “toggles between apps 1,200 times over the course of the  day.”

A lack of integration also makes it difficult for teams to stay on the same page when locating files, accessing resources, and communicating with one another about project updates and deadlines. 

In short: it’s time to smash the silos. 

Executives should invest in workplace experience platforms that connect with the data sources, apps, and systems their teams use daily. The most successful tools will use content feeds and share and pull information into various channels to create an omnichannel digital workspace experience. 

This also allows organizations to reach all employees simultaneously with critical information – regardless of whether employees are working in traditional office settings, at home, or in other locations, like the frontline. 

Prioritize The Employee Experience
Employee productivity is often linked to job satisfaction and vice versa. Most companies who recognize this connection want to prioritize the employee experience. 

Even though most work continues to occur outside the office with only 3% of employees operating entirely in-person and 44% of employees working fully remote, employees are still looking for an experience that allows them to stay connected with fellow employees, be creative, and promote their career growth. 

To reverse productivity and collaboration declines, business leaders should invest in adaptable employee-centric software, like modern intranets or an employee app. Other tools that foster successful collaboration in and out of the office include collaborative kiosks and workspaces, digital signage, wayfinding, and more. Additionally, employee apps and integrations with tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom can go a long way in providing a friction-free process for collaboration.

You want your employees to understand that they are just one click away from collaborating with fellow department members and beyond. So empower them to collaborate both in and out of the office. And remember: innovation happens when diverse perspectives come together to achieve a common goal. 

Building an agile future for your company does not mean removing the hybrid workplace. Instead, business leaders must take the time to invest in modern solutions that unite their employees for the common good. This will go a long way in establishing a healthy company culture that allows employees to keep their work-life balance, stay engaged, and drive productivity for the long haul.

    Holly Grogan is Chief People Officer at Appspace. In this role, Holly is responsible for driving the company’s growth and profitability through human resources & talent strategies. She has spent most of her career building People & Culture strategies for high-growth companies while creating great places to work environments. Holly is on the Board of Directors of Think Big for Kids, a non-profit helping break the cycle of poverty by providing middle and high school students with career opportunities, mentorship, and job readiness.

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