At the beginning of 2021, many of us expected life to go back to “normal”. However, the last two years have changed the workplace environment and the new “Hybrid Workplace” is here to stay! Employers and Management needed to adapt to the idea of flexible workplaces. But what impact has this had on company culture? How do employees stay productive and satisfied while maintaining a connection with their colleagues and management?
The emergence of flexible work
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many curveballs for businesses, especially with governments enforcing employees to work from home and not in an office building. As time went on, many companies have adapted to the Hybrid Work model. Hybrid work is a flexible working model where employees work partly in the physical workplace, and partly remotely – at home or from another workspace. The emergence of this “flexible work” era, has posed many learning opportunities and one of the essential focal points is that employee well-being is of the utmost importance. For employees, there has been an overwhelming need for purpose and work satisfaction because of the pandemic. Businesses have needed to shift focus from pushing productivity to include a company culture that emphasizes wellness and work/life balance.
Understanding employee experience
Employees are the driving force for this new hybrid work era. Employees are finding that the work/life balance is more easily achieved with the new hybrid model with less time spent travelling to and from a physical workplace, and more time spent with the family or building a home life. However, some do find this model to be frustrating and less productive as communication with colleagues and management is not as accessible as popping into their office to ask a simple question.
According to a Zoom survey, J.P Gownder (Forrester) reports that 61% of global leaders said that they will permanently move to some form of hybrid work model after the pandemic is over. This clearly shows that the hybrid work model is here to stay. So, how do companies ensure the wellbeing and productivity of their employees?
The focal points revolve around employee wellbeing – understanding the employee experience, promoting employee productivity, and encouraging employee collaboration. A study by Accenture found that people who have adopted the hybrid work model reported better mental health, stronger working relationships, and less burnout than those who worked entirely on-site or entirely remotely. 83% said that they felt a hybrid work model would be the best one going into the future.
The CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, says: “Over the past year, no area has undergone more rapid transformation than the way we work. Employee expectations are changing, and we will need to define productivity much more broadly — inclusive of collaboration, learning, and wellbeing to drive career advancement for every worker, including frontline and knowledge workers, as well as for new graduates and those who are in the workforce today. All this needs to be done with flexibility in when, where, and how people work.”
An independent research firm, Edelman Data x Intelligence, conducted the Work Trend Index survey among 31,092 full-time employed or self-employed workers across 31 markets between January 12, 2021, to January 25, 2021. From this survey, Employers get great insight into the desires of employees:
Company Culture is the Employers Responsibility
Employees and management need to stay in touch with their employees as much as possible. This is where management can encourage the IT and HR departments to work closely together to develop a more “wellbeing focused” company culture. At this point, employers should be asking themselves: What is our company culture? Are we enabling flexible or anywhere work? Are we taking steps to embrace the hybrid era? Does our company adapt well to flexibility and change?
Employers can encourage employees to feel connected to a company by understanding a company’s values, vision, and mission. Employees are needing to align their own values and purpose with that of the company they work for. In this way, employers can take employees through processes that ensure their voices are heard, and their safety is taken care of. Hybrid work needs careful orchestration if everyone, employees, business, and customers are to benefit.
Now the question is, where does the physical workplace fit in?
We are not sure what the next phase of business looks like, but the importance of a physical workspace is still very much present, however, in a different capacity. A physical workspace is essential in having a central workspace that can be used by management and employees alike. The physical workspace needs to be a space that reassures employees that it is a safe, secure, and healthy place to work from, and it provides a type of working environment that is different from working from home. As a part of company culture, a dynamic physical workspace can create huge advantages for creating more engaging ways of working and add value through dedicated spaces that promote productivity in different ways.
Physical workplaces need technical systems that facilitate seamless, secure and compliant workplace processes. This process includes the need for certain booking and screening processes to ensure the safety and security of employees. Processes such as hot-desking, parking booking, facilities management, off-site COVID-19 screening, onsite checking in/out and asset management are all essential tools that can assist companies in adapting to a flexible workforce. Security will know who is expected for the day and the building staff can manage resources accordingly. It’s a win-win!
Kenai is here for you!
Kenai’s vision is to empower businesses to transform the way they interact with people through our integrated workplace platform. Let us help you in adapting to the hybrid workspace era.