As employees return to the office, many companies expect requests for more flexible work options. According to McKinsey, 68% of organisations do not have a plan or a vision for pivoting to a hybrid model.
On the one hand, employees want more flexibility and autonomy. On the other, they want to spend time around their work friends and collaborate in person with teammates.
Hybrid models ticks both boxes. However, the hybrid workplace complicates matters for personnel and office managers. Fortunately, there are existing solutions that make the transition to a hybrid model smoother.
The key is to encourage a culture that fosters the benefits of working from home with working in the office. Not everyone will want the same thing all of the time.
According to Gartner, companies need to accommodate four different work models.
- Working together in collaborative teams in a shared space
- Working apart as a member of a collaborative team
- Working in a team but with an individual workload
- Working remotely with an individual workload
The three solutions below facilitate all four working conditions.
A key benefit to a hybrid model is the capacity for businesses to reduce the amount of office space they need – and the overheads that come with it. For some companies, the potential cost savings of a hybrid model are huge.
However, you will probably still need a fully-working office to serve as a base and provide access to a variety of facilities employees need to perform their job to the best of their ability.
Whilst you could downsize and continue to rent a smaller office, co-working space is also an option. With BluDesks, you can rent office desks, private offices and meeting rooms by the hour.
A pay-as-you-go model typically turns out to be more cost-effective than renting office space and covering utility payments and maintenance costs.
BluDesks also gives you more options to find appropriate office space. With a single pass and login, we provide access to multiple co-working spaces that meet your needs and are in the most convenient locations.
Our business model is particularly useful for hiring meeting rooms. Let’s say, the meeting rooms in your office are fully booked, but there is a room free in an office around the corner.
There are also benefits for remote workers. Two colleagues that need to meet and live on the same side of town may find it more convenient to work together in a co-working space closer to their homes.
Before the pandemic, cloud adoption was relatively slow. However, when world governments ordered lockdowns, cloud providers saw a 32% increase. Cloud computing was the only adoption and is an indispensable solution for companies that intend to pivot to a hybrid workplace.
The hybrid model relies on digital tools that can be accessed from remote locations and at the same time provide effective cybersecurity measures. Cloud-based tools are specifically designed to improve the interaction between co-workers in remote places.
Cloud-based tools facilitate collaboration through file-sharing, enhanced communication and more flexibility. Collaborative teams can work on the same document in real-time or separately.
Any changes that are made to co-working documents are highlighted with the editor’s name next to them. Everyone granted access to the document can make edits or comments on the document. Or you can set read-only options.
Communication tools foster instant messaging and virtual meetings. These channels are great for asking quick questions and even brainstorming.
If team members need a longer meeting that will be too intense for a video conference, they can either organise it when they’re all in the office or rent a meeting room for the afternoon in a co-working space that is most convenient for everybody.
Employees can also access a document stored in the cloud from anywhere and on any device. This gives your employees the option to work from anywhere and access cloud-based tools at convenient times. For example, catching up with emails during a commute.
Employees that prefer to be around people can also work in remote locations such as a coffee shop or hot desk in a co-working space.
The move to remote working models has highlighted a need for effective cybersecurity measures to be put in place. Employees working from home are considered an easier target for hackers because home wi-fi networks, mobile phones and text messages are easier to penetrate.
Having said that, the threat of hackers can be dramatically minimised with the right cybersecurity plan. Whilst cloud tools and anti-malware programs give you some protection, additional layers of protection should be added.
The first place to start is to train your employees about cybersecurity risks. They should be aware of the various cybersecurity threats hackers use, how to identify phishing emails and how to avoid downloading infected documents.
Patch management should also be a priority. The software you use, at some point, will develop a security issue. These vulnerabilities can be exploited by hackers. This is why software companies consistently release software updates that include security patches.
Other gateways hackers look to exploit are home wi-fi networks and mobile devices. Digital technologies such as virtual desktops and mobile device management build a safety net around remote devices too.
IT experts claim that virtual desktops are the answer to the hybrid security conundrum. Because virtual desktops operate on cloud servers rather than on-premise servers, they provide higher levels of cybersecurity.
Crucially, virtual desktops mimic your business network without actually providing direct access to it. Therefore, if an employee’s device is hacked, malicious actors would not be able to access your live data anyway thus preventing a possible ransomware attack.
The actions an employee performs throughout a normal working day are saved on the cloud but not backed up to your network until someone authorises a backup.
In addition, remote monitoring tools help IT personnel identify potential threats and block potential gateways at the source. For example, if a phone location and registered device do not match authorised personnel, whoever is trying to access your network is shut out.