Almost three years on from the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, its impact on the way businesses operate continues to be felt across numerous sectors.
As we head towards 2023, it seems that the hybrid working model – which claims to offer an improved work life balance and positive employee mental health and wellbeing – shows no signs of disappearing.
Research conducted by Microsoft and YouGov provides additional evidence for the popularity of hybrid working, with results indicating that many employees now view hybrid working as a ‘must-have’ as opposed to a ‘nice to have’.
Feedback from UK HR professionals has also indicated a preference for hybrid workplaces, with close to 40% warning that organisations who did not offer hybrid working risked losing valuable staff.
From these figures, it would appear that implementing a hybrid working model is something of a no-brainer. However, according to a new survey from cloud computing and virtualisation technology company VMware, many employers are still not embracing a hybrid work model.
So, what is preventing so many companies from getting on board? For businesses, the issue appears to centre on the question of productivity.
Obviously, organisations that wish to achieve success should aim for maximum productivity, and as economic uncertainty continues to grow, business leaders may be feeling an element of panic.
This has resulted in attempts by some to instigate a large-scale return to the office – perhaps hoping to ‘keep a tighter eye’ on staff.
However, for many businesses it may be best to refocus efforts towards making hybrid working ‘work’ for them and their employees rather than rather than attempting to avoid hybrid working altogether.
So how can this be done?
At the heart of any organisation is its online network, and when networks and applications operate at peak performance, so do employees and the business (regardless of whether this is in the office or at home).
Companies should direct investment towards ensuring visibility of network and application performance, increasing the use of cloud services, and end-user/digital experience monitoring solutions as this helps to ensure the smooth running of operations and enhances collaboration within the business – Something that provides significant productivity gains.
In addition to this, and with employees undertaking work tasks outside of the office, it is vitally important that organisations invest in robust cybersecurity technology and software to avoid the potentially very costly consequences of a cybersecurity breach.
Upgrading from legacy technologies is also an important factor in ensuring a business is equipped for hybrid working.
What is very clear is that in order to gain from the benefits associated with hybrid work, organisations must invest – not only to modernise their IT environments – but to demonstrate to employees that they are committed to making hybrid working work.
In short, hybrid working doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, meaning it is up to business leaders to take advantage of its benefits by making a conscious effort to upgrade their technologies for the benefit of all.