Almost a year into COVID-19, employees from all over the globe are already used to working from home. With governments easing restrictions as the vaccines are in effect, employees might be required to work on-site.
Returning to the office full-time might not be a feasible solution for all. Some want to work in the office to socialize with coworkers. Others want to stay at home until the pandemic is under control. Some workers are open to a different working setup that will allow remote and on-site work.
Business leaders are looking into long-term plans for the post-pandemic workplace. Of course, not all industries will thrive in remote setups. This is the reason companies introduce alternative work structures like the hybrid workplace.
Introducing the hybrid workplace
The hybrid workplace can be flexible, but it can be complicated. This new way of working will require the implementation of various systems. The hybrid setup does offer freedom with where and when one works. However, it still values structure and communication. Most companies that practice the hybrid setup allot workdays for office meetings.
Employees are then allowed to work remotely for the rest of the workweek. Employers can require attendance for events such as orientations and project launches. But the rest of the tasks can be done from home. During days of remote work, employees must keep their communication channels active. This will allow constant communication between teams throughout the workday.
Physical changes to the hybrid office
The hybrid office will focus on encouraging a healthier workforce. This change will reflect an eco-friendly or sustainable working climate. With this, cramped offices will be a thing of the past. The new hybrid setup will embrace physical distancing and health protocols.
Some offices still have plexiglass panels to maintain distance between employees. Eventually, these will be removed as the workplace maintains a hybrid rhythm. Individual workstations will have more space to follow safety protocols. There will also be more collaborative spaces for meetings. Meeting rooms will have video conferencing equipment to allow remote attendees.
The office will also have improved ventilation and lighting. There will be more windows that allow better air quality and natural lighting. Working in an environment with natural lighting helps improve one’s mental health and productivity. Moreover, good air quality provides a healthier atmosphere in the workplace. More workplaces will incorporate nature in their design, so plants will be normal in the office.
Technological requirements for the hybrid workplace
Ensuring workforce productivity can be a challenge for business leaders. This is where technology improves the hybrid workplace. Some companies use applications that monitor what employees are doing in real-time. Others require that employees install a communication platform that is exclusive for work. Collaborative productivity apps will also be the norm for the hybrid setup. Video conferencing and email messaging will still be prevalent in the hybrid setup.
Cloud computing will also be the standard in the new normal workplace. File sharing is a must for remote work to be effective. Anyone can access company files over a shared and secure cloud server. While the world is far from becoming a paperless society, there is a possibility that the modern workplace will embrace this future. Paperwork will be less, and important business transactions will all be done online. This means clients do not need to be in the office to sign work contracts physically. Other important tasks will be automated as well.
The possible disadvantages of the hybrid workplace
Not everyone will enjoy the hybrid setup. Some employees can work efficiently at home. However, some employees are not as privileged as others. Certain tasks need a personal touch, and the hybrid setup might not be the best option for these.
For example, the quality of internet access can put an employee’s work at risk. This can be the case for businesses that are heavy on customer service. If they are not able to deliver on time, it can put the business at a disadvantage. Some employees have to attend to the demands of their household. These things can hold back an employee from performing their best at work.
Critics of the hybrid setup also believe that it can impose a problem of inclusion. There is a possibility that people who work in the headquarters will have better pay and better working conditions than those at home. Those working from home who are vying for a promotion at work might not have the same chance as those in the office.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for all workplaces. Hence, the hybrid workplace must be properly thought of before implementation. Deciding on which setup works for a company depends on the needs of the business and its clients. For now, we can only hope for the best for the post-pandemic workplace.