As businesses prepare to emerge from the pandemic, we discuss the benefits of adopting a ‘hybrid’ workforce and what organisations need to consider in terms of their IT and infrastructure in order to support it.
The new normal
The ‘hybrid workforce’ is not an entirely new concept, it’s actually something businesses have adopted for some time – after all, its just a structure that allows employees from an organisation to work across different sites, whether that’s at home, in the office, in the warehouse and so on. Since the onset of COVID, hybrid workforces have become essential rather than optional for many, and thus since finding that it can actually work in their favour, business decision-makers are now beginning to factor the idea into future plans.
According to research by Gartner, before COVID struck, only 10% of employees were working remotely all the time. That’s predicted to nearly double to 19% in the UK after the pandemic, with 48% predicted to work remotely at least some of the time. Another study found that 55% of US workers want to continue a mix of home and office working post lockdown.
Benefits of a hybrid workforce
Probably one of the most obvious benefits is cost savings due to reduced facilities costs as businesses will require less space – either closing offices down or relocating to smaller premises – especially in major cities where the cost of living is high. But more than just allowing businesses to reinvest in other areas, the costs saved from going hybrid might also benefit their customers further down the line in terms of product pricing, thus giving those businesses a competitive advantage.
Staff retention & recruitment
A hybrid workforce provides employees with greater autonomy and flexibility, which in turn can boost productivity and engagement. It can also set employers apart in the recruitment process if remote working is not just offered as a perk but instead a requirement/option – which might also help in terms of retaining current staff.
Speed up digital transformation
Many organisations understand that they need to undergo at least some form of digital transformation to thrive in today’s business environment. COVID has forced workforces to adopt digital tools such as video conferencing and cloud services that they may not have before, perhaps even starting the digital journey for some businesses who hadn’t initially planned to.
It’s a common concern that remote working causes a decrease in productivity, however the Gartner Remote Work After COVID-19 report states that 83% of employees have said that they’re more productive working from home, while 78% agree they want to work remotely to avoid distractions. The report also shows that employees noted higher contribution levels when working from home, and that remote workers view their organisation more favourably than none-remote workers.
What should businesses consider if they want to operate successfully as a hybrid workforce?
Cloud – collaboration tools
If nothing else, businesses need to ensure they are making use of the cloud and all the benefits it offers. Something as simple as a Microsoft 365 deployment can ensure easy file access, file sharing and video conferencing to keep remote workforces connected with each other and those in the office.
Cloud solutions also save costs on running on-premises servers amongst many other benefits. Read more about our cloud solutions here.
It’s no secret that cyber crime has increased during remote working, from increased phishing attempts to large scale ransomware attacks. The FBI reported a staggering 400% increase in cyber security complaints after the onset of the pandemic.
Employees are more vulnerable at home especially if they are using unsecured networks. Simply enabling multi-layer authentication on corporate devices will help safeguard against cyber attacks, although its very important for companies to consider a longer term cyber security plan if they plan to go hybrid.
Read more about our cyber security solutions and how you can keep your hybrid workforce safe.
It’s quite common for home networks to be less efficient than the corporate network, not to mention less secure. Our connectivity solutions include deployment of stable and safe internet connections which can be spread across different locations, including ISP cabling solutions whereby a secondary internet line can be installed directly to employees homes for a stronger and more secure internet line.
There are a number of benefits to going hybrid, however with such a dramatic shift in the way businesses will operate, organisations need to really consider the changes they might need to make to their current infrastructure to support the transition and ensure the security and efficiency of their new workforce.
Contact us to find out more information on our services and how we can help you support a more flexible way of working.