The worldwide pandemic has forced businesses to operate from their employees' homes. While you might expect employees will return to the office after the pandemic is over, your employees, especially younger ones, may have a different opinion.
A PwC survey showed that remote work is a top priority for young workers. They would even give up more of their future earnings for the option of work remotely. Most companies surveyed by PwC expect themselves implementing the hybrid office model in the 2nd quarter of 2021.
Plus, McKinsey's survey found that most employees prefer a more flexible working model after the pandemic is over.
The survey also showed that most employees would like to work from home at least three days per week in the future.
Well, what does this mean employers like you?
Chances are, your company may need to evolve from an on-site premise to a hybrid office working environment.
To ease your transition process, this article covers everything you need to know about setting up a hybrid office, including:
A hybrid office is a working environment model where your employees work from different locations and sometimes, at different hours.
This environment can include local and international employees working in an office, home, or a local coffee shop.
The idea behind this strategy is to maximize productivity by having people's time be spent on where and when they do their best work.
For example, someone who works better in a quiet environment might choose to work from home most days instead of working in the office. On the other hand, social butterflies would choose to go to the office more often.
Choosing where to work and when to work is one of our innate needs for freedom. When your employees have better control in their career, including location and timing, their mental health improves, morale boosts and productivity soars.
Your company can now hire talents from anywhere worldwide and get access to talents that you can't get locally.
According to LinkedIn, remote job postings have increased more than 5 times during the pandemic and more talents are taking notice.
With fewer people working on-site, you don't have to rent a big space, and reduce electricity and water consumption, and the number of cleaners and other workers.
The average time taken to commute in Malaysia and Singapore is 1 hour and 20 minutes (two-way). Multiply that by 5 days, and your employees have wasted 6 hours and 40 minutes per week. Imagine if it's a year, a decade, even a lifetime. If it's a lifetime (60 years), your employees could have spent 2 years of their life on the road.
The good news is that hybrid office models can offer your employees more family time and 'me' time instead of getting stuck in a traffic jam or public transport.
Hybrid office concept is still fairly new in Asia, but many employees already prefer companies to adopt this new working model. Not to mention, the hybrid office model also promotes work-life balance, which is an employee's top priority.
Mention that you allow your employees to choose when to work remotely and at the office; you'll likely attract and retain more talents than your competitors.
Transitioning from a fully on-premise office to a hybrid office has its own fair share of challenges. To make sure you're fully prepared, these are some of the potential challenges you might face during the transition period:
We understand that changing from an on-site to a hybrid office is easier said than done. There are many policies, communications, and implementations to take and unpredictable challenges to overcome in the process.
Ever heard of the adage: Ask the right questions to find the right answers?
This section equips you with the right questions to ask yourself and the management team when considering moving to a hybrid office. With the right questions, you'll be able to uncover blindspots you've missed and dig deeper into actionable details.
It's time for businesses to rethink the purpose of an office. Most employers think offices increase productivity and collaboration, provide a place to meet clients, and enable company culture.
But employees think otherwise. They believe offices are great for collaboration, accessing equipment or documents securely, meeting with clients or colleagues, and getting training and career development.
Clearly, companies need to go through a thorough evaluation of what happens in the office spaces. Specify who needs to be in the office and what they can expect to accomplish where there.
One of the hybrid office principles is the ability to choose where and when to work.
But it doesn't mean free-form. You need to figure out which employees should come into the office and how often. Give them a range of options to choose from and communicate hybrid work policies to each employee.
For example, the minimum number of days working in the office for a computer engineer is 2 days per week. Whereas, an IT support engineer needs to work in the office at least 3 days per week.
Tip: Consider switching manual tasks such as filing, bookkeeping, and benefits claims to online.
Identify all the job roles in the company and find out what tools they use. You can think of remote work tools in 3 different dimensions:
Each employee uses different tools to complete their daily tasks. Some of the examples are SAP, Salesforce, JIRA, ERP, Microsoft Office, Adobe, and many more.
Ensure each of the tools used is accessible remotely with a secure connection. Consider using a VPN if you haven't already.
Also, consider educating your employees to do basic troubleshooting if the tools can't be used. IT support will be difficult if the employee doesn't know where the F12 button is.Hi
What do your employees do in the office when they're discussing or brainstorming? Do they tend to draw on the whiteboard? Do they use sticky notes?
Observe how your employees collaborate in the office and replicate them as much as possible online.
There are collaboration tools with meeting rooms, whiteboards, sticky notes, and many more.
How would your employees communicate with each other, work and non-work related?
Most companies focus on using communication tools such as Slack, Teams, Skype, and others for work-related messages.
But more companies are also replicating that "water cooler chitchat" online. They organize online chit-chat sessions where employees just say whatever they want to say. Small talk helps to build connections and relieve some of the stress.
Try creating multiple Facebook or internal groups of different interests. Let your employees of similar interests mingle and talk about what they love.
If your company has always been an on-premise office work model, we understand it might be challenging to switch to a hybrid office. There are many aspects to think about, and sometimes, it can be intimidating.
But, take your time and create the conversations you need with your management team. Tackle each question and challenge above one step at a time.
If your HR is manually sorting out your employee's medical claims, and that is one of the reasons stopping you from shifting, our Benefits Specialists can help you with that. Just drop your contact details here and we'll be in touch!