At the start of the pandemic, businesses had to scramble to figure out how to keep their operations running. Some companies allowed their employees to work from home and found that they could conduct business just as effectively with a fully remote workforce. As a result, many organizations are now embracing remote work as the new normal.
However, most small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) don’t have the resources and infrastructure to let their employees work from home permanently. Fortunately, there’s a happy medium between fully remote work and on-site work: hybrid work.
Why should SMBs adopt hybrid work?
In a hybrid work arrangement, employees can work from home some days and come into the office on other days. For SMBs, hybrid work is the perfect solution because it offers the best of both worlds: the flexibility of remote work and the stability of in-office work. What’s more, it can be customized to fit the needs of each individual business.
When properly implemented, hybrid work can help SMBs become more agile, adaptable, and efficient. In a hybrid work environment, employees have the freedom to design their own workdays around their personal schedules and needs. This can lead to increased productivity because employees are better able to focus on tasks. This flexibility can ultimately lead to higher levels of engagement and job satisfaction.
How do you prepare your SMB for hybrid work?
There are a few things to keep in mind when preparing your business for hybrid work. First, you need to be consistent with your communications and expectations. Your employees should know when they’re expected to be in the office and when they’re allowed to work from home. It helps to have a clear plan for how hybrid work will be structured and systems for tracking employee attendance, managing projects, and communicating virtually.
Second, you must be flexible in your approach. Not every employee will want to or be able to work from home the same number of days each week. The key is to understand the needs of each individual and create a schedule that works for everyone. For example, some employees may prefer to work from home three days a week to care for their children, while others may need to be in the office for weeks at a time to avoid distractions at home. Desk-sharing or hot-desking arrangements can help ensure that everyone has a dedicated workspace for when they come to the office.
Third, you need to consider employee productivity and engagement. Providing employees with the right tools and resources is critical for keeping your employees productive wherever they may be. Be sure to give them access to high-speed internet, a comfortable work setup, and the right software and applications.
Employees also need to feel like they’re part of a team, even when they’re working remotely. Consider using video conferencing and instant messaging for regular check-ins and team meetings. You can also create dedicated spaces for hybrid workers to share files, collaborate on projects, and socialize. Doing so will help employees feel connected to their colleagues and the company, even when they’re not in the same physical space.
Finally, you need to beef up your cybersecurity. You may have good control over the security of your devices and data in the office, but you lose some of that control when employees work from home. To make sure your data is safe, you need to have a comprehensive cybersecurity plan that covers both in-office and remote work. This should include proactive measures like encrypting data, enabling multifactor authentication, and using a secure virtual private network.
Holding cybersecurity awareness training for employees is also a good way to ensure that everyone knows how to keep themselves and your data safe, no matter where they’re working.
Investing in the right tools and technologies is essential for preparing your SMB for hybrid work. But it’s just as important to create a company culture that supports and encourages this type of work arrangement. By being consistent, flexible, and aware of your employees’ needs, you can create a hybrid work environment that benefits every stakeholder.
If you think your SMB is ready for hybrid work, get in touch with outsourceIT today. We can help you assess your needs and find the right tools and technologies to support your transition.