For many years, technology has had the power to help us as businesses create robust, adaptable workplaces regardless of geographical restrictions. The concept of remote or flexible working has been bandied around the more progressive company boardrooms since key stakeholders started to accept that the world of work was moving in a more nomadic, flexible direction. Technology was already allowing us to connect, work and run our businesses online and we could see significant cost savings, environmental efficiencies and time savings to name but a few of the many benefits.
Enter COVID-19 in March 2020 and we see vast swathes of the UK forced to become remote workers and organisations around the country rushing to implement the necessary platforms to continue to function. Now with restrictions lifting we will see a huge surge of people heading back to the office, while many will choose the home working model – leaving organisations with yet another unknown, the hybrid or blended workforce.
Early adopters of remote working were likely not hit as hard by these changing times, as they have previous measures in place, be it technology or otherwise, to help them effectively engage a dispersed team. These unwittingly prophetic methods will undoubtedly help them navigate the unchartered waters and overcome the challenges presented by a huge and rapid move towards fully hybrid workforces.
However, for those, often more traditional or restricted businesses who have previously stuck to their ‘business as usual no matter what’ guns, it is time for them to face the possibility that a 'new normal' is being created - one where a hybrid or blended workforce model will become a default way of working for many of us and this requires some robust digital solutions to overcome the communication challenges that can occur with this type of working.
In many ways crisis has led to a fast tracking of the inevitable, forcing businesses to be innovative and adaptive in their digital solutions and to implement new ways of connecting with their internal audiences – and fast! Through this accidental innovation, all businesses are being forced to identify gaps in their digital offerings and react fast to create functional and engaging digital workspaces or risk alienating their internal audience at a critical time. The negative effects of poorly connected workforces are well documented and include creating siloed workforces and reducing overall effectivity in a time where collaboration and sticking together is most key. This is one of the biggest fears for many when it comes to blended workforces.
Of course technology plays a huge role this and finding the right digital solution for each individual company is vital. At DRPG we have been talking for some time about the gap between internal and external comms and the issue of Perception vs Reality which explores businesses’ inability, or worse unwillingness, to communicate with their internal audiences via the same tech channels through which they talk to their external audiences. Now we are seeing previously restrictive or restricted hands being forced to adapt to tech that allows companies to speak freely to their team members in a way that truly works and shake off the shackles of infrastructure and risk averse boards who previously limited communication to more traditional, comfortable channels.
So, with all of this in mind and businesses being forced to feel their way to innovation, it will be interesting to see what happens when the time comes to go hybrid. People’s expectations, attitudes and preferences have irrevocably changed to embrace a more modern way of working so we need to embrace the digital solutions at our fingertips to help us continue to work together and collaborate despite our ongoing separation.
Key factors to consider when looking at your digital solution for a blended workforce:
- Version control
- Multi-device optimisation
If you are looking at a hybrid workplace future and want to make sure you have the best digital solutions in place, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org as we can help you out. Starting with a communications audit can be a fantastic way to gain insight into how your employees are and would like to be communicating. From there we can help you build bespoke and adaptable communications tools that will support you in becoming a fully collaborative organisation regardless of geographical location.