Why is a blended workforce a good thing?
We’re hearing more and more about blended workforces lately. There’s good reason for that; COVID-19 has prompted many of us to start working from home. More of us are working as freelancers, and as demands rise and fall more unpredictably than ever, teams are flexing to meet new challenges. Against that landscape, teams that work in office and remotely, are made up of full timers and freelancers, are seamlessly blended, and proving incredibly effective. Here’s why…
Five advantages of blended working
A more productive workforce
Blended workforces come in a huge range of formulations, but the key is flexibility. In teams where both full-time staff and freelancers are free to work remotely, productivity improves. For many, this is down to the level of concentration that is more easily achieved when distractions are removed. 77% are more productive when working from home and 76% would avoid the office if there was a project which required their full attention. As Jason Fried of 37signals explained in his TED talk, when we really want to get something done, most of us leave the office. Giving employees the flexibility to do just that ensures no project is left unfinished.
Become more agile
One of the biggest drivers behind blended working, and one of its greatest advantages, is the fact that it allows businesses to become more agile and responsive. With policies and procedures in place for onboarding freelance and temporary staff, your company is better placed to respond to new challenges. You can take on workers with highly specialised skillsets to meet specific demands with relative ease. A recent study from Harvard Business School found that 40% of those who use remote talent acquisition platforms – a common tool for blended workplaces – reported that accessing skilled remote workers helped improve speed to market, boost productivity, and increase innovation.
Flexibility increases retention
Building flexibility into your organisation does more than boost productivity. As remote and flexible working has become more popular, it has become a more appealing ‘work perk’ too. A massive 72% of us want to see a shift to a hybrid remote-office way of working and 44% of our teams are already working remotely. Like any good benefit, this shift to blended working improves retention. 22% of us would even stay in the same role for a decade or more, with no increase in salary or other benefits, if we were able to work remotely when desired. HR professionals already see how important this is, with 72% agreeing that it’s vital to the future of recruitment. A blended workforce, then, might be coming for us all. Embrace it early and you’ll see more of the benefits realised.
Improve your diversity
Diversity and inclusion are issues we’ve discussed before (find out more about our research into the subject right here) and they are often on the minds of business owners. Building a diverse workforce can lead to innovation, loyalty and even boost retention. Blended workforces can contribute to creating more diversity in your teams by allowing those who might not be able, or not wish, to work from your office the opportunity to become part of your organisation all the same. People with disabilities, for example, are more likely to be self-employed or work on a freelance basis and women leave the workforce at an alarming rate when family concerns, like caring for young children or elderly relatives, come into play. Offering flexibility, both with remote working and a variety of contract options, opens up your company to a more diverse workforce.
It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a blended workforce, but flexible teams can be a good thing if you need to cut budgets. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, it’s important to recognise that different forms of employment come with different renumeration. Experience and skills will always warrant better compensation, but only employees (not freelancers, contractors or temporary workers) are entitled to benefits. Those benefits account for roughly 30% of a full-timer’s salary. Independent contractors are less likely to take time out and are less likely to suffer from burnout too, so you can save on delays with a team that combines full-timers and freelancers.
It’s not all sunshine and smiles though. Remote employees can feel disconnected from the main business, and blended teams that feature a mix of in office and remote employees can be incredibly difficult to manage. However, with the right communication tools in place, there is no excuse to not be connecting with all members of your team effectively whether they are in the office or at home.
Already the idea is taking hold and, thanks to COVID-19, the number of us working in flexible locations has tripled. So maybe now is the perfect time to consider how you can implement blended working and reap the benefits too.
Here at DRPG we use blended teams and blended work practices to ensure we make anything possible. Whatever your project, we have someone on board with a solution, so reach out today and we’ll get started right away.
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