Developing Your Hybrid Workforce

2 February 2021
4 minute
Developing Your Hybrid Workforce

Cast your minds back to early 2020. The commute, the rush to get into the office, the time spent at the water cooler; it’s all changed. With some people working from home and others back at the office, we have a new workplace reality, and we’re undergoing massive social and working change not seen since the industrial revolution. The Hybrid workforce is here to stay.

As with all change, we’re being challenged to learn, understand and even focus on new priorities to make the hybrid workforce a success and one we can successfully navigate into the future. 

We will look at what a hybrid workforce is, how to best manage one, why the future of work is hybrid and how to develop your own hybrid workforce.

What is a Hybrid Workforce? 

A hybrid workforce is where you have a mixture of your team working from home and at an office space. Some companies are trying to find the perfect balance for hybrid workplaces; a 50:50 split may be more common in the future, but some organisations such as Twitter and Google have discussed an 80:20 split for their future operations. 

Managing a Hybrid Workforce 

As with all change, being able to best manage new procedures and ways of working requires time. These have been challenging times for businesses and individuals alike. 

In a study conducted by independent researchers, Vanson Bourne, they discovered that many businesses weren’t fully prepared for employees to work from home (28%) and that technology was their biggest pain point (29%). More than a third of respondents said that remote IT support was lacking (35%) and that there was a significant lack of communication and collaboration tools to carry out essential tasks (27%). 

There have also been concerns raised about worker mental health. With many businesses seeing a growing trend of issues raised around isolation and even burnout. Employees have reported working longer hours with many also citing “feeling the need to contribute more than in office workers”.  

With more people working from home, these workplace challenges have become more visible and need to be addressed. An agile approach to workforce management may be required for some teams. This would be where workers still spend a portion of their time working from home but coming into the office to collaborate on projects, turning the office place into a hybrid business center. 

Ensuring that teams are managed effectively in a hybrid situation is essential. Several innovative suppliers provide remote worker solutions with advanced remote worker management software that can help the hybrid workforce hit the ground running. 

Why the Future of Work is Hybrid 

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we operate. More businesses are recognising the benefits of enabling remote work whilst acknowledging that there are challenges that need to be addressed. 

It would be unthinkable just a few years ago that we would have team members spending their time working remotely, but the role of technology has enabled this transition. We’re seeing the development of fully digitised work places. We’re holding meetings across different platforms, working with technology to monitor and maximise output and even social gatherings for colleagues are taking place digitally to minimise the impact of lack of social contact. 

Many organisations are looking to enable workers to continue their WFH after social distancing restrictions have been lifted. In a recent survey, over 50% of small businesses have said that they would continue to provide this opportunity with their workforce whilst 17% of workers in America will continue to work remotely at least 2 days a week - a significant change from the 3% that were doing so pre-pandemic. 

Hybrid Workforce Development 

In order to see if you can create an agile workforce, you need to experiment with your team how to best make this work. From understanding requirements of the roles to the kinds of work that are best suited to remote operations, your team needs to come together to see how to best manage these solutions. 

In order to make a success of hybrid team working, you need to create a culture of change. A culture that understands that not all roles are the same as they once used to be, and that the future success of the business is managing the social and business objectives moving forward.  

There may be tasks that can be solved with automation and effective AI. Processing jobs, data entry and even operational repetitive processes can work hand-in-hand with agile teams. 
Developing your hybrid workforce is a business essential process today. Think back just a year ago, and many of us wouldn’t have even considered it, how times change. Hybrid workforces manage the balance between in-person contact and remote working. Providing the right tools, management solutions and future-proofing your business to manage more workers spending time away from the office has become an essential business survival skill.

At Thomas International, our body of tools and knowledge can help you navigate these waters and provide essential insight into helping you and your teams succeed in a post-pandemic world. 

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