Several months after the COVID pandemic hit, businesses have woken to the benefits of remote and hybrid work. Most company owners no longer work 9-5, Monday to Friday, within the traditional office system. Hybrid is now embraced as the future of work almost everywhere.
However, while the hybrid work pattern seems to offer business owners the best of both office and remote worlds, since it is still pretty new to most companies’ work systems, many of them are coming to realize the challenges this pattern poses to organizations. By matching needed solutions with pressing challenges faced by companies, many will be able to improve their productivity and engagement and find it much easy to achieve their goals – resulting in a happy workforce.
So, what are the top challenges for hybrid workforces? First, let’s see the benefits of incorporating the hybrid work setup in your company.
Cost reduction is one of the obvious benefits of employing the hybrid system in an organization. If workers do not have to resume to the office every day, they will be able to cut down on costs of rent, energy, office supplies, and other necessary operating expenses. Aside from that, it will also reduce the employees’ cost of commuting to work.
Enhanced Work-Life Balance
Being able to work from anywhere, even just a few days a week, is enough to give a sense of freedom and increase productivity at work. In addition, the work system allows employees to control a massive part of their schedules without wasting several hours on public transport.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
The hybrid work system helps reduce carbon footprint, reducing how much time employees spend driving and taking public transport to work and carbon emissions.
High-level of Productivity
Since employees can decide when they want to work, avoid distractions within the office, and reduce the challenges around commuting to work, they are likely to be more productive and deliver better at their work.
Now, What are the Top Challenges for Hybrid Workforces?
Considering some benefits of deploying the hybrid workforce in your company, what are the likely challenges your business needs to overcome to bolster a productive and effective hybrid work environment?
1. High Possibilities of Cyber Attacks
The world experienced an unusual rate of cyber attacks during the pandemic when companies moved into remote work. A report by Comparitech in June 2020 showed a daily 75% spike in cyber attacks. A remote and hybrid workforce would have widened software attack surfaces.
A software’s attack surface is the number of points through which an unauthorized user can gain access to resources on a network or use data without the company’s consent. Utilizing SASE is a reliable way to secure network access and prevent potential threats and attacks.
SASE meaning Secure Access Service Edge is a cloud-based network security architecture that offers security to users, applications, data, and resources. It unifies multiple network security services in a cloud-delivered architecture considering that users are dispersed across a broad location. Business owners need to secure their companies and data utilizing standard software updates, ad hoc testing, password management systems, and multi-factor authentication systems.
It is also crucial that a recovery plan is put in place regardless of the measure of the security architecture created. Remote and hybrid workers must also be trained and equipped to understand potential risks to enterprise networks and how they can prevent them.
2. Enhanced Team-Work and Workplace in Culture
In a hybrid work system, business owners may find it challenging to implement practical teamwork activities and exercises to bolster a productive workplace culture. Most employees will not see one another often within the work environment; they may find it hard to maintain the required relationship. Additionally, employees within the office may form groups and cause the other workers who fall within the remote and hybrid setting to feel left out.
You can solve this challenge by utilizing video calling software like Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype for meetings. These will allow employees to chat face-to-face just like they would have done if they were in the same room. You’ll also host regular virtual or in-person events to help employees bond better. Whatever solution the employer wishes to deploy, it is their responsibility to utilize the required tools to boost employee communication and relationships.
3. High Possibility of Stress and Burnout
Since remote and hybrid employees will be working outside the traditional company offices most often, they are likely to work longer hours than stipulated in the company and take shorter breaks than their counterparts in the office. This approach can make it difficult for them to gauge the appropriate time for a break, especially when you are in an environment where everyone else is stuck to their screens and not leaving their desks.
With this, hybrid work can become quite exhausting. CNBC reported that over 80% of human resources executives revealed how hybrids are proving to be exhausting for employees. However, managers and departmental heads can control this by setting expectations around working overtime, taking break hours, and ensuring that all employees log out of their systems at a given time and turn their work email notifications off.
When work hours are not strictly prioritized, it can result in employees overworking and poor work life. Feeling drained and exhausted can also be a usual response to some of the other challenges of the hybrid system.
4. Magnified Communication Silos
Hybrid work systems can create and magnify communication silos among employees against the bigger picture of company goals. Company workers who work remotely or on a hybrid system might miss out on some spontaneous communication among colleagues.
And even when video calling apps are utilized, some vital information might be missing in the translation. For example, a report showed that about 60% of the remote workforce miss out on crucial corporate information because it was conveyed in person.
Employees need to engage in open communication to boost morale at work. Also, in a situation where communication is distorted, remote and hybrid employees can feel isolated or confused, which may impact hybrid systems’ cultural challenges, ultimately resulting in two different organizational cultures.
One will be guided by in-office workers receiving firsthand work and communication benefits, and another will be directed by a system where workers feel alone and invisible – further frustrating the possibility of collaboration.
A possible way out is to implement a unified communication strategy that incorporates all your business productivity and communications tools on one platform. With this, customer data will be made accessible and reachable across the different departments in your company.
Consider a business phone system that works like CRM integrations and call tracking software and will bolster communication among employees from department to department so that all necessary information about a lead or customer can be tracked regardless of their location.