The results are in, and despite a minority of business owners who need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century (who are still attempting to force their employees back to the office full-time), the hybrid office is here to stay.
Prior to the lock downs, many people would have responded to the concept by asking ‘what is hybrid work?’ However, as the world has seen now, remote work is a completely viable method of doing business and even brings with it a whole host of other benefits that employees aren’t willing to relinquish.
|“74% of US businesses are already in favor of a permanent hybrid office.” |
But for employers, designing the hybrid office wherein their employees work closely with one another (and thereby effectively) presents its own set of challenges.
More specifically, the hybrid workplace and the inclusion of remote workers has nearly abolished the face-to-face nature of the workplace itself, and replaced it with a new set of long-term challenges that has completely reshaped the future of work, post-pandemic.
To help you navigate this new normal and create success in a hybrid office of remote workers and in-person workers, this blog will dive deep into the hybrid work model, specifically how employers can use (and should be using) IT to achieve the level of success that so many other businesses have already proven is possible.
What is a Hybrid Office?
A hybrid office is a work environment that combines elements of remote work and in-person work.
In a hybrid office, employees have the flexibility to work from home or return to the office several days a week, depending on their needs and preferences. The hybrid office model has become increasingly popular in recent years, driven in part by advances in technology and changing attitudes towards work-life balance.
|“Gone is the single-use conference room, gone is the norm of all team members working out of leased office space real estate 5 days a week, and gone is the relative ease of fostering an in-person company culture.”|
In order to make your hybrid office function efficiently and safely, there are 10 specific IT and planning best practices that should be followed.
10 Essential Tips for Managing IT in a Hybrid Office
Here are 10 key best practices for setting up and managing a hybrid office in 2023:
1. Establish clear policies and guidelines for remote work
It is important to define the rules and expectations for remote work, including communication protocols, work hours, and security guidelines.
These policies should be communicated to all employees and regularly reviewed and updated. Employers can create a remote work policy document that covers all aspects of remote work.
2. Implement a reliable and secure communication system
Remote employees need to be able to communicate with each other and with the office.
A reliable and secure communication system, such as Microsoft Teams or Slack, can facilitate seamless communication and collaboration. Businesses should evaluate and choose a communication platform that meets their specific needs and ensure that all employees are trained in its use.
3. Provide employees with the necessary hardware and software
Employees should have the necessary hardware and software to work effectively from remote locations.
Businesses can provide laptops, mobile devices, and software licenses to ensure that employees have access to the tools they need. Businesses should also ensure that remote employees have access to technical support and assistance.
4. Utilize cloud-based tools for collaboration and file sharing
Cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, can facilitate collaboration and file sharing among remote and in-office employees.
These tools offer secure access to company data from any location, reducing the risk of data loss or theft. Businesses should choose a cloud-based tool that is secure and easy to use for their employees.
5. Invest in cybersecurity measures
Cybersecurity is critical in a hybrid office environment.
Companies should invest in cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software, and two-factor authentication, to protect against cyber threats. Businesses should also train their employees in best practices for data protection, such as avoiding phishing scams and using strong passwords.
6. Encourage regular communication and team building
Regular communication and team building activities are important for building a sense of community among remote and in-office employees.
Business owners/operators can organize virtual team building activities, such as online games or quizzes, to foster a sense of connection and engagement. Additionally, regular team meetings or check-ins can help keep everyone on the same page.
7. Establish a remote work schedule
A clear and consistent remote work schedule can help employees plan their work and ensure that they are available when needed.
Employers can establish a schedule that works for both the employee and the business and communicate it to all employees. It is important to ensure that employees are available during key business hours and that they are not working too many hours.
8. Provide training and support for remote work
Remote work can be challenging for some employees, particularly if they are not used to it.
Companies should provide training and support to help employees adjust to remote work and manage their workload effectively. This can include providing resources such as productivity tips, mental health resources, and time management tools.
Learn more about role of hybrid office IT and what a third-party IT management company can do for your business:
9. Monitor and track productivity
It is important to monitor and track employee productivity in a hybrid office environment.
Businesses can use project management tools or time-tracking software to monitor employee progress and ensure that projects are completed on time. It is important to balance monitoring productivity with employee autonomy and trust.
10. Regularly review and adjust policies and procedures
Hybrid office environments are constantly evolving, and policies and procedures should be regularly reviewed and adjusted as needed.
C-suite executives should solicit feedback from employees and use it to improve policies and procedures. Additionally, regular reviews of IT infrastructure and security protocols can ensure that the company is prepared for any new cybersecurity threats or data protection regulations.
Implementing these tips can help businesses effectively manage IT in a hybrid office environment and ensure that employees are productive and engaged, whether they are working from the office or remotely.
Perfecting IT in a Hybrid Office Design with Outsource Solutions Group as Your MSP
By following the essential tips outlined above, businesses can give themselves the best chance at creating an IT infrastructure that supports a hybrid office environment and ensures that employees have the tools they need to work effectively, whether they are in the office or remote.
Although, even by following the above best practices, managing IT in a hybrid office environment can be complex and time-consuming, which is why many businesses turn to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) for assistance.
Outsource Solutions Group (OSG) is an MSP that specializes in helping businesses manage their IT infrastructure in hybrid office environments. With expertise in cybersecurity, cloud computing, and communication tools, OSG can help businesses create a secure and efficient IT environment that supports a hybrid office design.
Contact us today for a free consultation and discover how we can deliver consistent ROi on your outsourced technology investment.