Back to normal doesn’t exist, so how do we adapt to the new paradigm?

hybrid working

In the “old normal” we were expected to be in a centralised office space during specific working hours, and if necessary, even relocate to the city where the organisation was based. However, COVID has turned this idea on its head.

Due to restrictions and lockdowns, what started as a necessary move to have everyone working from home, has actually become a standard expectation across industries.

Today, many small businesses and organisations have continued to embrace hybrid working, and leaders need to have those conversations on how we must adapt to meet this reality. Businesses must ensure they have the right technology stack in place to fulfil the “work wherever, whenever” era that we have entered.

Why did this shift happen?

Employees want flexibility. According to recent research, 64 per cent of employees believe that flexibility in hybrid work will affect their decision to leave or stay with a job. The last 18 months have shown that most employees can work remotely, and the transition back to full-time in-person working is not what employees are after anymore. No one wants to return to a five-day commute or the lack of flexibility of a full-time, in-office schedule.

In 2020, video conferencing saw a 500 per cent increase in demand spotlighting collaboration and communication technology with the rapid acceleration of digital-only workplaces. Asynchronous video is a method of communication we have seen skyrocket during this time as it bridges the gap between worldwide teams. Ideal for non-urgent messages, this type of communication allows co-workers or stakeholders to consume video updates in their own time. As it’s a way to express and share ideas, it gives employees comfort that their contribution won’t be missed or that they have to stay up late for midnight global calls.

In addition to this, small businesses rely heavily on collaboration tools such as video conferencing to communicate with internal and external contacts more than ever before.

How can you adapt to the new normal?

The pandemic has taught us that small businesses and organisations still have a lot of reenvisioning to work through, especially for remote-first workplaces. Here are some ways your business can adapt to the new normal:

  1. Make employee onboarding seamless by going virtual: Virtual onboarding can be challenging but there are a variety of ways that can make employees feel welcomed and connected. Create new-hire cohorts that ensure all employees can connect across the business, even if they’re outside their everyday teams.
  2. Move to work asynchronously: Not all work needs to happen in a meeting, whether in person or on Zoom. In fact, most work is best done on our own time and shared in a written or video message, limiting meetings to only when they are truly needed.
  3. Offering the “work from home” experience: Not all people have the luxury of their own home office. By offering home office setups and monthly internet reimbursements, you can set your employees up for success.
  4. Make it enjoyable: Employees are fatigued when it comes to online yoga classes and happy hours, but it’s still possible to have fun online. Be creative when organising virtual events by hosting a murder mystery or an escape room.

In a hybrid world, it’s important to have the right tools and technology stack in place to allow your business and employees to work efficiently and effectively, no matter where they are. As long as the work gets done and your employees feel seen and heard, people can cultivate a better work-life balance on their own terms.