Hybrid Working: the future work environment

Hybrid Working

Hybrid Working: the future work environment

The pandemic has caused significant changes in our lives. Everyone has had to adapt to how we interact with social distancing measures put in place, this has also affected how we collaborate as teams in our work lives. At first, lockdown measures had full workforces working remotely, the UK is now at a point in the pandemic where we are learning to live with the virus. This has left many businesses at a crossroads of how they see their employees work environment for the future.

According to McKinsey & Company, 9 out of 10 organisations will combine remote and on-site working together in the emerging ‘Hybrid Working’ as their post-pandemic working model. This work concept is being discussed by organisations across all industries. The survey of 100 executives across industries discovered 32% of organisations have only discussed hybrid working with no aligned plan or vision. 4% haven’t even started thinking about it.

The introduction of Hybrid Working into a business has an impact on an IT department in a variety of ways to how they will operate in the future.

Extended Support Desk Hours

The freedom to work from home or remotely comes with the flexibility for workforces to choose their work hours. Some IT users prefer to work early to have an early finish and some prefer to work late. IT teams that have prepared for implementing hybrid working, will ensure their support desk is ready and prepared to support users outside of the standard 9-5 working hours.

If an IT team is not able to support IT users outside of standard working hours, a resolution to help relieve the pressure of support is to outsource their support desk tasks which can allow an IT team to focus its resources on improving the business rather than mundane tasks.

Remote support

IT users will always require support in whatever work environment they are in. IT support can sometimes become difficult with off-site users if the correct infrastructure is not set up. The introduction of remote management tools such as a remote agent enables IT teams and third-party support providers to still supply direct support. Virtual access to a users desktop that comes from an agent, alongside direct contact to the user through live chat, phone and email, all builds towards meeting SLA as part of a efficient support service such as Knight IT’s Boundless Support.

Equipment to home-based workers/supporting employee-provided equipment.

In a hybrid work environment, IT users will require hardware to use when working remotely, as well as still having permanent hardware available for users on-site. Many businesses have deployed a dedicated work laptop that enables the user to work in any location. However, it is often the case that an IT user will require further equipment and infrastructure in place to ensure productivity levels remain at a high standard wherever they are working.

IT users may require additional resources. This tends to be extra monitors, docking stations and additional equipment such as tablets. With shrinking IT budgets across industries, hardware supplied to create remote workstations will have an effect on the IT budget. Some businesses will find themselves needing to reconsider their IT hardware strategy, so that it is cost-effective and can ensure the hardware is utilised and not redundant with the risk of depreciation.

The implementation of Virtual Desktops like Knight IT’s Virtual Desktop as a Service can help ease the cost of a hybrid workplace by being utilised across multiple different types of hardware and can be used anywhere.

User productivity

At the start of the pandemic, business leaders did have concerns that fully remote workforces would not match the productivity levels associated with a workforce located on-site. Mckinsey & Company once again discovered that 2 out of 3 productivity leaders reported that when there was a consistency of “micro-transactions” towards their team ensured that productivity levels did not drop. The micro-transactions included:

  • Opportunities to discuss projects
  • Share Ideas
  • Mentoring
  • Coaching    

Businesses that have found success in keeping productivity levels high with a remote workforce have often implemented IT policies for applications and software. Workforces that are operating across disparate systems and applications will not be collaborating efficiently within their team.

Digital work processes

Employees are still working together in their relevant teams, using online collaboration tools. For these employees to work efficiently, work processes and document management and storage still need to be completed in a centralised location. This location should be available for all team members as easily as if they were working on site. User experience will play a significant role in ensuring implementing hybrid working is successful and does not see a drop in productivity. “Users are going to expect the highest level of technology. It’s no longer acceptable to have a degradation of technology for those who work outside the office” says Forrester’s Hewitt. Making sure that all users have access to a centralised storage location, that is protected and secure will be a key pillar of all hybrid working strategies.

Workforces becoming dispersed was expected over the next 5-10 years with advancements in cloud powered tools, but the pandemic has forced these changes upon businesses that are here to stay permanently. There is no doubt that hybrid working will be a strategy adopted across a variety of industries in the months to come as we look to get some normality back into our lives. Some employees will be more than happy to oblige to come back to the office whereas others will decide they prefer the working from home lifestyle. Businesses need to ensure they are prepared to work together with their employees to find the best balance that works for their IT users and for the business.

Knight IT understands what is required to implement a successful hybrid working environment for IT users. Our range of services and hardware provided empowers users to be able to work anywhere in a modern workplace. To find out more get in touch.