Strategies for building a hybrid workplace

The world seems to have learned to live with the pandemic for quite some time now. This is the right time to blend the best features and experiences of a physical workspace and remote working to create what has come to be known as the hybrid workplace.

A hybrid workplace is a plan that incorporates a mixture of in-office and remote work in an employee’s schedule. While some may prefer a return to in-person socializing of the physical office, many have become accustomed to the flexibility that comes with virtual work. Practically no commute time, more time with family and a stronger work-life balance are the perks people have come to enjoy. If business leaders want people to return to the physical work environment, they will have to ensure a better experience and better perks in order to retain and attract talent.

There is no one-size-fits all hybrid working model. Each company can develop one based on their needs.

There will be Remote-first models where the working model will be closely akin to fully remote-working with only a few employees working from office. This model favors employees who work across various time zones and need to collaborate online.

There is then the Occasional office model where a Company has not transitioned all the way to full remote-working and continues to have some of the employees come into the physical office a few times a week.

Lastly, there is the Office- preferred, remote-allowed workplace where the physical office is the primary workplace and remote working is permitted in specific need-based cases.

Understanding and appreciating the three primary drawbacks and benefits of hybrid workplace culture will help in successfully implementing successful models.

  1. Reduced operations cost from real estate capital expenditure, reducing office footprint and spend on business travel.
  2. Increased productivity is a bonus as 82% of leaders of companies across Europe indicated that their companies are at least equally productive as before.
  3. Increased job satisfaction was reported by 65% of the employees who could work from home and office at-will.

  1. Remote training issues are a challenge and need to be addressed by developing right training solutions for both virtual and in-person needs.
  2. Potential employee burnout is a real issue as remote employees tend to overcompensate and hence corporates need to de-emphasize simply being logged on and measure and offer feedback on actual work output.
  3. Managing the hybrid workplace culture is relatively new to most leaders and 30% of leaders have expressed concern over this when physical- office and remote- working co-exist.

In working towards achieving an optimally functional and productive hybrid workplace, employers need to focus on a few key parameters:

  1. The physical and digital experiences must be seamlessly intertwined to ensure equity, engagement and ease. Designing for employee engagement in digital -to-physical space means thinking like a movie director- lights, camera, audio, content must all be considered as functional contributors. Research tells that more people will connect to a meeting on their individual devices as well as the technology in the room.
  • Enclosed spaces must be open. Meetings will happen more often in open spaces with movable boundaries and individual focus work will happen in enclosed spaces like pods or small enclosures. Open collaboration spaces can be adapted and changed as new work patterns emerge.
  • Real estate must be optimized by drawing a balance between permanent and flexible space. e.g. an open area that supports hybrid meetings in the morning becomes the café at lunch, hosts a community meeting hall in the afternoon and can be rented out for an evening/night event.
  • Employees must be able to easily move between “we’’ and ‘’me’’ time without having to relocate physically. Gensler Research Institute shows a 37% drop in average collaboration time for full time remote working employees. Hence leaders have rightfully focused on workplace team building to achieve corporate goals. However, collaboration is not just about group work, it actually requires solitude too. Effective collaboration happens when people come together as a team and then move apart to focus individually, process their ideas and follow up on assigned tasks. Too much together time without individual focus time can result in group think. So it is important that workplaces are designed by not putting too much emphasis on the “we” spaces and balance it by factoring in the need for “me” spaces.
  • It is important for leaders in hybrid workplaces to be largely driven by data based decisions and have effective measurement tools for workplace satisfaction. 49% employees rated clarity and transparency in flexible remote working policies important when seeking a new job.
  • Employees need to be constantly supported by interacting, sharing, and conducting exercises to foster mutual trust, care and respect for one another. Leaders must motivate and connect employees to larger corporate goals in order to maintain engagement and productivity.
  • Training and development is always going to be a key and critical area. More so because traditional training methods are now passe and the solution to the hybrid workforce training challenges lie in self-paced learning which can be accessed by employees at their convenient time and speed. A Digital Adoption Platform enables self-paced learning.

At Aligned Studios, we have found amazing success with the remote working model. At the same time, we have been able to blend seamlessly into our client organizations who have adopted different working models to suit their cultures and business objectives. The strength of our team lies in understanding operating modes of our clients and integrating that with our team structures.

Let’s discuss how you can make the hybrid working model work for your company!

6 disruptive advanced technologies that are changing our world

As the pandemic has exposed, embracing advanced technologies is not a choice anymore. The future is now and in order to be current, you need to be tech-savvy.

Business leaders know they must prepare for more disruptions in technology in the years ahead. It can be an overwhelming task to stay up-to-date with new technologies, their intricacies and predicting updates. We make it easy for you to keep track of what matters. Here are some technologies that can change the course of the industry and you need to be prepared for:

  • Artificial Intelligence

Simulating human intelligence in machines used to be confined to science fiction. But in recent decades, AI is helping solve critical problems in transportation, retail, and health care. AI has come a long way. We have voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant now. Soon it will be incorporated into robot servants. AI can impact chatbots, logistics, self-driving cars, virtual nursing assistants, learning systems, and even creativity in the near future.

  • Blockchain

The encryption technique behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, blockchains work as a secure digital ledger. Many startups are bringing it to voting, lotteries, ID cards and identity verification, graphics rendering, welfare payments, job hunting and insurance payments.

Blockchain has decentralized records. Unlike traditional records, which were stored in one location, blockchain exists on nodes spread across the system. It makes it almost impossible to tamper with or lose the data.

The full potential of blockchain hasn’t been explored yet. It could be used for patient records at hospitals, to secure voting in elections and also to track logistics across supply chains. We haven’t even touched upon its benefits in the banking and cybersecurity systems.

  • 5g

5g networks which allow more devices to connect and provide a more relaible signal, are 100 times faster than the once-fast 4g network.

The Internet of things(IoT) will be built on the backbone of the 5g network. The IoT basically expands the power of the internet beyond screens to objects of daily use in our surroundings.

Smart cities driven by an IoT system will become an ecosystem of interconnected devices and will change the way we work with data. In these smart cities, everything will be linked from phones and cars to apartments and buildings. The sensors everywhere will people’s living experiences, reduce waste, prevent traffic, and provide sustainable solutions for all. The data collected in real time will be sped up by the 5g network. 

  • Augmented reality and Virtual Reality

Just a few years ago, no one had any idea that augmented reality would infact, become a reality. But, here we are! 

With the decrease in hardware costs, and simultaneous increase in processing power, the bigtech companies have already invested in AR. Thwy will soon bring it to the mainstream through the metaverse.

The retail experience will be revolutionized by this technology. With more widespread acceptance of augmented reality apps in smartphones, it will become easier to sell more of these advanced technologies.

  • 3D printing

Many refer to 3D printing as the fourth industrial revolution. 3D printing got an early foothold as a method to design prototypes of just about anything. Manufacturers can now build plastic components that are lighter than metal, ans also with unusual shapes that can’t be made by the regular molding methods.

3D printing is changing the way we build homes, design cars, and products in a big way. The potential of its application could go even further. Medical institutions have 3D printed functioning organs that could be used in transplants. We can even 3D print foods and vitamins, especially formulated for different biological needs and health requirements. Additive manufacturing will even play a role in the creation of rockets that will get us to space and the colonies envisioned on Mars. As 3D printing costs continue to plummet, you can expect to see it everywhere.

  • Quantum Computing

Although the computers that we use todaay are quite powerful, there are considerable limitations to them. This is moreso when it comes to challenging machine-learning problems. Quantum computers rely on quantum bits that carry information and can exist in a state which allows quantum computers to process challenging datasets better. Thus, it can help to solve otherwise impossible to solve problems and produce serious machine-learning breakthroughs.

Research in quatum computing is being funded by companies and nations alike. They’re hoping that this investment will open up possibilities in biochemistry, logistics, transport, materials design, finance, artificial intelligence and more. Through speedy simulations, quantum computing can make big data more manageable by cutting costly development time.

Navigating these changes will challenge business leaders for sure. These future technologies that will change the world are in some way interconnected and they show us that it is important that organizational leaders don’t have a one-track mind. To focus on just one emerging technology or one business model of the future is to risk the longetivity of your company. The question is not which advanced technologies will dominate, but what is the potential of each technology and how these may work together to benefit you.

The key is to keep an open mind and capitalize on emerging new technologies with the help of the right team. Afterall, it is the human factor that makes the biggest difference.

Which other technology do you think is going to be a big disruptor in the coming years?