We know all about resilience in the context of our industry and business continuity. It’s defined as a network or system’s ability to seamlessly adapt to change while protecting its business and customers from all types of disruptions and disasters. As we move towards a return to the office in a hybrid way, being resilient is more and more important. The technology we use in the office and for remote working must enable effective collaboration, seamless connectivity and be secure.
But resilience extends way beyond the realms of technology alone. Yes, getting the technology right to support hybrid working will be essential. But both employers and employees need to think beyond the tech when it comes to getting it right for the longer term and for everyone. It’s about arming employees with the right collaboration tools to physically do their job but also to develop their emotional and mental resilience to support the emerging hybrid working model we’re facing in the future..
Building employee resilience
Understandably after more than a year away from the office for many of us, there may be a genuine sense of anxiety and stress at the prospect of returning.Employee wellbeing has a direct effect on employee performance, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure this is properly considered and looked after.
Some key actions to build into the return are:
Build good habits. Fatigue and burnout has become a genuine concern when working remotely as many people struggle to switch off. The collaboration tools that have enabled remote working also enable us to be contacted 24/7… means we’re actually able to be contacted 24/7! So try to schedule downtime, and step away from your workspace at regular points throughout the day. Scheduling downtime is as important as scheduling your meetings!
Use the collaboration tools to facilitate these good habits. Most remote working collaboration tools support this – for example, there are virtual tools that integrate scheduling with meetings. This means that video conference meetings are accessible from the scheduling tool, making it easy to connect in a way that maximises time management.
Be honest with yourself about what tasks will demand of you. Some tasks can be basic or repetitive and therefore just slot into your normal work day – with all the potential interruptions that might include. But others require “deep work” with undivided and focused attention. To maximise your productivity you could even gamify your deep work time by using apps such as Forest. Plant a tree in the app and it grows while you focus on your work. Open the app too early and your tree dies. It’s the tamagotchi of the modern working world, for those of you who remember the craze in the 1990s!
Resetting the employer mindset
Remember that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to satisfying staff within a hybrid work environment as not all employees will want the same office vs remote working mix.
Whatever the quantity of remote working, it shouldn’t be a lesser experience, but rather one that enhances worklife and delivers an equally enriched environment with its own set of unique advantages. From chat software to tools for widespread software access, employee satisfaction is about employees enjoying seamless access to everything they need to stay productive at home. Make the office a work “perk” – it’s there if you want it or when you need it.
What is important is for business owners and management to change how they monitor employee performance – from output to outcome.
Work is not where you are, it’s what you do. The days of employer reticence to allow remote working are over. The trust in employees that aren’t physically in the same location has been earned.
But an employer needs data more than ever to know what’s working, identify trends and maintain and manage employee performance. The analytics technology available enables employers to collect data from every conversation within your business, track key sales metrics and provide a comprehensive overview of business communications. This data is the basis of the actionable insights an employer needs to successfully manage and develop a sustainable hybrid workforce.
This level of insight affords both employer and employee the opportunity to improve the working experience. Empowering employees by sharing the data with them and using it as a tool to help improve the working experience will facilitate a better outcome for both the employer and the employee alike.
Ride the wave of change
With so much upheaval already under our belts, now is the perfect time to be an advocate for improvements to help ensure the future sustainability of the hybrid workplace.
Consider the return to the office as starting with a clean slate – colleagues from all roles talking through some of the positives (and negatives) of the way that work life has unfolded over the last year, embracing elements that worked well and bringing a new balance to the office – in whatever form that takes. It’s a time of transition – if the process involves staff then you’re much more likely to come out the other side with a more content, productive and hard working workforce.
A good example of this is the pledge by IBM CEO Arvind Krishna which underpins many of these points. You can’t help but feel that if you’re fortunate enough to work for IBM, they’ve got your back.
Resilience underpins everything. Give your employees the tools to be mentally, emotionally and productively resilient and your hybrid working model is much more likely to succeed.
To find out how we can help arm your organisation with the resilience you need, please do get in touch today.