Switching to a hybrid model will require a period of trial and error. C-suite executives and IT professionals are entering uncharted waters. And it can get pretty choppy.
So is it worth switching to a hybrid model in the first place?
Some companies will have no option. Others may be persuaded by outside factors and the prospect of potential benefits.
You’ve no doubt read about the benefits a hybrid work model can deliver – if it’s implemented correctly. To recap, the benefits of a hybrid workplace are:
- More flexibility for employees
- Increased productivity and employee satisfaction
- Higher employee retention (23% of UK workers threaten to quit if they can’t work from home)
- Improved mental health and well-being
- Cost savings
Whilst the benefits of switching to a hybrid model are enticing, there can also be more risks involved. Your hybrid strategy will largely determine which risks and benefits you feel the most.
I found this great quote which I 100% agree with!
“The bravest companies in this new frontier of work are the ones who admit when they miss the mark and then make positive steps forward based on the learning.” ~ people managing people.com
However, if you’re going to be brave, it’s wise to have reliable insights that enable you to avoid pitfalls. Working with specialist IT professionals that understand the challenges and solutions companies face when switching to a hybrid model helps you to plummet the depths with a vision of where you are going.
As the saying goes: every cloud has a silver lining.
Communication and Collaboration
It quickly became apparent from the conversations we had with our clients that the lack of in-house communication and collaboration would cause a drop-off in sparks of inspiration and innovation.
The first silver lining appears.
Working in the cloud gives co-workers the opportunity to leverage tools at their disposal and use them to improve the collaborative process. The ideas come through hands-on work. Because there is less in-person interaction where a lot of talking can take place, collaborators use the tools at hand to demonstrate and explain ideas and suggestions. This prompts action that is converted into productivity.
In the cloud, documents are stored in a centralised location which can be accessed by multiple team members in remote locations. The key advantage is that co-workers can work on the same document in real-time, add content, leave comments and share ideas.
This all happens in real-time, so rather than simply discussing ideas verbally, they can put their ideas and contributions directly into a document. So project content is developed during a meeting or brainstorming session rather than afterwards.
Team members can also share screens with one another which can also make it easier to demonstrate their points and get their idea across. The tools that are available with cloud applications increase participation from all members of the team.
Microsoft 365 also has a host of tools you can capitalise on to improve communication and collaboration. This article explores some of the best tools you can use in Microsoft Teams alone.
Sharing documents with individuals outside the team is also easier at times. For example, email servers are limited to a small transfer of MB which sometimes means you can’t send a document to a recipient. The solution is to give them read-only access through the cloud.
Making Meetings More Dynamic
If your business is prone to holding too many meetings, a hybrid office can prompt you to eliminate meetings that are not strictly necessary. However, meetings cannot be avoided – but you need to find a solution to avoid ‘zoom fatigue’.
Leveraging cloud tools can help make meetings more dynamic and engaging. Collaborative tools such as virtual whiteboards, file sharing and screen sharing help participants work towards the same goal. There is, of course, a slight learning curve and some experimenting that will be required but the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term trials.
Cloud providers are also evolving communication software in an attempt to make the cloud a productive medium for everyday meetings. Microsoft, for example, has implemented Together Mode, Dynamic View and Live Reactions into their Teams app to make virtual meetings feel less isolating.
Enhance IT Security
Cybersecurity has to be one of the major concerns for companies that collect personal data. Even under ordinary circumstances, keeping hackers at bay is a challenge within and of itself. A distributed workforce can feel like the challenge is amplified.
Fortunately, there are plenty of effective IT solutions you can rely on to help build defensive walls around your IT infrastructure that are difficult to penetrate. Feel free to speak with our IT specialists in London to help you create, organise and manage a cybersecurity strategy for your business.
In addition, we provide services that are invaluable to cybersecurity management. Our remote monitoring service enables us to identify potential threats and prevent risks in an instant.
We are also able to take control of your devices remotely and fix any security concerns we identify. This will also improve the performance of devices and software that need cleaning. Our goal is to keep your systems running 99.999% of the time.
Patch management services also guarantee security updates are performed in a timely manner. This is important because once a tech company releases a security update, it is the responsibility of their client – you – to update the latest version of the software.
If you fail to update the latest version of the software, the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) will use your negligence against you in the event of a data breach.
The longer security updates are postponed, the more your business is at risk of suffering a data breach. And GDPR officials are clamping down on firms that neglect their obligation to protect sensitive data.
Changes to work models always have an element of risk. As we’ve outlined above, switching to a hybrid model will involve employees leading how to leverage cloud tools.
A hybrid model will also challenge companies to adopt cultures and strategies that are new to everybody. There will be some trial and error and the decision you make at each stage will determine how quickly you can get your business on track and thriving.
The one thing you can’t do is ignore hybrid working if it is the best strategy for your business. And once you take the plunge, take advantage of professionals that have experienced the dawn of hybrid models from day one.
Micro Pro is a team of IT specialists that have extensive knowledge in designing all kinds of IT strategies. Hybrid models do not faze us. We already have a substantial amount of experience we can share with you so take advantage of what we’ve learned. We are confident we can help firms mitigate risk and navigate the hybrid journey more smoothly.