Merely half a decade ago, hybrid working was unthinkable and rarely discussed as standard practice. Today, hybrid and remote work settings have become the norm in many industries. With 80% of companies adopting a hybrid model, the new normal is here to stay. Yet in order to thrive, collaboration is crucial, and businesses need to reimagine their work and the role of offices. There is a much larger emphasis on employee productivity, safety, and happiness, and people’s attitudes toward being in the office have changed – culture revolves more around people, rather than the office.
Today, we explore the future of hybrid work and what businesses need to thrive in the modern workplace.
Why hybrid work has prevailed
Most of us have now been working in remote and hybrid setting for a few years and have experienced and enjoyed the best of both worlds. We get office time to build relationships, bring back more fun and human interactions within the working day, but also get to work from home to help with the work/life balance. Commute times and the benefits of being at home, such as family, independence, and flexibility, are things that people no longer want to compromise on. The emphasis on striking the balance between work/life is more important than ever before, which is mirrored in the latest industry statistics. 55% of global workers have stated that hybrid working reduces their stress levels and 62% going so far as to say that the ability to work remotely influences their decision to stay or leave a job.
How sustainable is hybrid work for meetings?
One of the biggest challenges we’ve experienced with adopting hybrid work was new meeting dynamics. Some people are at home, some people in the office. While this dynamic was welcomed by many, we all have experienced technical difficulties and practical challenges when adopting this new normal. Whether it’s people at home not understanding conversations between participants in the office or the often repeated “You’re on mute!” we’ve all heard hundreds of times by now.
The argument for hybrid meetings
There is a lot of investment going into making meeting rooms better to suit hybrid working. We are constantly seeing new tech for meeting rooms that is there to serve the user experience. There are plenty of things that you could invest in which might rack up to be quite costly, but this isn’t the only approach. Having the right tech and telephony solves a lot of the worries and problems – without spending ridiculous amounts of money.
Needless to say, the lack of commute for some makes the experience very eco-friendly, and for those that choose to be in the office, they get those human interactions and social breaks that are also really necessary.
The argument against hybrid meetings
Hybrid isn’t for everyone though. There has been some reluctance by businesses to adopt hybrid working approaches because they experienced more issues than advantages. Video meetings are fantastic with 5-6 people. But anymore – especially in a hybrid scenario – and it becomes chaotic and awkward. You can’t pick up on body language or social cues, and often the person on video feels disconnected from the people in the room.
It seems a lot of people are still having nightmares about the spider phone – those scary-looking spider conference calling machines that would sit in the middle of the meeting room, where you’d have to dial in, and nobody would be able to hear each other. Obviously, the tech is much more sophisticated and dynamic now, and we have evolved particularly fast in the last 18 months. But there is still that underlying worry that the people in the room get irritated with people on the call or video because it’s disruptive and sometimes hard to manage.
Some businesses have even decided to deploy strict policies on hybrid meetings: either everyone is in the room, or everyone is on the call; there is no in-between.
The future of hybrid work
Perhaps companies should consider refreshing their ground rules for the new normal. Even before the pandemic, businesses were rethinking conventional practices that were no longer efficient, for example maintaining huge amounts of paper files, and always having face-to-face meetings. The pandemic only sped up a grassroots movement that was already beginning to form: the future of hybrid work is bright.
Even though hybrid is the popular option, there reality is that there are also many circumstances where hybrid is the only option. For businesses that work with clients or employees internationally, or employees that have always been remote, this is the best situation for them to be in because of the focus on improving hybrid working.
In order to stay competitive in an increasingly saturated market where employees are more empowered than ever to choose their ideal working environment, it’s crucial to have the technology that enables hybrid work and empowers employees to be productive, efficient and collaborative—no matter their location.
The right tech and the right mindset
There is no better time to invest in some the right tech than right now. Efficient meeting room devices, good audio tools like mics, and a standard agenda at the start of meetings will make the future a lot easier. We are more aware than ever about the importance of mental health and a healthy work/life balance, so businesses need to be able to facilitate seamless hybrid working if they want their employees to be satisfied in their roles.
At T-Tech, we’re experts in empowering the modern workplace. Get in touch with our hybrid work experts today or learn more about our hybrid working model services today.