For a lot of businesses, 2022 has brought a promise of a return to the office. Restrictions are lifting, which means that if you want to bring people back, you’re able to.
However, work has changed a lot over the past few years. Employees have gotten used to working from home, some have even created their ideal workspaces in their houses. Not only that, we’ve learned that remote work is almost as productive as working in the office (if not more).
The return to the office is a good chance to improve how people work on-prem and capture that productivity boost they saw from home. Take a look at what you need to know.
Discovering the new way of working
The global COVID-19 pandemic opened up a whole world of possibility for a lot of people that had only really been enjoyed by self-employed people who worked from home. With the big shift to remote working, we discovered new tools, methodologies, and even problems that needed to be solved. The good news is that collectively, businesses adapted really well and helped shape what the future of work would look like for companies around the world.
Old versus new business office model
One of the things that’s come up since the pandemic is the idea of a hybrid work model that replaces the old style where everyone comes into the office every day and works there.
With the hybrid model, employees can choose to work from home or come to office. It creates a best of both worlds situation where everyone can work in the place that suits them best.
Hybrid shows your team that you care because rather than forcing everyone to come back into the office, you’re giving them a choice. It allows people to choose the approach that works best for them. Hybrid work also gives you the ability to remove the geographic restraints from hiring that you may have once faced. For example, if you’ve an office in Boston, you could hire someone from Texas without requiring them to move. You may still require employees to come into the office every once in a while, either a few days a week or just for major events, but the majority of their work can be done remotely.
Ultimately, what this does is create the ideal working environment that maximizes employee productivity, reduces the burden of commuting for the ones who choose to work remotely, and improves retention (74% of people say they’re less likely to leave a job that’s remote).
At this stage, most businesses and organizations have already adopted the tools and technology they need to handle whatever the return to the office looks like for your company.
The biggest consideration early on was making sure that your toolset was on the cloud. For a lot of organizations, this meant switching away from legacy tools and embracing cloud-based SaaS tools like Slack (which acts as a workplace watercooler and helps replace emails when asking questions) and video conferencing software like Zoom. These two platforms were already being used by remote teams when the pandemic hit, but since then have exploded in popularity.
Along with productivity tools comes the need for increased security for remote workers. Everything from strong VPNs (secure digital tunnels that provide access for remote workers) to helping employees develop strong security practices (like logging out of work computers when they’re not in use and not leaving them alone if working in public spaces) needs to be covered to help prevent security instances.
All of these considerations can make it seem like there’s a lot of expense, but most of that happens up front and, if you let your teams work in places where they’re most productive, you’re going to get back that investment pretty quickly.
Along with investing in new tools, you may need to invest in new infrastructure, as well. If you’re mostly working with on-prem legacy systems, you’re not going to be able to adapt to the flexibility of a hybrid workplace (or a fully remote one).
SaaS tools can help, but if you’ve got proprietary software solutions that you use, you’ll need to embrace the cloud. Shifting from on-prem to the cloud (or a hybrid solution of cloud and on-prem) gives you the flexibility you need to embrace whatever the next stage of work looks like for your organization.
There can be a lot to consider when you’re thinking about moving to the cloud, but the right setup can help you fuel productivity, while also saving you money.
Work from home as the new normal?
It’s entirely possible that the new normal for your organization is to stick with the work from home model. As we’ve mentioned already, employees tend to be happier, more productive, have a better work/life balance, and have greater retention.
Beyond that, the biggest benefit you could experience here is the savings that come from no longer having to pay for a physical location (or being able to move to a smaller location). This could mean having to re-wire and set up server space in the new office, but the savings outweigh the costs by quite a bit since you’re paying less rent on a smaller space.
Need help figuring out what’s best for you?
If you’re trying to figure out what the future of work looks like for your business, but you’re not really sure what the answer is, let’s talk. We have more than 20 years of experience helping businesses discover what they need to thrive in physical offices, as remote workers, and in hybrid working situations.
Our experts can help you figure out what’s best for your business, give you a sense of what the technology needs would be for the different working situations, and get you set up and running.
Want to learn more? Contact us today.