The hybrid working revolution and advice to SMEs on achieving employee happiness
There isn’t a perfect, one size fits all work model for a hybrid approach to working. Every industry, organisation and employee have different needs. For smaller, more agile SMEs, there is a lot of room for experimentation to find a solution that suits your business.
Challenges of remote and hybrid working
Despite widespread initial concerns that employees not used to working from home would fail to remain engaged and productive, and fears that things could slip through the cracks, the reality is that over a third of small business owners say they have been delighted but the increase in productivity in their teams. 25% of owners interviewed have been delighted in the increase in productivity of their employees, believing that employees in some cases work more efficiently from home.
A concern with remote or hybrid working is that less in person interactions could mean employers miss signs of stress and exhaustion within their teams – with less water-cooler chat and in-person interaction, a challenge for employers is to ensure employees are healthy and happy – and make changes if they are not.
One of the biggest challenges remains when it comes to employee development in a hybrid environment. For younger employees at the start of their careers, a hybrid or work from home only model means they risk missing the chance to learn from more experienced colleagues, or mentorship from their peers. It’s important for employers to be aware of these challenges and ensure regular check ins are conducted with employees to develop the best course of action to combat them.
Maximising employee happiness
Prior to March 2020, 65% of businesses in the UK didn’t offer the opportunity to work from home. Government mandates have forced many of these companies to utilise remote working for the first time, and discover how employees have been able to adapt and work effectively under the new conditions. With 70% of businesses predicting that workers will never return to the office full-time, the focus must shift on how to maximise employee happiness and in turn, productivity, going forward.
The autonomy that comes with hybrid working can have hugely positive impacts on people’s lifestyles and mental health, with remote working resulting in 40% fewer sick days during the pandemic. To combat challenges like employee engagement and ensuring staff enjoy a productive environment at home, SMEs must commit to properly supporting their workforce. Technology will of course play its part in keeping employees engaged. Platforms like advo-one boost employee engagement, and can be accessed 24/7, from anywhere, making it ideal for teams with a remote or hybrid workforce. Businesses should also consider how to improve collaboration between remote teams and introduce new communication channels to boost employee communication. Some organisations may find the best approach is conducting group video sessions where employees can share ideas – others may find the introduction of online chat systems like Slack replicate the casual, interpersonal communication employees would have in the office.
Ultimately, the key is creating a stimulating environment that helps to foster productivity – regardless of where that employee is based.
The great news is that SMEs are in a good position to experiment with hybrid working going forward, with many already doing so. Around 70% of SMEs intend to keep some elements of hybrid working which have been adopted during the pandemic. Smaller businesses are at a huge advantage, as generally they consist of smaller, more streamlined teams that can better adapt to new conditions. The beauty of the world post pandemic, is that many business do not need to be strictly office based, or strictly remote. Hybrid environments are achievable, and employee happiness will lie in the businesses abilities to listen to what staff want, and act reasonable to provide the best and most productive option.
The ideal work model will look different for all SMEs, but the freedom to have some control over what works best will maximise happiness and create and boost the loyalty of the workforce. Talk to advo today about how to support and manage employees in a hybrid workplace.
Original article here.