Five ways businesses can prepare for hybrid working
09th August 2022
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The way we work has changed. The pandemic triggered an unprecedented increase in remote work across organisations of every size. Now employees and businesses are looking to a future where hybrid working — a mix of remote work and being on site – is the norm.
A new report by Virgin Media O2 Business ‘Connectivity and collaboration: The future of work’ uncovers the critical elements that businesses must consider when planning a hybrid future. We explore five tips from the report to help you kick-start conversations within your business.
1. Work out your options and the impact of change on your business
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to hybrid working. Your sector and the products and services you offer will determine what work can be done remotely and what needs to be done on site. Your employees will also have views on where and how they work best.
When creating a hybrid working model for your business, it’s important to consider where and when. Are employees working predominantly from an office or at home? How many locations are being used? When should teams come into the office to be together? Are there certain activities that are best suited for being on premises?
Carry out an audit to consider your business needs and the impacts of any changes triggered by the move to hybrid work.
2. Plan your hybrid workplace around your people
Any plans for hybrid working must start with your people. Every individual employee will have personal preferences and needs dictated by their role; planning your hybrid workplace around them provides opportunities to support wellbeing, enhance productivity and make people more effective for the long-term. It can also help you retain your best staff and attract new talent.
Getting feedback from your employees is the best way to find out how they work best. You could do this by asking leaders to speak to their teams or even by carrying out online surveys, which could be anonymous, to ensure you get responses from across the business. O2 research has highlighted seven different worker types that fall within the categories ‘office cravers’, ‘home dwellers’, and ‘mixers’ who prefer a blend of environments.
Other frameworks that can help crystallise thinking include looking at the different types of hybrid working models; McKinsey has defined six patterns, ranging from almost entirely on-premises to almost entirely remote.
3. Equip your workforce with the right tools, training and workplace design
Planning your hybrid workplace is one thing, but then how do you put it into practice? Different factors make a difference. Workplace design – both in the office and at home – is critical. Flexible office space that supports different kinds of work and meetings can help people be more effective. Is there a room for external meetings? Is there a place that encourages more ad hoc and informal interaction? And how can your business help support home offices to ensure a fast internet connection?
Once you’ve worked out what you need, you can start to implement the right technology, tools and accompanying training that can help facilitate hybrid working patterns. While this should include real-time video communication, it should also support asynchronous collaboration using text and messaging, providing more flexibility for how and when team members work together.
At Virgin Media O2 Business, we can help equip your teams with the right tech – whether that’s mobile devices, tablets or desktops – to enable your people to work at home, in the office or on the go. With our Get More offer, if you combine any business mobile plan and internet connection from us, we’ll put 10% of the cost of your new plan into a fund to spend on the very latest high-spec tech for your team.*
4. Ensure you have the right levels of connectivity
Excellent connectivity is a must-have for hybrid working. Whether it’s on site or at home, your employees need to be able to communicate and collaborate in real-time, with a reliable connection. Connectivity is the ‘glue’ that holds hybrid working together.
There can be challenges to getting the level of connectivity you need when working at different locations. For example, Wi-Fi performance can be patchy in some areas, with problems occurring during busy times, so the ability to jump on to a 4G hot-spot from your phone becomes essential.
But 5G will be the real game changer. Simon Pollard, Product Marketing Manager at Virgin Media O2 Business, comments “In a world of hybrid working, 5G will be an essential evolution in mobile technology to ensure that businesses have real resilient connectivity in their premises or at home to fall back to, while also ensuring that working on the move becomes as seamless as being in the office.”
5. Ensure hybrid working is secure
Moving to a hybrid working model creates significant challenges around security. People may be working outside the network and from home, sometimes using personal devices. The blurring between using technology for work and non-work purposes also means employees might be less focused in taking care. Meanwhile, cybercriminals sense opportunities and increase their efforts to scam the workforce.
There are several measures that can help businesses to maintain a robust approach to security, including:
- Working with a single connectivity provider who can also provide the right security measures across all devices.
- Investing in advanced security and monitoring tools for your IT team, so they can take a device-level approach to security as well as proactively deal with potential threats.
- Support the security of your employees through education and awareness programmes – for example, Virgin Media O2 runs an internal phishing stimulation initiative.
Finding the right provider
With Virgin Media O2 Business, you can expect robust security combined with high performance connectivity. You’ll also benefit from a dedicated UK based account team, who’ll get to know your business and help you get set up for a hybrid working future.
Planning for a hybrid future? Download the free ‘Connectivity and collaboration: The future of work’ report or get in touch.
* For businesses with 11 – 249 employees. You must combine an O2 Business mobile service with Virgin Media Business broadband or leased lines. The value of your fund is based on 10% of the monthly airtime bill of your new plan. Get More Funds can only be spent on a set list of tech. For full terms and conditions, go here.