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Hybrid working: the ‘new normal’

The beginning of the Covid-19 Global pandemic forced a huge shift for companies with employees forced to work from home. With a number of companies now making the move back to ‘business as usual’, with employees returning to the office full time, others have moved in a different direction and adopted a hybrid working model.

The general consensus as we adapt to a post-pandemic world is the flexibility for staff to choose a mixture of home, office, and remote working as the traditional 9-5 in an office five days a week is no longer a realistic option.

There are notable exceptions to remote and hybrid working models, some companies have gone as far as adopting the ‘team anywhere’ model or giving employees the choice between working remotely or inside physical office space or a hybrid of the two.

Bucking the trend

Google, however, appeared to buck this trend with plans to purchase a Manhattan office building for $2.1 billion, marking the most expensive sale of a single U.S. office building in the pandemic era, “and, one of the priciest in U.S. history”, says the Wall Street Journal. Despite the growing appetite for remote working amongst employees, this is a clear sign that they are betting on the future of in-person work.

While the lure of a new office building may appeal to some, others will be less reluctant to give up their current working environment of a remote or hybrid model.

Is hybrid working the way forward?

In July a survey from Acas found that half of employers in Great Britain expect an increase in demand for flexible working from employees after the country comes out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Acas commissioned YouGov to ask British businesses about changes to working practices that they are expecting once the pandemic is over compared to before the pandemic. The poll found that:

  • Over half of employers (55%) expect an increase in staff working from home or remotely part of the week
  • Nearly half of employers (49%) expect an increase in staff working from home or remotely all week

In some cases, a return to a working week in an office-based role has caused concerns around social distancing for office workers. There are also some fears around employees’ mental health as a return to an office working environment is causing anxiety.

But the big question being asked is how staff will be able to stay connected with people working in various locations, regardless of whether that is in the office, at home, or in remote locations. Thanks to the advancement in technology over recent years, working together in remote locations no longer poses any problems.

Instead, workers are able to achieve greater work-life balance and spend more time at home with their loved ones whilst maintaining productivity and save money and time that would have been spent on commuting to and from the office. Hybrid work patterns will also give workers greater flexibility to work from anywhere they please, both in and out of the office.

IT solutions to support hybrid working

Whilst Covid-19 has undoubtedly put a strain on both businesses as well as employees, it has forced business owners to rethink how they work and the systems they have in place in the long term. Adopting IT solutions that enables employees to work effectively from home is vital in the post-pandemic world and is an area of digital transformation that at Assured Digital Technologies we specialise in.

Moving to the Cloud is a common theme with digital transformation as it provides a number of business benefits including increased productivity, scalability, and better security to name a few. Examples of Cloud migrations are:

  • Migration to Microsoft 365 – Including moving some, or all of the below areas of IT to the Cloud:
    • Migrating to Microsoft 365 Email
    • Moving to SharePoint for online document collaboration and online
    • Switch to using M365 user authentication and device
  • Migration to Azure – moving away from onsite server infrastructure to the Cloud
  • Migration to Hosted VoIP – moving from an on-premises phone system to one hosted in the Cloud
  • Migration to new cloud-based software (SaaS) – Moving away from old software or even spreadsheets to:
    • Bespoke cloud software application
    • Established cloud software such as a large CRM or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) platform

As part of everything we do, including digital transformation projects, we offer consultancy to devise your IT strategy and then project manage the whole process from start to finish. But we don’t just stop there. Digital transformation is an ongoing activity, we will work alongside you as your dedicated IT consultant to continually review, improve and transform your business with the latest technologies. Key amongst this is aiding hybrid working through remote access with our connectivity solutions.

With tech solutions being key to managing working practices in the future, find out how we delivered digital transformation for Bristol Music Trust.

The last 18-months have been tough on us all and shown that the choice between remote working and an office-based role doesn’t need to be made. Why can’t we have the best of both worlds as we try and navigate our ‘new normal’.

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