With this in mind, there are three key factors that contributed to us choosing “hybrid work” as the theme for March’s conference:
1. Hybrid working is a strategic advantage and now has a concrete definition
Initially, full-time remote working was introduced – quite rapidly in some cases – as a response to the pandemic. And whilst this was an effective way to enable business continuity during periods of lockdown and uncertainty, it was a solution rather than the ‘future’ of work. That said, being in the office Monday-Friday is also not likely to return post-pandemic. Especially for knowledge workers, who have become accustomed to remote working. Instead, hybrid working – splitting time between home and office – has solidified in its definition and is likely to provide a strategic advantage for both your employees and business. Or, as Elizabeth Reynolds (Executive Director, Task Force on the Work of the Future, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) puts it, ‘A hybrid model is likely… to balance the efficiencies gained by remote work with the benefits of social interactions and the creativity and innovation generated by working in person with others.’
The term ‘hybrid working’ was thrown around with little concrete definition to begin with. But as we’ve become familiar and comfortable with the requirements of remote working and understood what we’re missing from a physical office environment, a more defined and actionable understanding of how to create a hybrid workforce has emerged.
With regards to employees, hybrid working offers both the independence and flexibility of remote working (making it much easier to collect the kids from school, or get that afternoon workout done, for example) and the structure and sociability of an office environment. Interestingly, recent research by Slack found that, of 4,700 knowledge workers surveyed, only 12% wanted to return to full-time office work and 72% want a hybrid remote-office model moving forward. And for organizations, not only will hybrid working improve the employee experience (thus improving retention) but it also lowers office costs and opens doors to a wider range of more diverse talent.
2. We may be seeing the light at the end of pandemic tunnel
Another significant step forward in the last four months has been with regards to the vaccination. Within a year, governments, multilateral organizations, and private firms globally have spent billions of dollars to develop vaccinations to tackle COVID-19. And after rigorous testing, we are seeing the vaccines being distributed, with hundreds of millions of people inoculated already.
Significantly, President Biden says all adults in US will be eligible for coronavirus vaccine by May 1st 2021. And similarly, the UK has plans for a phased transition out of lockdown, administering the first vaccination dose to all those in the four most vulnerable cohorts by Feb 15th 2021.
With these milestones in sight, so is the potential for people to work from anywhere alongside the office. Organizations are starting to make plans to accommodate and embrace hybrid working, e.g. 83% of organizations are already taking steps to plan for long-term remote working.
3. There’s still so much to learn about digital experience as a program to support a hybrid workforce
With the developed understanding and more concrete definition of hybrid working comes the need to utilize digital experience as a program to support a hybrid workforce. This means that we need to start thinking about long-term strategies to deliver great digital experiences. Why? Because digital channels are becoming the primary connection point between an organization and its people.
But this can be a daunting prospect – developing and executing a digital experience program with the relatively new concept of hybrid working in mind. But the good news is that we’re no longer theorizing on this topic. When it comes to questions like, how to use metrics to their best advantage? Or who should own digital experience programs? Digital Workplace experts are developing the answers and are now able to provide tangible, actionable advice. The Work From Anywhere conference will not only enable you to hear from such experts on topics such as ‘optimizing digital experience’ and ‘the evolution of service experience management’, but will also provide you with Q&A opportunities to get all your digital experience questions answered.
Keen to learn more about hybrid working, hear from Digital Workplace experts, AND gain valuable actionable insights and takeaways? Join us at the Work From Anywhere Conference: Hybrid Working Tech Summit on March 24 – Register today!