The acute phase of the global pandemic seems to have passed, and many businesses have settled into a hybrid office model. However, as is often the case with something new, there are growing pains, and many business leaders face the challenge of closing the remote work gaps revealed since the lockdowns back in the dark days of 2020.
Companies may be opening their office doors again – with certain limitations and protocols – but many employees want hybrid work options to be kept open. According to recent findings from Pew Research Center, over 60 per cent of people working from home say they aren’t going into the office because they prefer to work from home.
ITWC CIO Jim Love said it’s very possible that the move to a hybrid workplace will for many companies prove more disruptive than the rapid shift to remote work in 2020.
Register to participate in: “Mind the gaps in your new hybrid office”
“There are many moving parts in this equation, from the cultural to the technological,” he said. “One critical piece is that when employees were forced to work from home in 2020, a lot of the tools and tech needed to make that happen already existed.”
Not so when it comes to hybrid.
“Remote work was a do-or-die experience, said Love. “Connect as securely as you can. Hybrid is longer-term and maybe more complex. The key challenge here is how to create a seamless hybrid office experience. This isn’t forced upon us – it now has to be what we would choose for the long term. It must cover people working from home every day, people splitting their time between the home and the central office all the way to those who don’t work from home at all.”
But user experience is only one facet of a multi-sided problem. Ensuring employees have what they need to be engaged and productive is one thing, but companies that have to try to be everything to everyone – to every kind of employee – means risk.
“The risk is in the gaps, many of which were inevitable with such a rapid move to remote work,” said Love. “Focused, all-or-nothing solutions may work when you have both feet in one work-world or the other, but they can’t really be applied in a hybrid world. Companies must now get a read on their gaps, and work intelligently to close them.”
Is your organization’s hybrid game not where it should be? This is not a reason to panic but an opportunity to get better. Speaking of opportunities, here’s one: Mind the gaps in your new hybrid office. In this one-hour briefing, cyber author Brennen Schmidt and Rafi Wanounou of Fortinet will be discussing how companies should go about streamlining and closing gaps in their hybrid office as they move into the next normal.