- While there is no certainty in the future of work, implementing strategies that encourage flexibility and worker satisfaction will help to position your organization for success.
- Three strategies to build a more flexible and people-first environment include: a hybrid workplace, work-from-anywhere, and empowered employees.
- In this article, AgilQuest digs deeper into these three strategies to reveal how they work, why it’s worth investing in them, and what makes them a valuable component for the future of work.
You’ve seen the headlines. “The Future of Work is ____.” “Do ____ So Your Organization and Workplace Are Prepared for the Future.”
What I can tell you for certain is there is no certainty in the future of work.
But based on hours of research, loads of statistics, and many talks with employees at all organizational levels, these three trends are, well, trending.
We think your 2022 plan should include a hybrid workplace, work-from-anywhere, and empowered employees.
Trend 1: Embracing the Hybrid Workplace
Hybrid. Hybrid. Hybrid. You might be sick of hearing it. But you can no longer ignore it.
Hybrid is the NOW.
And you should be excited. Hybrid means increased employee satisfaction and well-being, increased productivity and employee retention, and $$ savings for organizations.
We can’t be sure what the future holds. But we can tell you that hybrid workplaces are so flexible that no matter what is thrown at us, hopefully not another pandemic, it can work and benefit everyone. But what is it?
A hybrid workplace is a flexible workplace practice that empowers employees to work where and when they want, usually by balancing their time between office work and remote work.
When everyone was shuffled home to work in 2020, both employees and employers realized they could still be productive. But that didn’t mean 100% remote was the answer. There are times when being at a quiet place outside of the office works better for what needs to get done. And other times when being in the office surrounded by coworkers is essential.
Hybrid workplaces mix it all together to provide the freedom, flexibility, choice, and control that employees, employers, and organizations need.
Hybrid workplaces attract and retain employees who value choice. But with the right tools, processes, and technologies in place, there are many ways to control and measure the use of the space and flow of employees to support productivity and efficiency.
Trend 2: Preparing for Work From Anywhere
Your home might not be the best, quietest, most productive place for you to get your work done, but that doesn’t mean the office is always the best place, either.
Enter the shift to work-from-anywhere.
When employees are given the opportunity to work from anywhere, employers can offer satellite offices or coworking locations for employees to use as needed. They can downsize their large downtown office space and save money, and employees can take control of their cost of living, where they want to live, and manage a better work/life balance.
For this to be successful, there are some areas that need your focus.
1. Supporting technology. First step, is making sure employees can access the documents they need, be in communication with whomever they need, be able to attend or access meetings virtually, and be able to secure a workspace or meeting room when necessary. Some but not all the technology needed includes providing a VPN, cloud filing/storage, virtual communication tools, and a workplace management software.
2. Written guidelines, procedures, knowledge sharing, and more. Next, you need to realize there will be a shift in knowledge sharing. It’s not as easy to walk over to someone’s room and ask them how this or that works. Everything needs to be documented thoroughly and in a timely manner.
A great example of a company sharing the wealth of knowledge is GitLab. They have a “working handbook” that includes 5,000 searchable pages of any topic, guideline, or document you need. Employees are taught how to create a new topic page, and all are encouraged to contribute. All meetings are recorded and put on GitLab’s YouTube channel and, along with the meeting agenda, are added to the handbook.
3. Providing collaboration opportunities and meetups. However you decide to implement a work-from-anywhere strategy, whether you are downsizing the downtown skyscraper to small satellite offices or offering a stipend for coworking spaces or at-home office supplies, it’s essential to encourage collaboration and meetups between employees. It’s easy to feel isolated and left out of the group and important for the wellbeing of the employee and productivity of the company to provide outlets for employees to come together, whether it’s a virtual hang or an in-person meetup.
Trend 3: Empowering Your People
The pandemic made people realize that life is unpredictable and can change for the worst in an instant. With that in mind, many recognized their poor working conditions and decided enough was enough. Some employers were forcing workers back without putting any new safety guidelines in place while COVID was still running rampant. And employees weren’t having it.
In September 2021, 4.4 million Americans left their jobs. Known as the Great Resignation, employees are quitting at a rate that has exceeded the pre-pandemic highs for 6 straight months.
People are exhausted, burnt out, and are reconsidering their top priorities in life. Instead of bearing the brunt of it, companies can use this movement to take control of their offerings and create an experience employees want to be a part of.
Empowering your employees with flexibility, choice, and better ways to balance work/life and alleviate burnout, benefits everyone. Increased employee satisfaction means increased productivity and company success.
If you are already on board with the first two trends of this article, implementing a hybrid workplace and making it easy for employees to work from anywhere, you are already bounds and leaps ahead of most. Some other suggestions we have for empowering employees include:
- Providing a stipend for self-care, therapy, gym memberships, etc. Anything that makes it easy for your employees to take care of themselves and prevent burn out.
- Sending quarterly surveys asking for thoughts, feelings, feedback, concerns, etc., regarding the workplace, policies, and anything else to keep them involved and make them feel heard.
- Be transparent about the organization’s bigger picture. Employees want to feel like they are a part of something important. They also want to know what a company is doing regarding workplace changes, big company moves, and/or crises.
- Ensure managers are having one-on-one meetings with those that report to them, including managers of managers. It’s essential that all employees have a time and place that they can say what’s on their minds. When we all started working from home in March 2020, there were many feelings of isolation and loneliness. One way to counteract that is by keeping the communication going.
The Uncertain Future Awaits
We are certain we aren’t certain of anything. It is critical to recognize this, stay on your toes and be ready for change. When you implement strategies that encourage flexibility and satisfaction, it makes reacting to whatever comes that much easier.
That’s why we believe these three trends are worth digging into and implementing in your 2022 plan.
If you want to learn more about the post-COVID, hybrid workplace, download this free guide or contact us at AgilQuest to talk about your organization and how we can help you plan, manage, and measure your hybrid workplace.
AgilQuest empowers organizations to enhance employee safety and productivity while providing the utilization data and analytics necessary to make informed workplace decisions. AgilQuest gives people the freedom to choose the workspaces, meeting rooms, conference areas and available resources wherever, whenever they need to work across the entire Hybrid Workplace.