Gradually, global office companies are implementing their new hybrid workflows as a suitable compromise beyond 21 months of covid-forced homework.
As office work adapts to hybrid solutions, employers and managers struggle to find effective ways to make employees thrive and perform in their new physical and virtual environments.
Now, increasingly many business leaders fear that their transformed and socially distant workplace with employees separated in the office, at home, in third or fourth locations will inevitably impact the company innovation negatively.
Several employers lean to the view that hybrid work could affect their companies' productivity. Also, they are worried about phishing and their basic cyber security.
According to a recent survey conducted by Aon's Business Risk Index among 160 larger Irish companies, as many as 60% feel uncertain about how hybrid work will affect their future and valuable innovation.
Every fourth responding company expresses their concern that the newly introduced homework days, in the long run, could cause noticeable damages and declines in their business productivity.
Increasingly many business leaders are worried that their new hybrid working days
with employees separated in the office, at home or in other locations will threaten
the company innovation, productivity and IT security. Photos: iStock
Finally, doubts about their future IT and data security give headaches among the Irish business leaders. Nearly half of them proclaim phishing as their company's most intrusive cyber risk source currently.
"Business leaders must take action to foster corporate cultures that nurture collaboration so that companies can ensure hybrid working becomes a business opportunity rather than a business barrier," Aon CEO Peter Brady comments on the current survey.
Innovation in focus
The Danish headquarter of international IT giant Microsoft has allowed their employees the option and freedom to work from home for up to 50% of their working hours.
"But when tasks in an employee's calendar demand creativity, sparring, collaboration, you must be present physically," Anne Marie Kindberg, director of operations and marketing, points out to Danish Computerworld magazine.
Concerned companies focus on how to best combine employee immersion in the
home office with maintaining the innovation capability of company cohesiveness.
In recent corporate research, Microsoft calculated that the total time spent by employees with other teams has dropped by almost 25% compared to the level before the pandemic.
A challenge that Microsoft Denmark focus sharply on in a new homework policy: How do we combine the opportunity for immersion in the home office with maintaining the innovation capability of company cohesiveness?
"Our productivity was high during the corona, but I think if it had lasted much longer, it could well have challenged us in terms of innovation and the retention of creative forums," Anne Marie Kindberg considers.
As companies succeed in implementing their hybrid models, several realise that there has to be a balance between what office workers would like and what the business needs.
The employees´ days in the office must be carefully planned to facilitate collaboration. Creative brainstorming remains most effective when people meet face-to-face and make decisions based on team, project and business requirements.
Employees´ days in the office must be carefully planned to facilitate collaboration -
creative brainstorming remains most effective when people meet face-to-face.
"Culture is critical to success in our advertising business, and if you allow folks to come in only on the days when their friends are, you create a culture of cliques. Diversity of thought and ideas will be diluted and this will ultimately water down an organization’s culture.
That can’t be good for business, collaboration or culture. We have mandatory in-office days on Tuesdays and Thursdays to avoid this very issue,” CEO of Atlanta agency Fitzco Dave Fitzgerald underlines. ●
Digiday.com: Letting employees pick their in-office days could foster culture of cliques
Irishtimes.com: Businesses uncertain over hybrid working model, survey finds
Forbes.com: In New Poll, Executives Say Remote Work Hurts Culture
Forbes.com: Walking the hybrid working tightrope