There’s no doubt that the way we work has changed. And it will continue to do so. Flexible work arrangements have never been discussed more than they are right now. Some companies are mandating a return to the office, while others are embracing a remote experience. Some opt for a hybrid approach, allowing employees to split their time between working in the office or remote. In each approach, there is a concern about balancing flexibility with the need for face-to-face interaction.
According to Dell Technologies’ recent Breakthrough study unveiled at the Dell Technologies Forum in Dublin this week, 49% of knowledge workers in Ireland would like their leaders to provide greater clarity regarding an ongoing commitment to flexible working. Moreover, workers want to know the practicalities of this arrangement in their daily routines. Irish businesses should take advantage of this opportunity to listen to the desire of employee for ongoing flexibility and restructure work that in ways that offer secure, productive, connected experiences from anywhere.
But restructuring work is not an easy task. In my recent conversations with customers and partners, I hear these questions: Where should I get started? What are the key priorities to succeed with a hybrid model? Is this appropriate for my business? If you are asking yourself these questions, this is a good sign. It means you are not reverting to the traditional ways of working. And if you’re not asking these questions, know that your employees are likely expecting you to be thinking about these things. Here are three steps that our team at Dell Technologies Ireland recommend to succeed in the hybrid workplace:
1. Equip employees with ways to collaborate virtually
I always considered work as an outcome rather than a fixed activity, and the pandemic years have reinforced this view. It is evident in the survey results: 49% of Irish respondents believe they will be more productive working and collaborating remotely. Technology plays a critical role in optimizing these different working models. The foundation of any successful approach involves a human-centric IT strategy.
That means it’s important to forge partnerships among HR, Facilities, and IT. Input and collaboration from these organisations sets a vision and specific outcomes for different locations. The way we do this at Dell is by defining the personas that drive these experiences. Our strategy focuses on the work our team members need to do, instead of where they are geographically. For at-home configurations, we make sure team members have the gear and software they need to do their jobs. And we make sure the office is ready when it’s needed, which is usually attached to a specific purpose: an event, a meeting, or a presentation. We do this on an individual level so every workstyle, need, and characteristic is covered.
Regardless of the location, the PC remains core to the workflow for many knowledge workers. So, on the device side, you need to consider intelligent systems to provide a better experience. Think about noise cancellation, privacy features to conceal sensitive data, or automatically detecting human presence to prevent someone from looking over your team member’s shoulder. And spanning from the PC, your entire ecosystem is important – audio, displays, peripherals. It all boils down to improving productivity and safeguarding your resources.
2. Provide clarity, guidance, and support
Nearly 60% of survey respondents in Ireland say their work-life balance has not improved. Protecting personal boundaries is important to knowledge workers. The right technology is essential, but top-down corporate processes can also help guide team members to avoid burnout and achieve balance – even from far away.
About 20% of Irish respondents worry they will be overlooked in a remote working world. New hires who join companies in a virtual environment are particularly sensitive to this, while many in younger employees crave in-person connection. Accommodating multiple environments and life circumstances helps bring the freedom to do anything from anywhere into your work culture.
As you modernise your IT environment, it’s important to rethink how you measure, manage and support work across your organisation. Maximising employee productivity, well-being, inclusion, and trust is the goal. Done right, 72% of respondents in Ireland expect the shift to distributed work to create a more inclusive working environment.
3. Fortify security defences
Many survey respondents say work-from-anywhere is a security threat. In fact, 69% believe the changing working world has exposed their organisation to greater risk. Security teams have a significant number of places to protect while factoring in human behaviour that is hidden from view. While businesses address the human factor in cybersecurity, employees need to know the organisation has their back. Security must be an intrinsic attribute, spanning the products they use and tools essential for their jobs.
You should enable your people to connect securely and collaborate from anywhere. Protect all your people, devices, and data and safeguard against evolving threats. With a comprehensive strategy, you will not only remedy exposures in your organisation but equip your people to innovate further and faster.
The message is clear. Provide the right technology that will enable your people to remain productive regardless of where they choose to work. from. Safeguard your data, which will in turn unlock progress and innovation from everywhere. The future is hybrid and with these steps in mind, leaders can guide their teams and businesses more effectively wherever and however the work gets done.