Saturday Jan 28, 2023

Hybrid working – BCS


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Many organisations are very conscious of the risks of workplace injury in the office, but less so about the risks of those working from home. For example, eyestrain, repetitive strain injury and back pain can be caused from using computers for extended periods. Home workers can become isolated and prone to mental health problems.

The other risk is cybersecurity. There is no easy answer to this, as it very much depends on the sensitivity of your data and systems. Any solution is likely to include a balance between accessibility and openness, together with culture and training. Don’t assume your in-office security will be enough – get an expert.

Make sure information is accessible equally

If information is not shared on a digital platform for everyone to access, there is a good chance people could be out of the loop about something important. A company that is doing hybrid work well will share information equitably. This could be through an internal email newsletter, a company intranet, a company shared drive or some other digital platform.

Give ALL workers the appropriate equipment and tools

With a hybrid workplace, organisations need to consider what office equipment and tools to provide ALL employees, regardless of where they are working. A successful hybrid-working environment is one where employees everywhere have equitable access to the technology, tools and resources they need to do their jobs successfully.

Establish regular communication habits

Effective communication between in-office and home working team members. Implement tools for use by all beyond formal meetings and encourage frequent informal communications. Communication is key to maintaining the mental health of both in-office and home workers. Keeping them connected through these tools is a great way to ensure they do not miss the social glue of your organisation.

While it might seem easier to do everything important in the office, this will only emphasise that you consider office working to be more important. Consider running meetings and workshops with everybody joining remotely. If you can’t do this, have in-room buddies for each remote participant to keep them updated, answer their questions, and advocate for them in the meeting. Think remote-first and always ask remote participants for their input before those in the room. Use collaboration tools to share praise and encouragement for the whole organisation to see, and hold celebration meetings online and offsite.

Accept that the 40-hour workweek is over

Put the emphasis now on productivity, where productivity = quantity AND quality of result. You can’t rely on accurate measurement of time worked, so don’t even try!

About the author

Jacqui Hogan has nearly 30 years’ experience in managing face to face and remote IT teams and co-wrote Together Works – the Ultimate guide to eCollaboration. For more on Remote and Hybrid working, watch out for Jacqui’s forthcoming book, Managing Remotely and how to keep your eTeam.


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