The debate about returning to the office is intensifying, with employers urging workers to come back and labeling it a “return to normal.” But is there really a “new normal” that small businesses need to adapt to? To gain more insight into the future of work, we spoke with Aruna Ravichandran, SVP/chief marketing and customer officer of Webex by Cisco.
The Future of Work: Is Hybrid Working the Solution?
The main challenges small businesses face when dealing with remote workers are similar to those of larger enterprises. These challenges include security, collaboration technology, training, employee engagement, real estate investments, legal and compliance. Navigating through these challenges and establishing hybrid and remote work policies can be difficult, but ultimately worthwhile.
In the post-pandemic era, the model of mandating full-time, in-office work is outdated. A hybrid approach, allowing for a mix of remote and office work, can provide the best of both worlds and is expected to outperform traditional work models. By reimagining workspaces and embracing hybrid work, businesses can foster creativity and innovation while providing flexibility to employees.
Challenges and Solutions for Managing Remote Teams
With the shift to hybrid work, businesses are encountering various challenges, such as ensuring remote employees feel included, addressing feelings of isolation, and creating a workplace that attracts employees. These challenges can be addressed through technology, culture, and a people-first approach.
Small businesses must consider productivity and efficiency when developing hybrid and remote work policies. Utilizing tools and technology integrations can support a productive and efficient workforce while maintaining data security.
Adopting a Hybrid Work Model: Key Considerations for Small Businesses
Hybrid work is more inclusive and a perk that employees have come to expect. It also broadens talent pools and can reduce expenses related to employee attraction and retention. When considering a hybrid work model, small businesses should prioritize their people, culture, and technology, offering the ability to collaborate and engage while securing data.
Making Hybrid Solutions Work: Integrating People Practices, Technology, and Physical Spaces
Creating a successful hybrid work environment requires a people-first approach and meaningful reasons for bringing people together for connection and collaboration. Success in enabling hybrid work can optimize real estate investments, provide a wider talent pool, and increase employee well-being and loyalty.
The hybrid world is here to stay, and while there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution, focusing on the experience in hybrid settings will help businesses make informed decisions. By leading with empathy, offering flexibility, and fostering transparent communication, businesses can better navigate the challenges of hybrid work.