Productivity and the hybrid environment
Pre-Covid, changes to working patterns were in place for decades, if not a whole century. Suddenly the pandemic hit, and both governments and organisations had to change gear at lightning speed.
Because of the shift to hybrid working, both public and private sector agencies now have a rare opportunity to intentionally remake their work systems to serve everyone better. Not just for Covid – though future variants may well emerge before it becomes endemic – but for all our future working lives.
This gives us even more reason to have robust hybrid structures in place to move seamlessly between fully remote and hybrid models as the situation demands.
But it’s easier said than done. Bringing about meaningful change requires finding answers to several questions that are on leaders’ minds:
How work gets done – maximising productivity in a hybrid environment
While organisations spend millions each year to increase efficiency (optimising resources) and effectiveness (optimising outcomes), significantly less is typically spent to improve a third factor, employee engagement, which has a major impact on both.
It is becoming apparent that offering employees the flexibility to work from anywhere is a major factor. Encouraging asynchronous collaboration between employees allows employees to exchange information and ideas as their schedules permit, rather than in real time. Using the right mix of digital platforms and technologies can help employees connect, collaborate, and deliver value anywhere. Crucially, how can they reimagine the role of supervisors in a hybrid environment?
Is now the right time to fundamentally redesign work?
Covid notwithstanding, most organisations had already begun to embrace a digital-first way of working, meaning that where work is done matters less than how it’s done. This even applies within the health service and education, as well as other public and private sector settings, as patient consultations and tutoring can also now thrive online.
Earlier cross-functional teams were typically located in the same building, but digital technology makes this unnecessary. Organisations can look at the issues in hand rather than physical places; they can build a “digital workplace” around a specific issue or problem and unite the required people and tools in a virtual space. These teams can then work online, using physical places only as needed. The parameters have all changed – so yes, the time is right and that time is now.
Keeping up with evolving customer needs in a hybrid setting
Online and hybrid channels have ensured better access for customers while improving their experiences. Public sector bodies, as well as private ones, can build on the success they have started to see with their online experiences to meet and exceed customer needs.
Human-centred design and journey-mapping can identify opportunities for more tailored and integrated services—such as building infrastructure for seamless service delivery on digital platforms with personalised services for customers. Adopting artificial intelligence (AI) and automation can support faster service and reduce workload on employees – as long as the infrastructure investment is there to enable it.
Enable seamless comms