Balancing act: Negotiating the new age of WFH and hybrid working patterns

Remote work, in some capacity, is here to stay.

Balancing act: Negotiating the new age of WFH and hybrid working patterns

Research reveals an increasing number of workers plan to split their time equally between work and home rather than only working occasionally from home (ONS, 2022). This demonstrates a continual incline in the work from home (WFH) trend rather than a shift back towards permanent office life. And it’s not difficult to see why. The flexibility benefits to both employees and employers are many. Working from home means avoiding the pressures and (rising) cost of a commute and feeling positive about an employer who trusts you to work remotely or flexibly.

There are also specific benefits of WFH for SMEs. SMEs can save costs on travel expenses and administrative overheads (such as office space and equipment) by encouraging employees to work from home. With inflation and rising costs hitting small businesses from all angles, there are advantages on many levels. It’s not a one-sided benefit either. Employees who feel empowered and trusted are more likely to stay, meaning employers have a larger talent pool to choose from, potentially growing a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and enabling them to promote their commitment to work/life balance.

None of this would have been possible without the fast-paced rise in technology that has made working from home—or anywhere—a reality. So how do we best navigate this new hybrid world of work and be able to give our all to our jobs whatever environment we work from? WFH provides many benefits to businesses big and small, but there are challenges too and many of those can be overcome with some simple solutions or changes to routines.

Collaboration is key

Innovations in technology have opened up a new world of opportunities to better collaborate with colleagues. Shared docs, or simply being able to ping instant messages, mean it’s no longer necessary to have days filled with lengthy meetings. Tech means it has never been easier to keep in touch with colleagues in the right ways, so lean into it.

Workspaces can work wonders

Finding a productive and comfortable workspace in any home can be a challenge, no matter what the size, so making the most of the area you do have has never been more important. Getting the optimum desk and chair, to ensure you are maintaining a good posture is a no-brainer, but often home workers don’t give enough thought to making the right investments in technology. By investing in a premium smart monitor, people can have everything they need right on their screens. A smart monitor can bridge the gap between PC and full Smart TV functionality enabling people to both and tune into their favourite content, while productivity and video call apps are often all built-in – letting people watch, work and chat, all without connecting to a separate PC – a great space saver in the home, that gives people the best of all worlds. Not only that, but when you work from home, some smart monitors also let you tailor your workspace however you like. So don’t be hampered by thinking black and silver are the only monitor colourways – whether warm whites, sunset pinks, daylight blues or spring greens, workspaces can and should be environments that reflect everyone’s personal taste – so be sure to invest in tech that does just that.

Think outside the box

As the world shifts towards new ways of working, we shouldn’t forget that employee requirements and behaviours have also evolved. For example, benefits and rewards need to go digital and adapt to ensure employees have access to them wherever they are. There’s no point having office-based perks if employees aren’t there to benefit from them but digital learning and development, health and wellness allowances, virtual celebrations and meal delivery have an increasingly central role in a re-imagined working world.

It may not be for everyone but for those who choose to work from home or work between home and office, the rewards can be many. It’s been a remarkable shift in the way businesses operate and one that should be fully embraced if it suits all parties. Having the right working environment, ways of working, and technology in place can mean a real boost to productivity, efficiency and wellbeing of any workforce.

Damon Crowhurst
Damon Crowhurst

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