No policy in place? Sorry, but your hybrid working will fail

From business growth to onboarding, the vast majority of business processes are driven by a policy.

No policy in place? Sorry

From business growth to onboarding, the vast majority of business processes are driven by a policy. While ‘policy’ often prompts drab visions of rules and restrictions, underpinning such processes is vital to their effectiveness. Hybrid working is no exception – formalising hybrid working with an accompanying policy is critical to its success.

But new research commissioned by Ricoh Europe reveals that, of 3,000 workers surveyed across the continent, just 19% say their workplace has a hybrid working policy. Such an omission obstructs business’ from realising more accommodating and agile ways of working.

Crucially, our latest research demonstrates that European employees remain cautious about returning to the office full time. A hybrid working policy not only addresses such anxiety, but also ensures that companies can enjoy the full advantages of hybrid working – from attraction and retention of talent to protecting company culture. 

Confidence & clarity

Currently, less than a third (32%) of European workers believe there has been an increase in safe access to equipment, such as lockers for picking up IT equipment. Without clarity around the steps taken to make sure the workplace is safe, businesses unknowingly deter employees from returning to the office.

Taking the time to clarify a hybrid working policy reassures employees that measures have been introduced, thereby encouraging workers that they can safely and confidently return to the office.

Employee engagement

Many workers are struggling to access the right technology and spaces when in the office. According to our research, less than half (45%) of European workers have seen an increase in meeting room communication technology to aid hybrid working. 

This could cause significant friction for employees and discourage them from being present on a regular basis. If left unaddressed, workplace productivity could decline while top talent seeks more flexible employment.

Collaboration & innovation

Additionally, almost a quarter of workers (23%) have actually seen a reduction in the amount of collaboration space in their office. If the technology staff have at home is readily accessible and as effective, why go into the office where the tools needed might be unavailable? 

A lack of technology and appropriate spaces is a disservice to both staff and company culture. It is no secret that office-based working encourages collaboration and innovation. Why jeopardise this by lacking a clear and cohesive policy?

At Ricoh, we are in the business of leading change that unleashes human potential through the power and opportunity of technology. This is built on our deep understanding of technology’s role in the processes of the workplace – both on site and remotely.

For example, as part of its long-term hybrid work strategy, we helped easyJet adopt smarter working practices. This started with a comprehensive workplace platform for structured and safe desk booking. Since introducing hybrid working with RICOH Spaces, easyJet has seen significant positive engagement with staff valuing the greater flexibility. This includes the option for its 1,500 employees to select desk spaces close to key colleagues, thus helping to foster more effective collaboration and welcome masses of staff back to the office.

The fact is, hybrid working without the accompanying clarity provided by a policy is akin to a house with no foundation – sure to soon crumble. And ‘crumble’ will never have positive connotations in a business world where progress is forever essential.

Caroline Bright
Caroline Bright

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