15 Jun 2021
A growing number of businesses are embracing hybrid working, where employees divide their time between working in the office and remotely. Our IT Manager, Nourhan Elshenawi, explains why she thinks this approach will work for our organisation.
Let me start by saying that I believe hybrid working will work really well for Funding Options.
As a scaleup, it suits the nature of our business. To continue growing and attracting the best talent we need to operate flexibly, and the hybrid working model allows for this.
Hybrid working also aligns with the culture of our business. It suits those who want to achieve a healthier work-life balance, as well as employees who’d like to take advantage of our remote work policy by occasionally combining work with travel.
That said, an appetite for hybrid working isn’t enough.
To really make the remote side of hybrid working viable, you need to have the right IT infrastructure in place.
Most businesses are moving towards a cloud based IT model and the growth of remote work is being driven by this transition to the cloud.
Funding Options is a cloud-based company, which means we can be flexible in the way we approach where we work from. Technically, we could all work remotely full-time, although we’ve chosen not to abandon the office entirely (more on that later).
Videoconferencing and cloud communication software makes it easier to collaborate remotely.
Another important benefit of adopting a cloud-centric approach, particularly when it comes to remote working, is cloud automation.
Getting technology to carry out tasks with minimal human intervention drives efficiency and enables employees to focus on more value-added and creative work.
Systems take care of themselves, without the need for a person to be in a certain space (such as the office) at a specific time.
Speaking as an IT specialist, I’ve found that working remotely during the pandemic has taken the pressure off and driven greater efficiency in resolving IT related issues.
One of the main reasons we still want people working from the office – at least on a part-time basis – is for security.
For instance, setting up new starters remotely is more challenging, and the office is much more secure when it comes to assigning equipment, etc.
It’s also easier to onboard new starters in a face-to-face context.
Research shows that effective onboarding leads to happier employees. Coming to the office can help people feel more anchored and gain a better understanding of company culture, as well as how their role fits in with the rest of the business.
Supplementing remote work with in-office work also allows newbies to get to know the rest of the team quicker, and for existing members of staff to nurture their relationships.
As great as Microsoft Teams and Zoom may be, many of us would agree that they’re no match for in-person interaction.
Funding Options is a social bunch. We regularly run team building events and social gatherings that employees can join if they want to (Covid restrictions permitting).
A survey by WeWork and The Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative published in 2020 revealed that employees value a ‘sense of community’. They want to collaborate with others and be part of something greater than themselves.
Hybrid working removes the pressure of always having to be in the office, while providing people with a dedicated place where they can collaborate meaningfully with their teams and be part of a community.
What’s more, the focus is on output rather than assessing performance according to how much time the individual spends at their desk.
As with most things, the key is in the planning.
If you’re considering going down the hybrid route you should spend some time mapping out a remote/hybrid work policy.
The following, outlines your expectations as an employer and will help you to manage employees’ expectations from the word go.
Consider the following:
Eligibility – not all teams or roles are suited to hybrid work, so who exactly is allowed to work remotely?
Policies – employees need to know what the rules are when remote working: does your employee handbook make this clear?
Expectations – how are you going to be measuring performance moving forward?
Communication – which cloud platforms will you be using to communicate and collaborate with employees? (At Funding Options we use Monday for collaborating on marketing projects, for instance.)
Ultimately, by embracing a hybrid approach and reducing the time people spend commuting, your employees won’t be left with that feeling of ‘sacrificing’ their life for work.
We’re seeing hybrid working as a new challenge. As with all challenges it keeps things innovative and interesting. We’ll be listening to feedback as we go, keeping an open mind and evolving in line with employee and customer expectations.
This new approach is all about flexibility, after all.
To find out more about working at Funding Options, head here.
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