The corona pandemic has greatly accelerated a trend that has been important for a longer time: digital communication. A meeting via Teams or Zoom has become second nature to us. Although these communication tools have existed for some time, we were often tempted to sit down together in a meeting room with our cup of coffee. By now we all know how important the possibility of digital communication is and we also know the power of collaboration tools. On the other hand, another trend has come to the surface as a result of the pandemic; that of the self-directed and self-organizing professional. These two trends play an important role in successfully implementing or driving hybrid working in an organization. Therefore, as an organization, it is high time to think about how you can unify these trends so that hybrid working is properly organized in your organization.
Hybrid working is the new normal
Many organizations already had the habit of collaborating remotely, and that group has only grown. However, employees have noticed that working from home independently for 5 days is a bit too much. It is quite lonely at times, and seeing each other at the coffee machine had its advantages. Not just for the social aspect, but also to discuss ideas with each other or to get inspired. A feeling of connectedness with the organization and colleagues is lacking. As a result, a countermovement is developing; the professional who indicates they definitely don’t want to continue to work at home exclusively. However, they don’t want to have their work-from-home days taken away either, so they can easily do some laundry in between tasks, or go for a quick walk.
Connection of home and office workers
For every employer, the past period of working from home has also been an eye opener, because so much can be saved by having less expensive business premises and less travel by employees. However, a more traditional manager will also have some difficulty with hybrid working; he or she will have to take on the role of a connector and will not automatically be at the center of a department or team. So there is not only a mindshift for the self-directed professional, but also for employers, who must act as expert matchmakers. Many organizations are therefore now concluding; connecting home workers and office workers comes with challenges.
Challenges for organizations in hybrid working
As an organization, you will be faced with specific issues as a result of the changes towards (more) hybrid working. Perhaps you already have video conferencing tools, but are wondering if they are the right ones. Can the traditional video conferencing system in my meeting room “talk” to the video conferencing tools that employees use on their own devices at home? Supporting all these different platforms and systems is quite a challenge. But also: how can I communicate effectively with my employees; where is everyone and what tools do they use? And how can I effectively address a larger group? You can manage a Zoom conversation, but addressing a larger group – including clients, suppliers or other external parties – requires other capacities. Fortunately, good support in case of technological hiccups and pleasant user training can already be a big help here. Because ultimately you don’t just want a good technical connection and support that you can rely on, you also want an easy-to-use system. So that an employee in any meeting room can start any meeting with one push of a button.
Enabling creativity and connectedness
No matter how well you have set up multiplatform collaboration, that doesn’t mean you are also keeping your meetings alive. Of course, you can use breakout rooms or polling to keep everyone on track, but many organizations are currently finding that innovation and virtual communication do not go well together. Ideally, you want to be together in a room with that classic whiteboard that you can fill with ideas. We want to learn from each other, be in co-creation with each other and feel connected. If this cannot be met, the quality of the work done by employees will also decline. After all, people need some form of creativity to come up with new ideas or come up with that different angle. This strategic step that hybrid organizations need to take requires much more than just enabling conferencing via Zoom. And the opposing movement that no longer wants to work solely from home will also ask for this, because these professionals are increasingly aware of what is possible digitally.
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