Project Description

Hybrid Work is Broken. Learn the 6 Implications and How to Fix It

Hybrid work has become the norm for most businesses, borne out by a recent Internet Insights survey that found 78% of Kiwi workers surveyed worked “hybrid” – that is working remotely some or all of the time.

While the hybrid work model has provided many opportunities for businesses to operate and grow more efficiently, it has introduced a huge raft of managerial, organisational and technology challenges. These range from data security and remote communications, as well as employee collaboration, motivation, and professional growth.

For most organisations, a technology roadmap is used to align the tech stack and tools to business outcomes. Given the fundamental change in the nature of work for most New Zealand businesses and employees, it’s clear that technology roadmaps need to adapt and reflect these changes.

Here, we explore key considerations and strategic approaches for your technology roadmap to embrace the future of work.

What Are the Different Kinds of Hybrid Work Environments?

While many organisations have adopted a hybrid work model, the actual way it’s implemented varies greatly.

Many factors can influence the type of hybrid work environment an organisation decides to implement, such as the company’s industry, employee preferences, job requirements for each employee, and office location.

Generally speaking, there are four different hybrid work configurations, which are as follows:

A. Flexible Hybrid Work Model

In a flexible hybrid work model, employees get to choose where they want to work, as well as their preferred working hours matched against agreed outputs or KPIs. While this model gives employees a higher level of freedom, it can make collaboration and coordination among team members challenging, specifically in terms of tasks and projects that require in-person teamwork.

B. Fixed-Schedule Hybrid Work Model

In a fixed-schedule hybrid working model, the organisation specifies the exact days and times when employees will be working on site.

This approach facilitates in-person collaboration and makes scheduling meetings less complicated among hybrid teams. The downside is that a fixed hybrid work schedule means less flexibility for employees in terms of when and where to work.

C. Office-First Hybrid Work Model

For this model, staff members normally go to the office, but they can voluntarily pick a few days each week to work from home.

The best thing about this model is that it gives employees the freedom to decide where to work. At the same time, it contributes towards building and maintaining the company’s culture.

However, the office-first model presents some challenges when it comes to tracking the number of employees in the office on any given day and managing resources (desks, meeting areas) within the office space.

D. Remote-First Hybrid Work Model

In a remote-first hybrid model, employees primarily work remotely but can expect to go to the office on certain days for collaboration or training purposes.

One advantage of this model is that it boosts productivity by eliminating commute time. It generally makes employees happier as it helps them maintain a good work-life balance. However, it can lead to company culture issues and employee isolation and a lack of professional development.

How Is the Hybrid Work Model Evolving?

For many organisations, moving from an office-based work environment to a hybrid work model has presented numerous opportunities and challenges.

As a result, the hybrid work model has evolved quickly, driven by technology advancements, changing employee expectations, and the increasing need for work-life balance.

Employees need to be able to collaborate regardless of their location, and data protection has become largely focused on securing endpoints.

In addition, the hybrid work model has provided employees with a higher level of autonomy. CEOs and managerial-level staff are increasingly granting their hybrid employees more decision-making authority to help them adapt to different situations.

Most organisations have realised that there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to implementing and evolving the hybrid work model. Each organisation and employee have unique requirements and preferences, so being flexible here is vital for the successful adoption of the new norm.

How Does Your Technology Roadmap Support Your Teams?

Having a strategic tech roadmap that supports your transition into the digital future is integral for adopting hybrid work at your organisation.

As you replace traditional interactions with tech-enabled communication, incorporating the right mix of IT will help you support your team when working remotely and on-site.

As 78% Kiwis are already working hybrid, to make the transition beyond hybrid work, your technology roadmap should support your team with better tools and infrastructure to maintain security and mobility, facilitate communication and teamwork, and enable seamless scheduling and reporting.

However, many businesses planning a digital transition don’t even have a strategic roadmap, let alone one that carefully aligns technology investment with business objectives.

What are the Implications for your Technology Roadmap Given the Evolution of Hybrid Working?

With the hybrid work model growing and changing at a fast pace, you need to adapt your technology roadmap to your employees’ needs.

To improve your business in a hybrid work environment, it needs to foster a positive company culture and encourage collaboration without neglecting employees’ well-being. You need to consider these 6 factors when creating your technology roadmap:

1. Using Remote Collaboration Tools

With hybrid working, collaboration is happening anywhere and anytime. Your technology roadmap should focus on providing and integrating seamless collaboration tools that enable your remote workers to work together effectively, regardless of their location.

This may involve implementing better cloud-based communication and collaboration platforms, virtual meeting solutions, and document-sharing tools.

2. Improving Endpoint Security

In the hybrid workplace, your workforce becomes distributed, which raises security concerns and challenges.

For that reason, you should adapt your technology roadmap to tackle the shift from centralised servers to securing endpoints. You can realise this by implementing data backup and protection solutions, integrating robust endpoint security measures, and maintaining security and access control protocols that protect sensitive information.

It’s also vital to train remote employees and raise awareness about potential security threats like phishing.

3. Supporting Digital Transformation

Achieving high levels of productivity in the hybrid work environment requires digital transformation, with solutions such as mobility services, cloud adoption strategies, and integration of presence-based technologies to support effective collaboration among distributed teams.

4. Flexibility and Adaptability

Hybrid working has significantly affected predictability in business environments. Hence, you should build your technology roadmap around flexibility and adaptability. Provide clients with decision-making authority, offer agile solutions that can quickly adapt to different situations, and

provide options for customised Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to meet diverse business requirements.

5. Partnerships and Future-Proofing

To embrace hybrid work, you need agile tech partners that have the resources and expertise needed to anticipate future workplace-related trends.

Establish partnerships with technology vendors and service providers that offer comprehensive solutions tailored to the needs of a decentralised work environment. You’ll then be able to future-proof your technology roadmap and adapt to changes in the hybrid work model.

6. Employee Well-Being and Productivity

Employee well-being and productivity is vital when shifting your work environment beyond your current hybrid set up.

Consequently, you need to align your technology roadmap with employee needs. Provide tools and technologies that enhance employees’ experience, support work-life balance, and ensure that the IT infrastructure contributes positively to overall job satisfaction and efficiency.

Is Your Technology Roadmap Keeping Pace With the Change in Hybrid Work?

Click here to learn how the hybrid work model is evolving and how you can adapt your technology roadmap accordingly.