Is your organization working towards a hybrid work model where half your employees work from the office and the others work from home? Or have you gone fully remote? Chances are it’s one of those two options — the hybrid approach is now the national standard.
Almost 60% of workers (about 92 million people) in the United States can now choose to work remotely. Of that figure, 87% take full advantage of that opportunity.
No matter if you are in the planning, implementation, or adoption phase of hybrid work, it can be difficult for you to know if you have set everyone up for success in the best possible way — without compromising performance and productivity.
You must save your business from becoming siloed, keep everyone connected, and somehow streamline your operations all at the same time. That’s a daunting task for any business owner.
In this blog, we look at the three elements to a successful modern work strategy and reveal the same implementation plan we use with our clients to help them thrive in a hybrid world.
Staying Connected in a Hybrid World
The benefit of an office space or central working location is that you always have a good idea of where everybody is, and where everything should be.
But now, employees can work from anywhere — even at non-standard times — and their work usually lives in a shared database.
What you need are easy and efficient communication tools that bring order to chaos.
Huddles still happen in the hybrid world. Emails and telephone calls still have their place, but videoconferencing is becoming the top choice for both group and one-on-one meetings.
More than that, communication needs to also be a collaboration.
Project management applications are now used to create assignments, get updates, and see when they are completed with just a few clicks.
Communications technology has evolved to the point that with the right applications, all the positives of a centralized office environment can be found remotely. Except, of course, the physical connection that comes from being together.
Automating Time-consuming Tasks
More than 200 years ago, the first industrial revolution transformed the workplace. Machines not only made work easier, but they also made it possible for businesses to scale to an unprecedented level.
In today’s fast-paced world, the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 has taken things to the next level — automation.
Now many of your routine and mundane tasks can be run by computer programs and algorithms.
There are digital forms to capture data and instantly feed it to your database, artificial intelligent programs that can identify defects in your production, or office applications such as Power Automate that streamline whole workflows.
But while most of those technologies can’t replace people and still need to be monitored, embracing the modern workplace, and automating tasks like these will free your people to focus on higher priorities and drive more value for your business.
Streamlining Your Day-to-Day Operation
Efficient processes and people are important for your bottom line. Finding efficiencies and implementing them into your company culture is at the heart of a modern workplace.
Many technology companies have realized that not all users need to have a technical or programming degree.
Modern applications have been transitioning to “no-code” drag-and-drop building systems. This has allowed companies to create their own unique apps without having to hire a software firm to write custom code for them.
They identify a process that can be simplified, like data logging, build an app for that and roll it to the people on the shop floor who need it.
What used to be an expensive and time-consuming process is now shortened to weeks, at a fraction of the cost, and gives your people a new tool to do their work better.
What can your business do?
Examine the various processes your people follow.
Once you decide which ones are repetitive, prone to human error, or could be automated, look at the tools built into your suite of software applications. If they are older, it might be time to upgrade so you can take advantage of the features that modern technology has to offer.
The 3-Step Journey to Modern Work
Your investments in technology and applications that allow efficient hybrid work will only reach their full value when everyone within the organization has adopted and uses the tools.
That is why we have also developed a three-step approach that has been instrumental in helping several organizations adopt the hybrid work model:
The Awareness Stage
Knowing what tools are available and seeing how they can be used is the start of the journey into the hybrid world. This stage is all about what we like to call the “Art of the Possible.”
Just like an office setting, your staff will need access to software applications that allow them to communicate, create, and maintain productivity. Along the way, you can simplify your IT setup, and lock in more predictable management and costs.
The key to making this work for you is standardization. Whichever software solution you decide on, it's important for efficiency and consistency that everyone uses the same programs and processes.
Here are three things to consider when building the roadmap:
The first thing you want to do is write down a list of your business and workplace goals.
It’s only once you identify what you want to accomplish that you can adopt the right technology and process to support that.
When you compile your goals make sure they are measurable and realistic.
A few things to consider are improved productivity, capacity, flexibility, and employee satisfaction.
Once you have a list of business goals, it is time to prioritize them and identify the right processes to support them.
Which goals are the most valuable, feasible, and achievable? What about your current processes and programs that made it difficult for your people to do their best work? What was slowing you down?
Auditing your current process will help you figure out where you are not finding success in relation to your goals.
Your adoption of technology needs to be seen as an investment. That’s why it’s important to assess the costs of achieving your goals, how long it will take, and when you can begin to see a return on your investment.
Once you have done these three things you might even find it’s quite easy to implement changes right away.
The Discovery Stage
The second stage is where you begin to build your technology strategy or technology roadmap. The best way to do this is with a technology strategy.
By thinking and planning strategically, you can look at the whole investment and justify each project, relative to all other needs, BEFORE a decision is made. As a result, you make better decisions. Breaking it down simply, a strong technology strategy has two focus areas:
- Foundation investment – Your baseline investment to ensure your technology is reliable, available, and secure.
- Innovation investment – Your investment in moving the organization forward, improving your processes, and becoming more efficient
The purpose of a strong strategy must be to find the sweet spot between your foundation and innovation investment, matching the highest reliability, availability, and security with innovative solutions that make you a leader in your industry.
Discovery looks different in every organization, but this checklist for shop floor automation might help you push a little deeper into your full opportunity for automation.
The Value Stage
But technology isn’t meaningful until you know what value it really provides.
Adopting a modern workplace has a compounding benefit to both your efficiency and bottom line. But the value of your technology must extend beyond the numbers.
Whether it’s helping you scale to meet the demands of your clients, supporting four different generations of employees in your office, or protecting your assets against the latest security threats — a modern workplace needs to help you adapt without compromising performance.
Here to Help (If You Need it)
Adopting technology is an iterative process. It takes time and can be done gradually so it doesn’t disrupt the flow of your business.
But knowing what programs and software are right for your unique business isn’t easy — and even then, it can be hard to know that you’re getting the most value from them.
If you feel like adopting a modern workplace is overwhelming or you don’t feel you have the time to design your own technology roadmap from scratch, we get it.
This process is simple, but it is time-consuming. If you would like a bit more help, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our tech advisors and we’ll make sure you build a modern workplace the right way.