The Hybrid Workplace


The Hybrid Workplace Pros and Cons

Let’s cut to the chase Working from home is great for lots of reasons

Flexibility, time management, travel costs, and when you finish for the day you are home immediately, unless of course you work at the bottom of the garden in a home office/cabin set-up.The problem with working from home is of course no one else works from your home. Your colleagues and work buddies all (usually) work from somewhere else, but even that’s ok in this covid age as we all have zoom and skype and anything else that lets us image in a new backdrop of a beach or laboratory.The problem that many companies are facing is that we don’t really know how much interaction in a normal working day we actually have with our fellow work buddies. The little joke, the cup of coffee, the general belonging that we all feel when working under the one roof has gone. Zoom won’t bring that back because we don’t have the physical pleasure of actually being in the same room to capture that all important vibe.The academy of management review in 2015 did some research on the subject and said “how you relate to your coworkers can make or break how you feel about your job. When you identify with them, for instance, you’re much more likely to be happy with the organisation you work for.”How many times have you heard work colleagues or friends say “it’s not what you do or where you work, it’s who you work with that makes you feel happy in your job” . The question that perhaps we all need to resolve first in this current climate is, “what makes us happy at work?“Working from home and the remoteness of it is going to affect people in many different ways, but one key affect will be not feeling part of the approach or decision making process that your organisation has undertaken.The management decisions, the direction of your division, the sales targets that you will be judged by, are all elements that unless carefully communicated, will cause unease and trepidation moving forward because they will feel delivered to you rather than created by you.

Virtual line management is not a skill that many managers have been taught how to do.

Line management is commonly exerted via peer pressure and a “leading from the front style” of management approach. So when the manager is at home disconnected from the team, their unease and lack of management techniques will come to the fore very quickly.How many managers paper over these inadequacies by utilising their personalities to create the professional vibe organisations crave, but if everyone is at home, that’s an awful lots of “hope you are ok” personal calls someone is going to have to make, and the personality of the manager will not transfer anywhere near as well.

A dedicated enablement practice is a hallmark of high-performing organisations.

Whether your organisation wants to launch a sales enablement function or further develop existing disciplines to ensure that end users are benefiting from the depth of the companies portfolio. There are several enablement best practices to consider that will go a very long way to ensuring that employees who are “remote working” feel the warmth of inclusion from the company they work for.

Create an enablement charter

The path to enablement maturity begins with the creation of an enablement charter. Your charter documents the expectations of senior executives and its anticipated impact on business and sales strategies. It also identifies challenges you expect to encounter as you develop your enablement practice.

Evaluate your current state

Where your organisation currently is from an enablement perspective, also allows improvements to be mapped accordingly to keep interest and buy in from everyone involved.
From there, you can begin to create a roadmap for enablement transformation within your organisation and know how far you have.

Align to the end user journey

Enablement processes must be aligned to the outcomes and journey of the end user. They must also take into account the decisions that occurs at each stage of the journey so that content, training and coaching can be tailored to the challenges the end user encounters at each stage.

Collect existing content and track it

Evaluate your existing content and discard anything that is not relevant to the stages of the end user journey so that all the content that will be distributed is accurate, pertinent, and above all on point for what the end users want to achieve.Similarly, assess your training services to ensure consistency with content and the skill profiles of your workforce. Training things that are out of date or inaccurate does not help the engagement of your employees and happens more often than organisations realise.Creating content is useless unless you can track who is using it, for how long, and where it has been forwarded to. Without this sort of clarity being able to action follow up tasks is very difficult and time consuming.Imagine having all of your technical content in a form that the marketing team can just cut and paste knowing that it is accurate and on topic, and then also knowing how long each person has read what they have been sent, and who they in turn forwarded it to for commentary.This is when enablement comes into its own because learning becomes prescriptive and obvious, but backed up with the depth and accuracy to really influence your employees and your clients.

The final element organisations constantly overlook is feedback.

Surveys are great but they can end up stale and usually inaccurate. Employees never really believe that they are anonymous and often never tell the real story of how they feel. Surveys also tend to not capture the feelings of the masses rather a more considered point of view from the employees that can be bothered, or interested enough to undertake the survey in the first place. Therefore this can paint a slightly inaccurate picture of how things really are within the organisation.Few areas of technology are as fundamental to the employee experience as the devices and software they use. But chances are, your firm and executive colleagues view them as a cost to the business and a risk to the overall organisation if not used in the way they should be being used.Changing this perception starts with documenting precisely how your technology investments and strategy link to the employee experience strategy and goals of your business.Having portals for feedback, user group meetings for product and service feedback, and detailed employee interviews after 3, 6, and 12 months, plus exit interview analysis, all help with developing the culture that will make your employees more engaged and feel listened to. 

Final thoughts

The obvious points here are that we generally like working from home but when we want to. We also generally like working with people  but not always. Building a workplace that delivers that kind of experience is a challenge in these Covid days because successful working from home programmes have to be very cognisant of the many different aspects that lead to feelings of disillusionment, remoteness and general lack of inclusion.If products and services are not capturing user input because of this lack of interaction, development cycles are likely to be affected, feature sets could be truncated, and services impacted for 18 months or so into 2022 and beyond. The drive to ensure that the data being returned is accurate is going to be severe to say the least.The best performing companies and organisations will be the ones who capture user feedback, engage with employees for new features, train their employees with content that is the most pertinent, track who is using what, and subsequently because of this they will provide their clients the very best services and outcomes.The question is can this be achieved at home watching “cash in the attic”?

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