Introducing hybrid working to your business

It seems like everyone is talking about ‘hybrid working’. What is it?

Put simply it means a flexible working agreement where an employee works from a variety of different locations – including an agreed space such as ‘the office’. Inevitable following the past couple of years and a positive cultural shift.

Here are five tips for business leaders who want to implement an effective hybrid working model:

1. Research
Speak with your workforce and take time to plan. Consider job roles that need to be performed in the office. Consider the maximum space capacities of your available workspaces, to allow comfortable distancing where required. Listen to your staff, ask their opinions and how they envision successful hybrid working.

2. Establish a routine
Consider a weekly routine which sees different people physically in the office on certain days. Perhaps core working hours would ensure collaboration takes place, regardless of location. Some people might prefer starting their day earlier or later than others. It’s important to give some flexibility, but by setting the hours you expect your staff to be online, you lay foundations for a successful on-going hybrid working routine.

3. Define communication methods
Look to achieve one culture, regardless of where team members are located. Support this by determining communication channels. We advocate Microsoft 365, but many apps exist. Establish a standard and don’t allow your teams to mix and match different platforms, as this extends your system surface area for cyber-attack, making it much harder to secure. The apps and solutions we find work well are Teams, Teams Rooms and Whiteboard, all part of the Microsoft 365 suite.
• Microsoft Teams allows seamless chat and files sharing amongst colleagues and workgroups.
• Microsoft Teams Rooms integrates your existing meeting room spaces with advanced cameras, microphones, displays and control unit. You invite your ‘Teams Rooms’ equipped room to your meeting, then hit ‘Join’ using the control panel in the room. It’s never been easier to meet, bring remote staff into the room virtually.
• Microsoft Whiteboard allows you to interact, brainstorm and collaborate on a digital whiteboard within Microsoft Teams.

Consider training sessions on new apps, to get your team up and running quickly.

4. Get the right equipment
Don’t expect people to work efficiently while perched on their sofa. Take time to complete a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment of individual home working areas. Provide staff with adequate equipment (desk, chair, monitor, etc.) where required. Laptops provide more flexibility than desktop PCs. Equipping your office with hot-desks that allow single-cable laptop connect to a display, monitor, keyboard, network and charging (via USB-C) allows staff to arrive and work quickly and easily.

5. Move everything to the cloud
Cloud computing is the delivery of your business systems to your team members via the internet. Many cloud services utilise a pay-as-you-go model, minimising business costs while allowing you to scale the business as it grows. Traditionally businesses would buy, deploy and manage their own IT infrastructure, but cloud computing has brought many benefits:
• Reduced costs – gone are the days of purchasing hardware and running data centres within a business and resource is no longer needed to manage this infrastructure.
• Performance – infinite capacity is available at your fingertips. Businesses can leverage computing power as and when required. Seasonal businesses can achieve high performance at peak times without compromise, scaling back at quiet times to reduce costs.
• Scale – you pay for what you need, so its easy to scale up and increase the computing power, storage and bandwidth very quickly.
• Security – mainstream cloud providers are a big target for malicious activity, so they’re leaders at protecting themselves with cutting edge solutions and resources. Most small or medium businesses could only dream of protecting themselves in a similar way.
• Reliability – moving your technology requirements to the cloud removes any single points of IT failure. Hardware issues within a cloud data centre aren’t felt by customers, as providers build-in resilience to achieve service guarantees typically over 99%.
• Productivity – collaboration is easy. Your workforce can be anywhere with an Internet connection to be connected.

Get in touch with Highstream if you’d like support in preparing your business for hybrid working.

Highstream Solutions are a North West based IT provider, enabling customers to focus on their core business by removing the noise and hassle associated with business technology. We offer a one-stop shop, including support, security, infrastructure, cloud, hardware and software solutions, as well as strategic guidance.
01244 952 500

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