20 Aug Everything you need to expertly manage your hybrid workforce
The pandemic forced many of us to press the fast forward button on the adoption of a hybrid workforce. The unique circumstances meant many businesses had to scramble to connect teams and work effectively from home, with little or no notice.
During this period, we are proud to have helped many of our clients transition from a traditional to remote workforce, and we continue to provide support as many embrace hybrid working as the norm.
How can you make sure your staff have everything they need to work effectively in a hybrid environment?
In this post we have brought together everything you need to expertly manage your hybrid workforce, from hardware and software, to connectivity tools, to ideal employee behaviours and a few things in between.
Looking after the physical and mental health of your teams
In a hybrid working model, an employer’s responsibility extends outside of the office to their employee’s homes. They need to ensure that alongside all the necessary IT requirements, their physical and mental health are also looked after.
- Employees must be regularly reminded about the dos and don’ts of how to work from home effectively. This includes defining a dedicated workspace, time management, regular exercise and breaks, and distinct boundaries between work and home life.
- For desk-based workers, an ergonomically designed workspace can increase productivity and reduce discomfort. It’s more than just buying the best chair or desk on the market. It also requires education on how to avoid hazards and use the furniture, environment, software, and hardware that form your daily working space effectively.
Educating your workforce on best practice and behaviours
When employers and managers spend less time with their teams there’s a danger they assume all users have a firm grasp and understanding of best IT practice because hybrid working sees a greater emphasis on individual responsibility. There’s enormous value in taking time to educate your employees on key fundamentals and ensure they understand what their responsibilities are. This can maximise productivity and avoid potential risk.
- As hybrid working can find employees handling a combination of work data and personal data on the same computer, boundaries between the two inevitably become blurred. It is important for all your employees to understand how to effectively back up data. In an ideal world, work data should be backed up to a work cloud and personal data should be backed up to a separate personal cloud.
- The employment of tools such as Microsoft Teams and Slack alongside traditional email systems enables companies to support their employees working from multiple locations whilst still operating as one team. However, it’s vital employees play their part by ensuring their visibility is accurate and timely across these connectivity tools to ensure any hybrid workforce remains efficient.
- The explosion of smartphone usage twinned with the big shift to home working means more and more of us are accessing our emails using web-based email accounts or via our smartphones, which can leave us more exposed to impersonation phishing. Multi-layered protection along with employee knowledge and education can be crucial to successfully keeping your business systems and data safe.
Connectivity tools for hybrid working
Making sure you have the correct hardware, software, and connectivity in place for your business is critical to enabling your hybrid workforce can operate effectively.
- A cloud platform for a server or for backup solutions offers multiple benefits to hybrid teams. Microsoft Azure is now within the reach of many SMEs and offers an established, open, and flexible cloud platform which is both affordable and scalable. An internet connection simply connects users to their own servers and data via Microsoft Azure’s data centre. This does away with the need for physical hardware typically stored and maintained on site in an office or in a secondary location.
- The functionality of Microsoft Teams makes it the ideal tool for a hybrid workforce. It is easy for businesses to plan and manage staggered working schedules across multiple teams in different locations. Furthermore, with everything saved in one place, it removes the need to search through chat apps and emails to find what you need with everything stored within the Team alongside the relevant files and folders for the project. Transparent file sharing also means employees no longer run the risk of working on outdated versions of documents or getting left out of the loop when projects are updated.
- Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in its simplest iteration enables phone calls over the internet without the use of a landline. VoIP reduces costs, improves both connectivity and productivity, and creates consistency of service for both internal and external contacts and can be seen as essential to hybrid teams. Skype and Zoom are VoIP systems, but advanced business VoIP systems go above and beyond. 3CX for example, offers a true remote working experience to any employee with an internet connection including advanced call centre features, video conferencing and more.
- A VoIP headset linked is an essential piece of kit for hybrid teams and can improve both your internal and external communications. It is a pair of headphones combined with a microphone, enabling users to make and receive phone calls using a VoIP phone service with the added advantage of the user having both hands free. It can be linked to a computer via Bluetooth or a cable. It is important to invest in VoIP headsets which suit not just your budget but also your business needs.
When expert and external IT management makes sense
Safeguarding your digital workspace and all the data it holds is vital. Data is essential for most businesses and secure, easy access is crucial for a healthy workflow but managing it can be risky without the right knowledge and expertise.
- Digital workspaces such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace can be complicated to manage correctly. Engaging an external specialised provider to centrally manage yours can ensure it’s fit for purpose for users, and guarantees a fast and efficient response to issues, requests and threats as they arise.
- Online business applications such as Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, 365 and OneDrive, Box, Google Workspace, Dropbox, Salesforce, and Trello, are an essential and key component of a hybrid working environment. It is important they are adequately backed up and not just by using the in-built default set up. With data spread across multiple applications, organising adequate backup can be a complicated business. There is merit in expert and external backup, disaster recovery and business continuity service tailored to your needs, fully managed and delivered by a third party.
How we can help
We’ve been in business for over 25 years, delivering expert IT support and technology services to our clients.
We have helped countless businesses streamline the systems, communications, and connectivity of their hybrid workforces. Our experience and industry knowledge enable us to ensure each business leverages the best from its technology.
Hybrid working is here to stay. Making sure you are employing the best tools and support for your business to remain connected and efficient in this new landscape will be crucial to success.
If you need help about any aspect of managing your hybrid workforce, just get in touch. We’d love to help.