The corporate landscape has changed drastically over the last year. While the pandemic has opened many businesses to new working styles, some might be hesitant to adapt. In truth, hybrid working models are nothing new – many companies have been dabbling with them for years. While some might have been willing to give them a try, others were unwilling, determinately sticking to their old ways.
In a post-pandemic world, however, adapting to a new working style is not only common but expected. Even if companies are steadfast in their set concepts, there is a clear notion that leadership teams should be open to trying something different.
Flexible Working Styles are the New Black
One thing that the pandemic has taught the workforce is that working styles can be flexible. Working from home was a safety necessity to keep social distancing practices while maintaining business practices. Hybrid scheduling is not a practice to undertake in an emergency or a cutting-edge perk at hip companies, it is something that nearly any business can adapt and has seen become successful.
COVID has also highlighted the importance of a healthy work/life balance and prioritizing mental health in the workplace. In an article for Fortune.com, Debra Chrapaty, vice president and COO of Amazon Alexa says, “I think COVID and working from home has shined a bright light on [work/life balance] for all companies. We have a more geographically and diverse workforce with many different kinds of needs.” Chrapaty goes on to say that feedback from employees is important in keeping a good understanding of communication.
Offices Have Options
Just as no two businesses operate the same, there are plenty of options for companies returning to the office or creating a new normal after the pandemic. The Harvard Business Review lays out the five basic options:
• Back to Normal: returning to office life as it was before the pandemic (perhaps with a bit more sanitizing)
• The Social Hub: the office becomes a gathering space for employees to collaborate as needed, then return home to work. Activity-based working: no one in the office has an assigned desk. Instead, the office is made up of workstations, meeting rooms, lounges, and so on. Employees rotate between working from home and in the office.
• Hub and Spoke: instead of everyone traveling to one office location, multiple satellite offices are strategically positioned based on where employees live.
• Fully Remote: Each employee works virtually – whether from home, a coffee shop, their local library – wherever they may choose.
Each of these options has its benefits and drawbacks. Some companies work the best face to face and can better complete tasks when in a group, collaborative setting. On the other hand, ditching the traditional office setting can save companies big bucks on lease agreements, property taxes, upkeep costs, and many other operational expenses.
As we move into a post-pandemic workforce, it can be assumed that going back to “business as normal” as we remember it. Employees aside, clients and customers have also acclimated to virtual meetings and remote collaboration. Employees and businesses may disagree, but it is one business factor that will continue to fluctuate.
CEO Solutions is a peer-to-peer professional group founded after the financial crisis of 2008. Many of the same hardships that companies faced back then have reemerged since the pandemic, and our values have remained the same. We firmly believe that in the business world, growth, change, and accountability are mandatory. Nothing can be improved without change.
If you are interested in joining our group, visit our website to learn how to become a member.