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Five tools to support hybrid working

More employers than ever are now offering some form of hybrid working to their staff. If you’re looking to join them and bring hybrid working into your office, we share the essential tools you’ll need to make it a success.

What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working is a flexible working model that supports both in-office and home working. Sometimes, employees may have specific days during the week that they come into the office. Others may choose when they come in depending on the tasks they need to complete.

New data from the CIPD shows that more than three-quarters of organisations in the UK offer hybrid working. But just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s easy. Hybrid working needs planning and some nifty tools to make it successful

Stanmore Office Design supports hybrid working

Do I really need tools to support hybrid working?

You don’t necessarily need lots of tools to make hybrid working successful – but investing in the right tools will make your job so much easier!

Workplace tools can make or break your employees’ experience of hybrid working. If it feels like too much hard work to come into the office, staff might avoid doing so. As an employer this means you’ll miss out on the benefits of bringing your teams together. By investing in the right tools, you’ll support your staff to maintain productivity, no matter what their location.

What tools do I need?

Below, we’ve put together our list of the top tools you’ll need to seamlessly integrate hybrid working into your business. By having these tools in place, your teams will be able to work efficiently and collaboratively regardless of their physical location.  

1. Desk booking functionality

If you’re office is going hybrid, it’s likely that you’ve already taken the decision to introduce desk sharing. Afterall, if employees aren’t in the office all week, they don’t (necessarily) need a desk of their own. If this is the case for your business, you will want to consider implementing a desk booking system. This will help you to know who is in the office – but will also alleviate any anxiety staff may have about coming in. It may sound like a small thing, but knowing there’s a desk to work at when we arrive is a big thing for many of us.

A desk booking system also has the added benefit of helping you as an employer to better manage space. Data from the system will show you if and when desks are being used. If they are not, you could cut desks to make way for more collaborative spaces for example.

2. Virtual meeting tools

While it has many benefits, hybrid working does make it trickier to get everyone together in the same place. Virtual meeting tools, like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, are great as you can convene people, wherever they happen to be working from that day.

To really embrace hybrid meetings, you’ll want to make sure your meeting rooms can accommodate people meeting in-person and dialling in from other locations. To do this, you’ll need large screens and audio and video conferencing technology. Dual-screen setups can also be useful as you’ll be able to present while also seeing those joining the meeting remotely.

High tech office design to support hybrid meetings

3. Online chat

Emails and phone and video calls are great but sometimes, we just want a quick chat with a colleague. This can be tricky when you are not in the same place which is why online chat is a great option. Platforms like Slack and Team help your employees to connect informally without the pressure that comes with a meeting or call.

Online chat also saves time. Its less formal style means it’s perfectly acceptable to reply with an emoji or gif, rather than typing out a response. It’s also great for sharing ideas or best practice examples.

4. Collaboration tools

Who doesn’t love an ideas gathering session? In the ‘old days’, teams would gather round a whiteboard or flipchart and get out the post-it notes. But what do you do when your session is a hybrid one? Virtual collaboration tools, like Miro or Jamboard could be just the ticket! These are essentially digital whiteboards that let you collaborate in real time. Another great option is Google Docs which allows all collaborators to edit the document in real time.

5. The office itself

We may be a teensy bit biased, but we’d argue that, above all else, you need an office building that supports hybrid working for it to be successful. Generally speaking, employees tend to come into the office for collaboration and innovation. So, first and foremost, your office design should support this. A range of different spaces, such as meeting rooms, stand-up meeting areas and comfortable seating, is a great start.

Office design with a mix of environments to support collaboration

Next up, offices will need to be highly tech-enabled to support the digital tools listed above. Staff will need computer equipment that is compatible with all the latest software and the necessary wires and cables should be readily available and clearly labelled to support a ‘plug in and go’ approach.

If you’re interested in redesigning your office to support hybrid working, please get in touch. We’re passionate about creating spaces that get the best out of your people and support your unique ways of working.

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