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Are businesses ready for tomorrow’s hybrid workforce?

Since the sudden move to remote working in early 2020, businesses worldwide have been learning as they go.

Hybrd Work

IT initiatives still in their embryonic stages were rushed through in an unprecedented experiment as organisations battled to stay afloat during the pandemic. Meanwhile, employees have swiftly realised the benefits of more flexible working arrangements and greater work-life integration.

Not quite two years on, the talent landscape has yet again fundamentally shifted. Hybrid working – a model that blends remote work with in-office work – is rapidly gaining traction as the ‘new normal’. Popular with a majority of employees, the hybrid model also offers businesses the chance to redesign their offices into more multi-functional, collaborative environments for tomorrow’s generation of workers.

A world of opportunity awaits. However, the right technology must be in place to support this new hybrid model. Businesses do not have the luxury of waiting for the right innovations to emerge: the future workforce is already knocking on the door, and they demand intuitive, agile systems and solutions on the latest devices. Companies already struggling to keep pace following the upheaval of Covid-19 will find their difficulties multiplied in the years to come if they fail to embrace the flexible future of work.

Apogee Corporation conducted research into employees’ experiences of remote working. The findings underline the urgency with which business must adapt to the changing working environment.

 

Lost in transition

Apogee surveyed over 2,000 UK employees. Over a third (35%) of them reported finding the transition from work to home to hybrid difficult due to technological problems. Further questioning revealed that almost half (45%) of all respondents were left frustrated by malfunctioning laptops and hardware while working from home during the pandemic. Poor internet connection was another common frustration.

Hybrid working may be the future, but businesses can ill afford a future where the remote half of the hybrid model is deficient. Tellingly, almost a fifth (19%) of office workers admitted not knowing who to consult about IT issues while working from home, while 14% found their IT department unreliable. This uncertainty can have a costly impact: the study found that UK workers lost an average of 85 hours to faulty technology and lacking IT support while working remotely during the first wave of Covid. The resulting loss of worktime is estimated to have cost businesses £115 million each week.

Current workplace technology standards are failing to match the seamless, intuitive systems employees use in their private lives. This disconnect is fuelling frustration during working hours, which has concerning repercussions for employee engagement, productivity, and retention.

Hybrd Work
Apogee Leadership Aurelio Maruggi
Great expectations: the talent of tomorrow

The current workforce is hungry for improved IT solutions. When asked for specific areas of progress, 25% of employees wanted a more responsive IT team, while 24% expressed a wish for better facilities and more advanced hardware. With the ‘war for talent’ heating up, it is imperative that businesses make changes now to remain attractive to current and prospective employees.

Our research also uncovered an important generational divide: 87% of employees aged 16-24 expressed a desire to make changes to their company’s IT, compared to only 46% of employees in the 55+ age group. Quicker updates to software, better integration between programmes and apps, and more sustainable technology disposal acquired the highest value rating from the younger generation, offering a bellwether for the evolving demands of the workforce.

A new generation of tech-savvy workers expect more from their employers. As digital natives, they desire systems that offer same level of dependability, access, and seamless mobility that they enjoy in their personal lives. Back in 2013, Business Insider foresaw a “less centralised, more mobile, and more flexible” future workforce. The apparent gulf between expectation and reality more than eight years later will give businesses everywhere pause for thought.

 

Preparing today for tomorrow’s workforce

As hybrid working models continue to characterise the future, employers must redefine their environments now to attract and retain the talent of tomorrow. Empowering the workforce with the right technology, flexibility and personal freedom will allow them to switch seamlessly between home and office work environments, thereby boosting employee satisfaction and productivity.

In an increasingly competitive landscape, businesses need to proactively keep pace. Providing intuitive, cloud-enabling connectivity is a necessity to support the flexible and collaborative workspaces of the future. Organisations can take action today by outsourcing their workplace service supplier. Partnering with a single and reliable go-to organisation will secure robust, expertise-driven solutions for every stage of the journey to hybrid and beyond.


- Aurelio Maruggi, Chief Executive Officer

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