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Hybrid working software: what is it, and why is it important?
//03-01-2024

Hybrid working software: what is it, and why is it important?

by Advanced PR, Author

What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working blends traditional office environments with the flexibility of remote work, offering employees the autonomy to work from a location that suits their lifestyle. Particularly beneficial for desk-based or travelling staff, or those working remotely, it's a model that has found favour with the modern workforce. The beauty of the hybrid workplace model is its adaptability—it caters to a wide range of needs and reflects the evolving dynamics of our workplaces. While its implementation may vary across teams and companies, at its heart, it's about empowering employees with choice and flexibility, forging a more responsive and inclusive work culture.

Data from the Advanced Workforce Survey Trends Report of 2021 supports this trend. The report found that 60% of the workforce were in favour of a clearly defined policy around hybrid working, indicating a strong desire for structure in this new work environment. Nearly half of employees worry about balancing work and life in a hybrid setting, highlighting the need for clear boundaries. Interestingly, if offered hybrid work, 60% would create a dedicated home workspace. This shows employee readiness to adapt to new work arrangements.

It's important to remember, though, that these findings are based on 2021 data. As we continue to navigate the nuances of hybrid working, these attitudes and trends are subject to change. In this light, it's crucial for organisations to stay informed and responsive, ensuring they continue to support their workforce effectively in the hybrid era. 

What do experts think about hybrid working?

Many experts agree that the hybrid working model is not only effective but also likely to be a mainstay in the future of work. For instance, a report on hybrid working from the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research notes that:

"Hybrid arrangements balance the benefits of being in the office in person — greater ability to collaborate, innovate and build culture — with the benefits of remote work such as no commute and flexibility."

As we navigate the evolving landscape of work, flexibility remains key. Claire Ross, Head of Culture at Advanced, champions this shift towards adaptability. With a forward-thinking approach, she challenges traditional work norms and encourages us to rethink our approach to office presence and remote working. Here's what she has to say:

“Hybrid working is about enabling the best people experience for that strategic asset of your people who deliver business outcomes. It becomes less around where you get work done and more how you get that same work done. How can the facilities, technologies and ways of working you establish allow colleagues to come together to collaborate but equally thrive independently dependant on the task at hand”

-          Claire Ross, Head of Culture, Advanced 

Emerging trends

  1. Reassessing hybrid models: The Okta Hybrid Work Report 2023 reveals that two-thirds of UK businesses plan to reassess their hybrid model within the next 18 months, indicating the evolving nature of hybrid work.
  2. Shift in workplace trend:Key statistics show that only 30% of UK companies are working fully on-site today, compared to 57% before. This shift reflects the growing acceptance and implementation of hybrid work models.
  3. Future of work is hybrid: In May 2023, 83% of UK businesses recognised the future of work as hybrid, as reported by the  UK Hybrid Work Commission.  
  4. Return to office: Despite the growth of hybrid work, more UK employees are returning to offices full-time than those working in a hybrid setup.
  5. Global knowledge workers: By the end of 2023, 39% of global knowledge workers will work hybrid, up from 37% in 2022, according to Gartner.

What hybrid working software does

Hybrid workplace software is a suite of digital tools designed to facilitate the effective functioning of hybrid workplaces, where employees split their time between working in an office and working remotely. It aims to bridge the gap between physical and virtual workspaces, ensuring that employees can collaborate and communicate seamlessly regardless of their location.

These software tools encompass a wide variety of functionalities, from project management and scheduling to real-time communication and document sharing. For example,  

The primary goal of these hybrid working tools is to enhance productivity and collaboration in a mixed working environment. By providing a unified platform where teams can plan, coordinate, and track their work, these tools help businesses maintain efficiency and cohesion even when their employees are spread across multiple locations.

Moreover, hybrid workplace tools can contribute to employee satisfaction by facilitating flexibility and promoting work-life balance. It allows employees to choose where they work best, whether that's in the office or at home, and ensures they have the tools they need to succeed in either setting.

Why hybrid working software is becoming more important

The move towards hybrid workplace software is gaining momentum globally among businesses, and it's easy to see why. This technology forms the core of a strong hybrid working model, delivering a solid platform that facilitates smooth collaboration and communication, irrespective of whether staff are office-based or working remotely.

The rising importance of hybrid work software rests largely on its ability to foster work-life balance and enhancing employee satisfaction. It equips staff with the tools to work efficiently from anywhere, offering more control over their schedules and boosting productivity.

Moreover, it provides companies with cost benefits by broadening the talent pool beyond geographical constraints. The software also offers valuable behavioural analytics, enabling data-driven decisions for improved efficiency.

The benefits of effective hybrid working software

The benefits of effective hybrid working software are manifold. From bolstering productivity to enhancing flexibility, these digital tools offer a host of advantages that can help businesses thrive in the modern work landscape. Here are three key benefits:

Increased productivity

Hybrid workplace software plays a pivotal role in providing a unified platform for collaboration and communication. It enables teams to coordinate projects, share documents, and hold meetings irrespective of their location, thereby reducing downtime and boosting efficiency.

Enhanced flexibility

One of the key attractions of hybrid work models is their flexibility. With the right software, staff aren't confined to a strict 9-to-5 timetable or a specific location. This allows them the freedom to work at times and places where or when they feel most productive, enhancing their work-life balance and job satisfaction.

Improved collaboration and learning opportunities

Hybrid workplace software can also enhance teamwork significantly. Functions like live video meetings, and instant chats encourage smooth communication, simplifying the process for teams to collaborate on common tasks.

Many hybrid working tools offer features that support continuous learning and upskilling. This could be through integrated e-learning platforms or the ability to easily share knowledge and resources, thereby promoting professional development within the organisation.

How to choose effective hybrid working software

Effective hybrid work software combines a range of features that facilitate seamless collaboration, efficient project management, and robust security among teams, regardless of their location. Here are some key features to consider when choosing a hybrid work software:

Automation

A key feature of effective hybrid work software is automation. This can cover a variety of tasks, from scheduling meetings to assigning tasks and sending notifications. Automation can significantly increase productivity by reducing manual work and eliminating potential errors, allowing team members to focus on more strategic tasks.

Experience simplicity

The user interface of the software should be intuitive and easy to navigate. Complex systems can be difficult to learn and can hinder productivity. Conversely, a simple,  

Cloud-based access

Cloud-based access is another crucial feature of an effective hybrid work software. It allows employees to access their work from any device and location, offering maximum flexibility. Moreover, cloud-based software can provide real-time updates, ensuring all team members have the most current information at their fingertips.

Interactive floor plans

Interactive floor plans are beneficial for managing physical spaces in a hybrid workplace. They allow employees to book desks or meeting rooms and provide a visual representation of the office layout. This feature can be particularly useful for organisations with flexible seating arrangements or for coordinating in-person meetings.

Robust security

As hybrid work involves accessing company resources from various locations and devices, robust security measures are essential. Good-quality hybrid work software should offer features like secure data encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular security updates to protect sensitive information from potential threats.

What do I risk by not using effective hybrid working software? 

Not investing in effective hybrid working software can pose several risks to your organisation.

In a hybrid work setting, without the right tools, collaboration can be daunting, potentially impacting productivity. Hybrid working software is pivotal here. It acts as a digital conduit, linking remote and in-office staff, facilitating real-time collaboration, and ensuring all tasks are synchronised. Essentially, it's a lifeline for building team spirit and staying connected in a remote work environment, thereby driving successful hybrid work environments.

Secondly, without a sturdy hybrid work platform, managing hybrid schedules can be complicated. This could lead to miscommunication, double bookings, and even employee burnout, as trying to keep up with varying schedules can be stressful.

Lastly, the lack of clear hybrid work guidelines can have a negative impact on your company's retention and recruitment. With no defined expectations or rules, employees may feel uncertain and disconnected, which can affect their job satisfaction and commitment to the organisation.

Organisations that have benefited from hybrid work software

Autodesk

Autodesk, a leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software, is one company that has embraced the hybrid work model. The use of effective hybrid working software has allowed Autodesk to maintain seamless collaboration among its globally distributed teams, ensuring projects stay on track and productivity remains high.

Google

Google, known for its progressive workplace policies, has also adopted a hybrid work model. Utilising tools such as Google Workspace, which includes Gmail, Docs, Meet, and Drive, Google has been able to support its employees in effectively collaborating and completing tasks from any location. This has resulted in increased productivity, improved work-life balance, and greater employee satisfaction.

Advanced

At Advanced, we've seamlessly integrated a hybrid working model into our operational framework. With our team scattered across various continents and crossing numerous borders, the Advanced work ethos is not just flexible, but also highly efficient. This approach ensures we're able to adapt, collaborate and deliver results effectively, irrespective of geographical boundaries. We're truly embracing the future of work. 

How Advanced can help your business implement hybrid working solutions

Navigating the transition to a hybrid work model can be intricate, yet with our guidance and tools at Advanced, you're set to harness the benefits of this flexible approach. We bring expertise in HR and technology to support your business in implementing effective hybrid working solutions.

Our flagship solution, MyWorkplace, is specifically designed to tackle the unique challenges of hybrid working. It offers features for seamless collaboration, efficient task management, and robust data security, regardless of your employees' location. By unifying your business systems, MyWorkplace boosts productivity, enhances employee satisfaction, and cuts costs, making it an indispensable tool in your hybrid work ecosystem.

Our expertise extends beyond technology. Our team of professionals can offer valuable insights and strategies to help navigate the complexities of hybrid working, from retention and onboarding to managing hybrid meetings and dynamic allocation.

We recognise the importance of creating a successful hybrid environment that ensures fair treatment for all workers. We guide you in establishing appropriate hybrid work policies, fostering collaboration, and taking onboard employee feedback for a successful transition. Trust us at Advanced to simplify your shift to hybrid work.

To know more about our people management solutions, get in touch with our team today.

Hybrid working FAQs

1. What is the meaning of hybrid working?

Hybrid working is a form of flexible working which enables an employee to split their time between remote working and office working.

2. What is a hybrid working model?

Hybrid working is where a mixture of working from home, working remotely from a location of your choosing and office working are all combined. Hybrid working encourages employees to work flexibly wherever they decide is best for them on any given day. To find out how to adapt a hybrid working model and make it a success, take a look at our hybrid working guide.

3. What is the difference between flexible working and hybrid working?

Flexible working encourages employees to work hours which suit them, although it may not necessarily always be a strict 9-5. Hybrid working typically refers to where employees work, bringing together a mix of remote and office working. 

4. What does a hybrid workplace look like?

A hybrid workplace will mean employees have more choice over where they choose to work each day. Depending on what works best for the employee, they may choose to work from home, from another remote location (such as a WeWork facility or something similar) or the company office.

5. How to build trust in a virtual team?

Building trust virtually is more challenging than in an office environment – but a fundamental to achieve this is good communication. Making sure communication between managers and employees, but also across teams, remains strong despite working virtually is key to ensuring team members trust each other and respect each other’s priorities on staying connected in a virtual world explains how to put communication at the heart of your team’s culture.

6. What is the impact of remote working?

Working remotely provides a range of benefits for employees, but there are also some challenges to consider. Many prefer remote working as it means they don’t have to spend time and money commuting to the office, and they are able to be more productive working from home in a quieter environment. On the other hand, some individuals don’t have an appropriate space to work at home or find it harder to achieve a work / life balance, struggling to switch off at the end of the working day.

7. How to manage your hybrid workforce

Having the right software in place is crucial to managing a hybrid workforce. HR teams need to be able to easily access employee records, track absence and health and wellbeing of employees - as well as have a platform for recruitment and ongoing retention.

8. How can HR support hybrid working?

HR teams can update their policies and encourage employees to think differently about their approach to the working day. Having the right software in place is also crucial; if employees are able to be just as productive whilst working remotely this will make it easy to implement a hybrid working strategy.

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