Many companies are now shifting to a remote or hybrid workforce. And this arrangement is a win-win for everyone.
A lot of researchers have already suggested that flexible work arrangements provide a wide range of well-being benefits to employees. It also helps drive productivity and employee engagement.
According to a 2020 study by the non-profit organization Catalyst, employees who have access to remote-work opportunities — including flexible work location, distributed teams, and virtual work options — were 43% less likely to experience workplace burnout, 75% more likely to stay engaged with their work, 63% more likely to stay innovative, and 30% less likely to look for another job in the next year.
Likewise, a 2022 study pioneered by UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that 78% of workers across England and Scotland have an improved work-life balance while working from home. At the same time, 50% said it enabled them to more easily and quickly complete their work.
Julia Yates, a senior lecturer in organizational psychology at the City University of London, said that the autonomy given to workers leads to increased work and life satisfaction and decreased stress levels.
“It also makes them feel more valued, boosting their self-confidence and leading to more creativity, more resilience, and therefore more productivity. It allows them to play to their strengths,” Yates added.
However, employers who welcome this type of work arrangement face one big challenge. And that is to design a technology strategy that delivers flexibility, connectivity, and security.
That means providing tools that employees can use to work from almost anywhere, which enables them to collaborate seamlessly under any conditions.
How to adapt workplace tech to a flexible workspace?
Tech giant HP said that a laptop is the most “indispensable tool” for most workers — especially hybrid ones. Their small frames and portability allow people to work wherever they want.
However, though there are dozens of models advertised as ideal for hybrid work, many don’t offer critical features that enable hybrid working.
HP said that an ideal one to use should have the ability to connect in low-Wi-Fi environments, a long battery life, and a lightweight design. Moreover, laptops should also provide innovative features specifically designed for working from unconventional spaces — a lifesaver for people working in public spaces or parents of young children.
The second challenge? Securing data. A distributed workforce makes it harder to ensure your organization’s data. To give your employees freedom without sacrificing security, it’s imperative to upgrade your IT architecture.
HP said that business leaders would do well to invest in software platforms specifically designed to provide access to each employee’s digital workspaces even without a VPN. Software that would also enable real-time collaboration would also boost teamwork.
The world of work has indeed changed for the better. And flexibility is part of the future.
Smart employers have recognized that playing with these new rules will benefit them, too, in the long run, as employees become happier, better connected, and more productive.
The only challenge now is proving the right technology to hybrid employees. One that would help them give their best at work.