The shift to hybrid work has accelerated the rate at which workplaces transform and adapt. However, the sudden nature of the workplace shift—one triggered by the pandemic— has meant that companies had little time to formulate the appropriate workplace policies. And even after two years, many still struggle to adapt to the demands of a hybrid workplace. But to keep employees engaged and ensure they can create a superior work experience, companies need to pay close attention to how their workplaces are designed and workflow is managed.
The lack of precise planning for a world of hybrid work has proved a barrier to employee engagement, as reports suggest that employees still struggle to navigate careers due to unclear and uncertain policies. Microsoft's Work Trend Index 2022 noted that in India, over 45% of employees stated that their biggest challenge remained not knowing when and why to come into the office. While companies have already begun to bring in ad-hoc measures of a transition from completely remote work, the report highlights significant challenges in store. For example, less than half of companies in India (just 42%) have established team agreements to define the new norms.
While employers and employees navigate these uncertain times, companies with the right workplace policies stand a greater chance to hire, train, and retain talented individuals.
Leaders to define the future
Leaders are tasked with establishing the why, when, and how of the new world of hybrid work. This means defining the purpose and modality of collaboration, defining hybrid meeting etiquette like team agreements on when to come together in person, and rethinking how office and digital spaces can play a supporting role. Organisations that fail to grasp the need for intentionality required to redefine work are at risk of missing out on the actual benefits of hybrid work.
The designing of workplaces has to ensure flexibility while supporting collaborations and maintaining a strong employee experience. Many companies have begun calling employees back to the office, starting their transition to hybrid work. But it's necessary to ensure work isn't disparate and disjointed for employees in a hybrid world, ensuring a positive experience and engagement.
These new rules of engagement have accelerated the need to respond to employee demands. For leaders, it's important to focus on creating inclusive work environments that spur collaboration and ensure flexibility. Digital tools help companies design workplaces that meet employees' demands for flexibility and purpose. Designing workplaces based on the people, place, and process model also prove beneficial.
For this, tools such as Viva Insights, Connections, and Topics play a significant role. While improving the efficiency of workplace transformations, they allow a seamless shift to hybrid work and ensure leaders and managers can connect and engage talent effectively.
Digital tools for the workplace of tomorrow
This need is more pressing than ever before. And many require the right work tech to support these transitions and enable them to visualise the workplace of tomorrow. Microsoft Viva's range of workplace solutions assists companies to perform better by allowing teams to work, collaborate, and learn even while working in a hybrid world. While companies often focus on workplace transformations to ensure productivity, missing out on the little things is often left out and causes issues. With Microsoft's range of workplace solutions, companies can streamline work, engagement, and collaboration for a superior employee experience.
While navigating uncertain waters has put many companies in a tough spot, managing workflow in a period marked by business disruptions and changing employee preferences is more efficient with the right tools. Viva Connections, for example, can help teams create a clear pathway of meetings and engagement without being cumbersome. It enables companies to make it easy for their employees to build relationships and cultivate a dynamic, engaged workforce that grows and learns together.
In light of rising hybrid work requiring superior employee experience, using the right digital tools goes a long way to designing future workplaces and ensuring engagement.