Posted on: 22nd July 2022
Reading time: 6 mins
Gone are the days when remote and hybrid employees felt adrift when working away from the company HQ. Here, we look at the ways in which the remote workforce is better supported than ever before.
In the wake of the pandemic, more and more companies have come to realise the benefits of hybrid working. As such, the tech to facilitate this has evolved at an astonishing pace. Innovative tools can facilitate quality interactions between managers and employees in virtual environments. So, now more than ever, employees increasingly feel that they have the same degree of managerial support, regardless of whether they are face-to-face, in a remote office, or working from home.
Nonetheless, managers who are still adjusting to working with remote teams may worry about its impact on employee performance. Team members may also wonder if their career mobility is affected by having less contact time with bosses. Indeed, in 2020, when the pandemic was reshaping the way companies operate, a Gartner survey of 3,000 managers and executives revealed that 64% of respondents felt that in-office employees performed better than remote workers, and 76% believed that in-office employees were more likely to be promoted.
However, as technological and operational solutions adapt and improve, these concerns are evaporating. The pandemic has accelerated the existing shift towards hybrid working and new tools have made the opportunities and benefits of flexible working clearer still.
No matter where our teams are located, we now have the digital networks in place to help everyone feel stimulated and supported within a company. Investing in the right tech solutions can remove logistical barriers and productivity bottlenecks, building a virtual environment on a foundation of connection, support and trust.
Remote training and onboarding can be every bit as effective in a virtual environment as they are on-site. Especially given the abundance of new software tools dedicated to the task, from learning management systems to collaborative project management tools.
These make it easy for remote teams to access, collect and communicate company-wide knowledge and create engaging, hands-on experiences for new starters. They provide ways for employers to deliver training content while also tracking the progress of new starters and provide real-time support as they navigate tasks.
When people are working remotely, it’s easy to feel as though their contributions are not recognised, or that they do not have immediate access to the same support as they might if they were on-site. Fortunately, however, employee recognition and rewards schemes are as readily accessible in virtual environments as they are in the office. These platforms enable managers to share and celebrate achievements among remote teams, while also managing reward and bonus schemes wherever they are.
What’s more, messaging and collaboration tools enable workers to access peer and managerial support with just a few keystrokes. So, as well as allowing communication between managers and team members, they also enable you to track and chart an individual’s progress together.
Historically, video conferencing has had the capacity to be dry. Very, very dry. This can be problematic, as it leads to passive participation and a potential disconnect between teams and their leaders.
However, the new generation of video conferencing tools is designed to help break down those barriers. For instance, some tools now have the capability to nudge managers to involve team members who are less active, ensuring that everyone gets to have a voice during video meetings. What’s more, emerging platforms can also provide relevant background information on all participants at a glance, enabling managers to see the needs, abilities and contributions of every attendee. This enables them to have meaningful interactions with participants, even if they have never met.
Greater use of automation can enable managers to spend less time on administrative processes like scheduling and monitoring the progress of tasks. In fact, research by Gartner shows that up to 69% of a manager’s current workload has the potential to be automated by 2024.
This will allow managers more time to develop the necessary soft skills that are important in marshalling a hybrid workforce, such as communication and adaptability. The knock-on effect? Everyone feels more valued and motivated, as they are free to spend less time on administration and more time on quality interactions with their teams.
Virtual Reality-based meeting platforms are still in their infancy, but have some very exciting implications for meetings, onboarding and training. VR tech has the potential to offer an authentic and hands-on meeting experience without the need to share the same room.
VR enables companies to replicate the on-site meeting experience more comprehensively than video conferencing alone. The power of VR means participants can collectively scrutinise a virtual prototype, navigate the nooks and crannies of a blueprint, and brainstorm together in ways that are more dynamic than those allowed by conventional video conferencing.
Hybrid working is proving extremely popular in the post-pandemic environment. It offers flexibility without leaving workers feeling disconnected from their teams or their career progression. When companies leverage the right digital tools, they can offer a greater level of support to individual employees, while assuring a cohesive team dynamic across a range of physical locations.
As IWG Founder and CEO Mark Dixon summarises, “Today, digital technology puts into every white-collar worker’s hands all the tools they need to do their job. The office is no longer a defined physical space, but rather it has become digital.”
Let Regus help your team to stay connected, no matter where you are. Our office and meeting facilities are complete with business-grade tech, reliable Wi-Fi, and are available in thousands of worldwide locations.
Want to know more about how we can help with hybrid working? Give us a call.
We’ll get you set up straight away.