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The pandemic has been bad news for a long time but there are positives for the future, especially when it comes to how companies do business. As Mark Dixon, IWG Founder and CEO, says: “One of the lasting legacies of the pandemic will be the ability to work in different ways, in different places, and more companies will have distributed workforces empowering their teams to work closer to or from home.”
He adds: “Employees have realised that they have been wasting an hour or two commuting to an office that they don’t need to be in, while businesses have realised that a hybrid model not only means happier and more engaged employees, but also a significant saving for the bottom line.”
Here are five major companies that have embraced hybrid working (whereby time is split between a corporate HQ, home and a third location such as a local office or flexspace) – and what we can learn from them…
1. Recruit from a global talent pool
Pre-pandemic, people had to live in or near cities to be able to get to work, which meant companies were often restricted by who they could hire. (Sometimes they had to help people relocate.) But hybrid working means employees can also work from suburban and rural locations – both domestically and overseas – which is great for companies as there are no limits to who they can hire.
At the beginning of June 2021 Facebook announced that it would let people remote work permanently from wherever they liked, meaning the company can recruit from wherever it likes. This also opened up the opportunity for employees to relocate to other parts of the country or even abroad, although Facebook said their salaries would be adjusted according to market rates.
As Christian Bigsby, Vice President of Workplace Solutions for tech giant Cisco, says: “If you think about the way employers can now target the best possible talent, it isn’t dependent on specific geographies. If we really take advantage of that, we’re going to go after the best possible talent, wherever that market is – and we don’t need to have a headquarters within a 30-mile commute.”
Earlier this year Cisco joined forces with IWG to provide staff with access to IWG flexspaces globally. One of Cisco’s main motivations was to dramatically increase its hiring opportunities. Bigsby says: “To get the best people, we don’t have to force a person to relocate from the south of Spain or to London. For a long time, companies have expected people to come to the mountain, and now the mountain is going to have to come to the people.”
2. Create systems for ‘equitable experiences’
Twitter is another company that has embraced hybrid working as policy, with a key focus on building – as reported on Time Jennifer Christie, Twitter’s Chief Human Resources Officer says – “an inclusive, equitable experience for all,” wherever people are physically based. This means company decision-makers aren’t solely found in San Francisco any more, and new systems are being created to allow people to work effectively “asynchronously and agnostic of timezone or location,” says Christie.
Using workflow management platforms such as Monday.com, ProofHub and Nintex, as well as software such as DocuSign, which allows companies to create contracts that can be signed remotely, are integral to making sure no one is disadvantaged by the physical location of where they are working.
3. Embrace flexibility as standard
Using shared co-working spaces instead of asking people to attend a central office everyday is central to successful hybrid working. In March 2021, IWG made its largest deal to date with Japanese telecoms company NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation), allowing its 300,000 employees to work from a network of 3,500 IWG offices around the world as part of a commitment to embrace flexibility as standard.
Mark La Neve, CEO, NTT Global Sourcing, says: “At NTT, we see the many advantages of partnering with IWG to support our employees and empowering them in new ways of working. These will not only reduce commute times, but lower travel costs and provide a safe and convenient location for our people.”
4. Put a cap on video meetings
Multinational investment bank Citigroup has made great strides in making hybrid working better. In March 2021, its chief executive Jane Fraser announced a number of changes to the employees would work, including banning video meetings on Fridays. Why?
This is what she said: “We are launching Zoom-Free Fridays – at least internally. After listening to colleagues around the world, it became apparent we need to combat the ‘Zoom fatigue’ that many of us feel, so I overcame my initial resistance to this idea. There still will be client and regulator meetings that need to happen via Zoom, but any internal meetings occurring on Fridays (or an equivalent day in the Middle East) should happen as audio-only calls.” Instead of communicating virtually, meeting face-to-face at a local flexspace is a good way to build relationships with clients.
5. Be kinder to people and planet
This year, IWG also partnered with London-based banking and financial services company Standard Chartered to give its 95,000 employees use of IWG workspaces worldwide, giving them additional options to working from home (which can be isolating) or travelling into the Standard Chartered HQ in central London (which isn’t convenient for everyone). Part of the incentive was in recognition of the fact that empowering professionals to work when and where they want is better for their mental health. What’s more, less time in cars means less pollution in our air.
Standard Chartered’s Chief Financial Officer, Andy Halford, says: “We hope this partnership will provide suitable alternatives to working from home and from the office, enabling our employees to work closer to clients, colleagues and their teams, as well as reducing commute time, travel costs and our individual and collective carbon footprint.”
With locations in thousands of neighbourhoods all over the world, find out how Regus can help your business thrive in the new, hybrid world of work