Chief People Officer

Enabling the ‘Everywhere Workforce’ with Flexible Work Options

Enabling the ‘Everywhere Workforce’ with Flexible Work Options

When Zoom’s CEO, Eric S. Yuan, talked about building forward with confidence after the COVID-19 pandemic upended everything we thought we knew about the workplace, those of us in Human Resources (HR) listened intently to the three pillars — talent, transformation, and trust – that he believes are most essential for building forward successfully. As a People leader, I know that people are core to the success of a business, making talent an essential pillar for organizations looking to build forward successfully.

The pandemic has caused tremendous disruption in lives and in business, forcing organizations to rethink, reimagine, and reconsider how they foster talent, deliver services, and strengthen their organizations. HR is key to supporting companies and catalyzing changes in the workplace. A forward-thinking people strategy will help organizations adapt and deliver the most compelling work experience for the modern workforce.

The hybrid workforce imperative

As the world starts returning to normal after an unprecedented year, not everything will go back to business as usual. Organizations that were once all-in on the in-office experience are recognizing the inherent value of a hybrid workforce. 

At the core of this value is an increase in flexibility; rather than force employees to come into the office, employers are giving employees the flexibility to choose whether they work in the office, remotely, or a combination of the two. Not only does this increase employee satisfaction, it also provides employers with a much larger applicant pool, allowing them to access the best talent, regardless of where they are. 

“We’re seeing a huge increase in demand for remote work on our platform, one that will have a significant long-term impact on the labour market. Globally, we’re seeing four times the number of jobs that offer remote work since March. We also see that trend reflected from jobseekers: the volume of job searches using the ‘Remote’ filter on LinkedIn has increased ~60% since the beginning of March, and the share of Remote Job Applications has increased nearly 2.5 times globally from March.”

Karin Kimbrough: Chief Economist, LinkedIn

And it’s win-win; workers in a hybrid workforce can take advantage of a number of benefits, including: 

  • Flexible time — With the ability to balance their time between the office and home, employees can maintain a healthier work-life balance. 
  • Flexible location Working outside the office gives employees the ability to work from anywhere that has a connection, so they have greater freedom to travel or attend to family needs while remaining effective. 
  • Fit-for-purpose setup Remote workers can easily create fit-for-purpose spaces in their home office, allowing them to seamlessly collaborate with in-office workers. 

Employees aren’t the only ones to benefit from a hybrid workforce. Organizations that support a hybrid workforce can also see benefits such as:

  • Increased productivity — By giving employees greater autonomy in how and where they work, organizations often see improved employee productivity (and happier employees).
  • Broader access to talent — With access to talent around the world, employers can hire the best candidate for the position rather than the best candidate in their area.
  • Real estate flexibility — Organizations have more flexibility in how they use and invest in their office locations with more employees working remotely. 

Applying lessons learned

What we’ve learned during all of this is that happy, enabled, and connected teams can do great work from anywhere. How do we support that? By embracing the concept of radical flexibility for our employees.

We must build organizations around a hybrid workforce where employees feel empowered to decide where, when, and how they work, and are evaluated by the results they deliver rather than the time they punch in and out.

Thus, we must simultaneously offer flexible and highly customized workspaces to enable the modern workforce, embracing technologies like video communications, virtual receptionists, and conference rooms with purpose-built hardware to meet the needs of a hybrid work environment. However, creating flexible workspaces and implementing effective technologies won’t be enough, as business leaders must also provide support and leadership to both in-office and remote workers as well. 

With technology

Whether your everywhere workforce is at the office, a hub office location, a shared workspace, a work tourism location, or at home, employees require an integrated video platform that enables connections and democratizes interactions so that all meeting participants are represented equally. Zoom’s fully integrated video, voice over IP (VoIP), chat, and meeting rooms support enhanced collaboration in any construct while providing flexibility and appropriate solutions for the type of work at hand.

With leadership and process

While an enterprise-grade communications platform empowers your workforce to communicate and collaborate effectively, you must also provide leadership and processes to ensure your employees are fully leveraging the solutions available to them. Creating guidelines and an effective workspace for your hybrid workforce will provide a framework to support their work, which ensures consistency, promotes collaboration, and drives productivity across both in-office and remote workers. 

Here are a few ways you can ensure your employees have the support they need to be effective in a hybrid workforce: 

Develop remote-first management skills

Managing in a decentralized environment requires a different set of skills than managing a centralized workforce. Managers who will help their organizations succeed in the future will know how to get the best efforts from each team member regardless of their work location while also creating a sense of belonging. Leading with empathy, they will need to provide clarity, empowerment, opportunity, challenge, and development to all team members.  

Lead by example

Whether we like it or not, employees are paying attention to the words and actions of our organization’s leaders. Employers need their leaders to lead by example by embracing both remote and in-office work at all levels of the organization and following the processes they created in regard to remote and in-office work.

To learn more about how companies can build forward with confidence in the ‘new normal,’ read our blog, How Businesses Will Build Forward With Confidence.

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