The Hybrid Work Toolkit: How European Leaders Can Improve Employee Experience
As Europe’s pandemic response evolves, many business leaders have begun implementing a hybrid work model. This approach offers employees the ability to work remotely, in the office, or both, enabling greater operational flexibility, access to a global talent pool, and continuity in the face of travel restrictions and lockdowns. The pandemic forced organisations into a digital transformation that is here to stay: according to research conducted earlier this year, 74% of UK respondents and 70% of both French and German respondents confirmed they anticipate a hybrid working model to be the new normal for businesses going forward.
However, with workers dispersed across offices, remote workspaces, and in some cases, the globe, it can be difficult to offer a consistent employee experience that builds effective teams. To maintain productivity and team satisfaction, business leaders must create a cohesive and optimised experience for employees that can work anywhere and everywhere.
A European Perspective On The Future Of Work For 2021, a recent report from Forrester Research, offers some important insights into how European business leaders can create a better employee experience for hybrid workforces. Here are some key takeaways:
The world of work has changed
As organisations shift policy to address the challenges presented by the pandemic, remote and hybrid work has exploded in popularity. As a result, countries around Europe are preparing to protect and regulate hybrid and remote workers.
According to this Forrester report, a number of countries — including Spain, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Ireland, and Greece — are creating laws regarding the treatment and rights of remote and hybrid workers. Business leaders, employee representatives, and political decision-makers will need to agree on a set of rules that encourages hybrid work models.
Flexibility and trust are key to hybrid working
Despite initial concerns about their effectiveness, remote workers have proven they can be just as productive at home as in the office. According to data collected from Prodoscore, remote employees worked around 23% less, but were 5% more productive than they were during the same time period last year. This shows us that an effective work environment is more about productivity and employee satisfaction than hours worked.
To enable productivity for on-site, remote, and hybrid employees, Forrester’s report urges business leaders to put flexibility and trust at the core of their employee experience. Giving employees the autonomy to manage their work-life balance and trusting them to get their work done, whether they are in the office or at home, creates a positive atmosphere where employees feel in control.
Investments in collaboration technology are critical
Effective work can take place almost anywhere, as long as organisations provide solutions that enable engaging collaboration and communication. Harvard Business Review estimates that the companies that were already effective in managing their teams have been 5-8% more productive over the last 12 months working remotely. However, they also estimate that most organisations have experienced a 3-6% reduction in productivity due to a decline in employee engagement and inefficient collaboration.
But with only 56% of European employers willing to provide the necessary hardware and 36% willing to provide software and internet to remote workers, it’s clear that many organisations aren’t prepared to support a hybrid workforce. To avoid reduced productivity and inefficient collaboration, the Forrester report suggests that business leaders provide a flexible, consistent technology infrastructure and update their solutions to create a more cohesive employee experience for hybrid workforces.
Prioritizing health, safety, and collaboration
Remote work is gaining in popularity, but that doesn’t mean that employees aren’t excited to return to the office. In a recent survey conducted by SurveyMonkey, 65% of respondents claimed that a hybrid work environment was their ideal work model, with over half (33%) of those respondents saying they like to work mostly from the office.
To help create a safe environment for employees returning to the office, business leaders need to implement processes and infrastructure that prioritize employee well-being as well as streamline the way they work. The Forrester report suggests that business leaders put emerging health and safety regulations into place, such as using UV lights to disinfect offices.
The report also suggests investigating opportunities for office redesign and looking for opportunities to strategically deploy smart technologies like virtual receptionists, digital signage, whiteboarding, and room sensors that help overall collaboration thrive.
Engage in employee listening
There are common elements of a well-managed hybrid workforce, such as equity between on-site and remote workers and a cohesive technology infrastructure. However, workers have unique needs, and understanding their perspectives is the key to building a better employee experience.
The report from Forrester suggests that business leaders take active steps to better understand employees’ needs and perspectives so they can ensure productivity and employee satisfaction. It states that many European business leaders are already taking these steps, with one in five European purchase influencers launching employee experience analytics.
Building toward the future of work with Zoom
At Zoom, we are committed to empowering employees to get more done together, no matter where they choose to work. Zoom offers an arsenal of unified solutions that streamline workflows and collaboration in modern workspaces, including solutions for video meetings, phone, chat, webinars, hosting virtual events, building apps with Zoom functionality, and more.
With Zoom’s unified communications platform, you can leverage a number of cutting-edge features that enable effective collaboration and communication for hybrid workforces, including screen sharing, the ability to set a presence status, and Smart Gallery, which creates an individual frame for participants in the meeting regardless of attendee location and offers remote participants a more engaging meeting experience.
For more on how to prepare your workforce for the shift to hybrid work, read the full report from Forrester Research and discover what is top of mind for European business leaders leading the shift to remote work.