Remote Work is a Competitive Advantage and Here to Stay – Is Your Firm Ready?

As people hunkered down at home last year at the pandemic’s onset, it was widely feared that in-person work and collaboration might be lost forever. One year later, as the collective workforce heads back into the office, it’s clear that in-person work is in no danger of being lost. But even still, the age of remote working is far from over, as many companies provide their employees the option to work from home, from the office, or from both. As a result, a new work model is being developed: the hybrid work environment. 

Transitioning to a hybrid work environment can provide your firm with a distinct competitive edge by attracting and retaining top talent. In fact, providing your team with the option to work from home and/or in their offices offers employers a wider pool to select talent from, in part because the hybrid model is more appealing to a broader range of job applicants — including millennials and Gen Zers.

Hybrid work environments allow employees to choose to work in the environments they feel most productive in, and to switch up the scenery if they’re feeling stagnant. As a result, employees are more likely to feel better taken care of by their employers. According to a 2020 survey, the hybrid work model can improve employee well-being by 56%.

That said, creating a hybrid work environment that sets employees up for success takes preparation and the right tools. Here’s what your firm will need to ensure your team works productively, both from home and in the office:

Reliable Hardware

Ensuring your employees have all the up-to-date tools available is key to delivering outstanding work. 

Make sure your firm has a company hardware policy and upgrade program in place. Changes in technology happen fast, and it’s best to keep your finger on the pulse of what should be upgraded throughout the year. Schedule replacements or upgrades to tech hardware, such as servers, workstation computers, printers, and scanners, in advance. This guide is a great starting point for creating a tech upgrade program. 

Additionally, providing reliable hardware is essential to increasing productivity and employee satisfaction. Equipping your team with tools like extra monitors, headsets, or computers for their home office station can make their jobs far easier for them, leading to a spike in productivity. (Looking for more tech projects to dive into this summer? We have some more ideas for you here).

It’s also best practice to ensure you have an efficient repair program waiting in the wings for possible technical difficulties. Precious time is wasted when systems crash and you’re left without a solution. Have backup tech ready immediately and always have a repair plan in place. 

A Collaborative Culture

Team camaraderie and a sense of communal purpose is vital to productivity and engagement. As a result, hybrid work doesn’t work unless your firm demonstrates top-tier communication skills. 

Keep employees connected by scheduling regular team meetings. These can occur either fully remote or in the office, with remote employees joining via video call. You can also expand to monthly or weekly team-building activities. Carve out space for activities like virtual and/or in-person game nights, happy hours, or company retreats. You can also consider sending care packages to the homes of remote employees — and leaving care packages for your in-person employees on their desks in the office.

Luckily, you also have plenty of communication technology at your disposal to forge connections between employees. Software such as Slack or Microsoft Teams enable quick chat and video call functions, keeping team members informed in real time. Dig deeper by creating open chat channels categorized by shared interests, such as sports and hobbies.

You’ll also want to keep consistent tabs on your employees’ well-being. Try holding space for regular one-on-ones or sending pulse surveys with tools like Lattice, which enable you to quickly streamline giving and receiving feedback across your entire firm.

The Right Apps & Tools

Whether they’re in-office or work remotely, every employee should have access to the right apps and tools.

Use practice management and/or project management tools to manage your staff’s workload. Examples include, Trello, Asana, and Canopy Software, to name a few. You should also make sure both in-office and remote workers share information and files to a centralized location, preferably one that’s accessible via the cloud. Microsoft SharePoint is a great example of a centralized hub for quickly sharing files and messages among teammates. 

If you have multiple team members accessing the same account, consider using LastPass for secure team password management. This ensures team members don’t lose passwords or access to vital work resources, and keeps those passwords safe from the wandering eyes of hackers. 

Transitioning to hybrid work doesn’t need to be a major challenge. By fostering a collaborative culture, providing the right hardware, apps, and tools, you’ll be able to build a seamless hybrid work environment that helps your team to thrive. We at Tech Guru use all these methodologies in our hybrid work environment, we help our clients build their own hybrid environments, and we can help you be successful in implementing yours as well. Schedule an intro call today and learn about our complimentary technology workshop, where we assess and discuss all the technical aspects of helping you build your ideal firm.