The post-pandemic workplace is one of flexibility over where and when you work, with employees connecting over Zoom and using collaboration tools to get work done. And although hybrid working is still a work in progress for many HR and business leaders, it’s clear that workplace technologies have never been in such demand, creating the very foundation for this new way of working. However, leaders shouldn’t implement new technologies rashly. Every new implementation must look to improve organisational culture and support an integrated and streamlined employee experience.
The post-pandemic workplace
Unless you’re a front-line worker, the world of work is now predominantly hybrid, with the new breed of hybrid workers having different needs and expectations of their employee experience than fully remote or fully in-person employees. According to O.C. Tanner’s 2022 Global Culture Report, a successful hybrid employee experience requires a number of key elements with a career development plan and the flexibility to choose the number of days worked remotely most important to workers (as cited by 68 per cent and 65 per cent of HR and business professionals respectively).
HR and business leaders are now on a fast learning curve, figuring out how to engage with, set goals for, and interact with hybrid workers while giving them the autonomy they crave. The employee experience must be replicable and fair for all workers with a clear view of what a great hybrid experience looks like. Understanding the ‘end goal’ can then steer policy changes, and inform and improve working patterns, leadership behaviours and everyday organisational culture.
Importantly, being transparent over what an employee’s hybrid experience needs to look like, drives the HR/workplace technology strategy.
Workplace tech – the bedrock of hybrid working
No hybrid working model can work effectively without the right technologies in place. To allow employees to get work done, keep connected, grow their careers and feel appreciated and valued, it’s important to leverage tools and technologies that are easy to use and access. And by keeping hybrid experiences top of mind as new technologies are adopted, ensures the employee experience doesn’t get compromised. In fact, O.C. Tanner’s 2022 Global Culture Report reveals that the employee experience improves three-fold and engagement increases by seven times, when organisations implement technologies with their people in mind.
Providing tools for connection and collaboration is a ‘must’ for bringing office-based and remote workers together, both technologically and emotionally. And when employees feel connected, an organisation is 12 times more likely to thrive. An intranet, video conferencing tools, project management solutions and content management software, such as SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack and Trello, can all be used to improve team working and encourage bonding.
As hybrid workers don’t want to compromise on career development opportunities, leaders must also invest in learning and development (L&D) software which allows for distance learning. The chosen software must have the capacity to deliver interactive live sessions and pre-recorded materials - training, video courses and e-learning workshops – ensuring that employees across different time zones aren’t excluded.
Plus, technologies for supporting engagement and recognition are now in more demand than ever. Recognition software, in particular, streamlines the whole recognition-giving process to ensure effort and great work are appreciated as they happen, regardless of whether the employee is in the office or on the other side of the world! And a recognition software platform that’s simple to use and embedded into the flow of work, helps integrate recognition into everyday workplace culture. It also supports a personalised recognition approach to ensure employees feel even more connected to the organisation, their accomplishments and each other. With research finding that recognition builds trust, camaraderie, and the perception that an employee’s contribution counts, it’s important to source technology to ensure recognition happens effortlessly.
Tech without the burnout
Technologies are undoubtedly crucial to hybrid working, however, the tools that are helping us to stay connected are also in danger of exacerbating disconnection, isolation, and burnout in the workplace - especially when the workplace is remote. In fact, the average worker uses 11 different technological systems to do their job every single day, and 27 per cent of employees say they lose almost an entire day each week to irrelevant emails and messages. Organisations that are overloading employees with new technologies that don’t improve the employee experience or workplace culture, must take a step back and re-evaluate which technologies are needed and for what purpose!
Having a haphazard approach to technology usage will do far more harm than good, creating a stressful and fragmented hybrid working experience. It’s the responsibility of business and people leaders to be intentional about the technologies they implement, and look to integrate them fully into the everyday employee experience.