Hybrid work: Redesigning the work experience

Since work is no longer defined by physical location, designing the ‘perfect’ office setup isn’t going to cut it. Enterprises must now design a hybrid work experience that works for all employees in their organization, no matter where, when or how they do their jobs.

Share this article:

hybrid work

The honeymoon period may be over for hybrid work, or at least the model most organizations have deployed so far.

A new poll of 2,000 office workers in the U.S, Australia and Europe suggests organizations are still grappling with how to deploy technology for hybrid work:

  • 27% of workers say businesses aren’t investing in the right collaboration tools
  • 25% say collaboration tools have “poor functionality”
  • 22% say they aren’t using the tools at their disposal
  • 21% say they haven’t been trained to use the tools
  • 39% want collaboration tools that enable multiple team members to seamlessly work on the same project at the same time
  • 32% favour collaboration tools that allow them to work and collaborate on any device

According to Gartner VP and analyst Adam Preset, enterprises must address this situation by realizing hybrid work is about much more than just remote work technology.

Shift in thinking

“We no longer necessarily think about work as somewhere we go, because we know we can do that from anywhere,” Preset said in a  webinar presentation of Gartner’s latest research on hybrid work.

He argued the evolution of hybrid work will require an even bigger philosophical shift by employers: from designing a work space to designing a work experience.

Since work is no longer defined by physical location, designing the ‘perfect’ office setup isn’t gonna cut it. Enterprises must now design a work experience that works for all employees in their organization, no matter where, when or how they do their jobs.

Here are the key things Preset urged enterprises to keep in mind when designing a hybrid work experience for their organizations.

EX is everything

Although the Great Resignation has made hiring and retaining workers extremely challenging, Preset said the upside is that it’s forcing organizations to focus on EX instead of just CX.

“It’s called Total Experience,” he explained. “It interlinks customer experience, the customer user experience, employee user experience and, ultimately, employee experience as well. More engaged, more satisfied employees create better experiences for customers.”

So, to provide great CX, you must first provide great EX. Preset said the key to great EX is designing an excellent hybrid work experience. That design inevitably includes technology. According to Preset, “technology is the touchpoint for employee experience.”

He listed a plethora of technologies as essential tools for crafting a hybrid work experience, including:

  • visual collaboration
  • collaborative work management
  • desktop-as-a-service
  • digital EX monitoring
  • hybrid meeting solutions

He emphasized, however, that designing an exceptional hybrid work experience requires thinking beyond remote tech tools.

Hybrid isn’t just WFH

hybrid work

For one thing, Preset wants organizations to stop thinking of hybrid as merely ‘working in the office’ and ‘working from home.’ His spheres of hybrid work include:

  • office work
  • home office work
  • mobile work
  • frontline work

Organizations must re-examine how employees do their jobs in these different spheres and how their needs change across all of them, he said. For example, he believes frontline workers have been particularly underserved by hybrid work technology thus far.

“For frontline workers, maybe redesigning (work experiences) for hybrid means having a new look at these generalized collaboration tools that we typically give to workers in offices, and recognizing that they haven’t extended as much as we needed to match the new unique needs of the frontline.”

Hubs for harmony

Preset recommends breaking down your organization even further into hubs such as:

  • employee engagement hub
  • employee services hub
  • technology services hub
  • business role hubs (sales, HR, finance, supply chain, legal, etc.)

Preset said technologies like automation, analytics, AI and software development definitely play key roles in “harmonizing the digital employee experience” across all of these hubs.

His overriding point, however, is that technology is part of an integrated, holistic strategy that assesses the roles and needs of workers and managers in all departments to create an ideal hybrid work experience for each person, regardless of their location.

“One of the challenges we’ve seen up until this point,” Preset reflected, “has been around the dropping of the technology on workers and then hoping that they just do the right thing with it, without well-defined change management, without sharing best practices, without learning best practices from others who have gone down that hard path, and then learning that well enough to transmit it to others.”

Read more:

How UCaaS will empower the future of work
Future of work webinar: The Great Retention
Tips for a successful transition to hybrid work

Experiment with design

Designing a hybrid work experience requires experimentation, according to Preset. His advice:

  • put intention, influence and investment (i.e., budget dollars) into designing your hybrid work experience
  • assess your staff’s hybrid work pain points (office, home, mobile, frontline)
  • pick one area of friction and experiment with new technology tools that might ease it
  • collect data and feedback on the results
  • continue the cycle of assessing, experimenting and implementing as your workforce changes

“Just turning on the technology is not enough,” Preset said. “It’s a question of implementation now. What I mean by this is that we’re asking you to move from just turning on the technology to designing an experience.”

Images: miniseries/iStock; FreshSplash/iStock

Share this article:
Comments are closed.