Companies are finding that implementing a hybrid work model for staff and actually being ready for that model are two different things.
“There are things that business leaders and decision makers need to really ask themselves to consider ‘Have we thought through this?’” said Kyla Burns, creative lead at LOTH, Inc.
Burns will present a session on the hybrid work environment at the upcoming October and November Accounting Shows covering the needs of remote and in-office work. And while it’s encouraging that businesses are evolving to meet the needs of their employees, Burns said a successful hybrid work model doesn’t just happen on its own.
Technology is a key piece to hybrid success, she said. If staff aren’t equipped with the proper technology to work from home, or the office isn’t equipped to connect with people remotely in a variety of settings, this can result in people feeling left out of meetings or miscommunication.
One of the biggest challenges for companies that have embraced a hybrid model will be finding ways to create connection without being in the office every day, Burns said. Organizations will have to be intentional with the way staff interact to ensure they don’t fall out of touch with the mission or the culture.
“Really think what associates are lacking at home that you can provide them in the office to encourage them to be there,” Burns said. “When we feel connected to a shared purpose, we're better together.”
Burns said before the pandemic many clients were hesitant to let their staff work from anywhere and didn’t trust their people to get the necessary work done.
“The pandemic has really forced everyone to rip off that Band-Aid and take a hard look at what our space is doing,” she said. “What does it look like? Is it necessary? And is it appropriate? Because we have proven that we can be productive in any environment.”
A hybrid work environment can also impact a company’s ability to look for top talent. Burns said companies that don’t offer a hybrid model are at a competitive disadvantage, especially as professionals look for employers that will trust them to work remotely and value that flexibility.
“The hybrid environment moving forward has got to connect with comfort and control,” she said. “At home, you're able to control your comfort and so easily that people are going to be looking for that when they return to the office as well.”
To hear more insights on the hybrid work environment, catch Burns’ presentation at the upcoming Ohio Virtual Accounting Shows.