Just 43% of Companies Possess Basic Hybrid Work Capabilities

Published on
16/01/2023 12:56 PM
hybrid work

Written by Nick Riggott, Head of UK&I at Mitel

UK businesses have undergone a lot of disruption in recent years. During the pandemic many organisations had to accelerate digital adoption at a pace, which was considered impossible before while transitioning to a fully remote workforce and trying to survive in a challenging economic environment. 

Two years later, organisations have mostly adapted but are already facing the next challenge: how to make sure their business model supports a hybrid working structure while keeping employees engaged and productive.

According to new research commissioned by Mitel, businesses aren’t as ready as one might think. The study conducted by industry analyst firm Techaisle found that just 8% of UK organisations are reported to have a hybrid-first mindset when making organisational and operational decisions about the future of work and a staggering 43% of organisations still only possess basic hybrid work capabilities.

Moreover, the study also revealed that there is a significant disconnect between employees’ needs and business priorities.  Here is a more in-depth overview of the findings and the key learnings that businesses can tap into to drive employee engagement and productivity.

Understand that employer-employee expectations might differ and what can be done to bridge them

As normality returns, many employees are now finally able to choose what kind of working model would suit them best. Do they want to return to the office completely, be fully remote, or do a mix of both? In addition to this new working environment, they are facing a workplace with increasingly blurred boundaries between work and personal life, creating concerns that weren’t there before. 

According to the study, 50% of employees expressed worries about work-life conflict, compared to just 23% of employers. The data also revealed that employees are more concerned about their career progression if they work remotely (35%) than businesses (25%).

On the flip side, businesses worry more about how they are going to maintain a cohesive work culture among a hybrid workforce, with almost half of organisations (49%) considering this a major concern vs 38% of employees. Another key challenge for 47% of business leaders is to manage remote workers, which is an issue for only 36% of employees. This suggests that there is a gap between employee and employer perceptions that needs to be addressed to make sure employees feel supported in choosing what work model they want to use going forward and drive productivity and engagement. 

Looking at this data in the context of the ‘Great Resignation’ it is increasingly important for businesses to listen to their employees and be flexible in their approach to hybrid working. Understanding employees’ needs has to come hand in hand with investment in the right technology and workplace policies that support employee engagement. 

Recognise the changed investment priorities that can lead to growth

When it comes to investment priorities our recent research revealed that 83% of UK businesses believe that modern communications solutions are vital to their success. 

This is reflected in the preference of employees, with 75% of employees agreeing that better communication and collaboration tools can help them do their job better. However, the data also found that just a third of organisations have mature remote work practices in place with advanced communication and collaboration tools to enable them to do exactly that. 

To make sure their onsite and remote workforce can thrive in the era of hybrid work, businesses need to invest sufficiently in creating a seamless collaboration experience that will ultimately improve productivity, reduce costs and help drive efficiencies across the organisation. Using the right Unified Communication (UC) solutions can help achieve that and help alleviate stress, fuel engagement, and promote more efficient work.

Find the solutions that work for your hybrid business model 

It’s important to keep in mind, there are no generic ‘one size fits all solutions’ that work for all organisations, be it from a technological or a commercial point of view. 9% of UK businesses are also looking to invest in multi-purpose communication and collaboration technology rather than a single-purpose dedicated service. 

Businesses need to work with the right providers to understand which solutions offer the flexibility and agility they are after. 

Some things to look out for are how the solutions integrate with other technologies such as office suites, project management, and CRM solutions, and also what purchase model would be the preferred one for the business. For instance, smaller organisations might want to opt for a subscription-based model while others might prefer to purchase UC solutions as a capital expenditure. Investing in the right modern communications solutions will give organisations the choice, flexibility, and support they need to future-proof their business and become a more attractive place for employees. 

While most businesses still have a way to go in order to support hybrid work adequately, improving flexible working practices often starts with a mindset shift. By embracing a hybrid-first mindset when making any organisational and operational decisions, organisations will be able to transform their workplaces into modern, flexible environments that deliver the experience expected both by customers and employees.

 

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